a VirtualTourist member asked on Jun 6, 2015
How about my situation: I'm from East Europe, but have permanent residence permit in Latvia, which allows me to visit ANY Schengen country including Ireland (did it a few times, so I know it works). However UK is not part of the Schengen Zone, so I need a separate visa to go there. Because my sister is married to a Welshmen I visited UK quite often. There is no problem to get a UK visa (even for 5 or 10 years), but it literally costs hundreds of British pounds. (Just to compare 1 year multi entry visa to UK is more expensive, than 10 year multi entry visa to the USA). So is there a way for me to travel between Ireland to UK without breaking the law, but also without passport control so I wouldn't have to pay extra hundreds of pounds for another visa? Thank you for all your answers and shared experience. Details (from/to what airport or harbor) are appreciated.
I dont recall having my passport checked when i got on the ferry from England and went over to Ireland nor anywhere i drove around Ireland and Northern Ireland
From what port till what port did the ferry go? And how did you return back to England?
i got a good deal for a return ticket from Stanraer ,( which is actually Scotland not England for the pedantics) to Larne
this is an article back in 2011 ferries.co.uk/ferry-news/fer...
Do you have to go through Heathrow or any UK airport? Perhaps via Amsterdam or Paris or Brussels.......
You can fly directly from Riga to Dublin, e.g.
From the post he made on another thread I believe the OP wants to visit the UK via Ireland. He would normally require a visa to do so but wants to know if, having entered Ireland using his passport and Latvian permanent residence permit, he will be able to travel onwards to the UK without obtaining a visa.
the fact that he is asking about routes which do not involve passport control suggests he thinks he already knows the answer to the question.
I'll repeat here some of what I replied on that thread:
I am not a UK border control officer. None of us are.
You are correct that the UK is not in the Schengen Area. Nor is the Republic of Ireland. Together the two countries form the Common Travel Area:
The official visa link:
will give you details of what is required for your citizenship.
Without knowing your citizenship there is no way any of us can tell you whether you can enter the UK from Ireland without a visa.
Nor can any of us tell you for 100% certain that your documents will not be checked on departure or arrival. They may be, they may not be. Certainly your documents will be checked if you fly and there are also random checks at all ports.
Trust me, I read the post incorrectly!! I thought he wanted to go TO Ireland FRoM Latvia!!
Me thinks he will just have to bite the bullet and obtain a visa. To try to do it without one means that the OP will be turned back at the border, or before even leaving Ireland. Or else will be 'caught' upon exit from the UK and either fined or made persona non grata, or both.
As I said, the fact that the OP has already visited the UK more than once (with a visa) yet is asking about border controls from Ireland suggests to me that he already knows the answer to his question.
The simplest thing to do, imo, would be to contact the UK border agency directly and ask them. It's easy enough:
Thank you for your answers, guys! You're right - I've visited both Ireland and UK. When I traveled from mainland Europe to UK (from Riga, Paris, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Stockholm etc.) - the visa was required every time. However last year I flew by chance from Dublin to Heathrow and the plane was taken as an inner flight, so no passport checking was required. I was wondering if it's a common rule or just an exception or may be policies of a specific airport. There are also ferries between Ireland and Wales about which I know nothing about. By the way, you CAN travel to Ireland with a schengen visa/residence permit - this is definite. The question is about UK. And how to get there without obtaining separate UK visa.
If you've already done the trip at least once why did you ask the question? You already have the answer because you have already flown from Dublin to Heathrow (one hardly flies 'by chance'!!) with no apparent issues. Or did you think you might be breaking the law by your actions?
Of course it is not the 'policy of a specific airport'. No country has one airport which allows people to enter without passports when the others do. That would be madness.
And logic should tell you that if no passport check existed when you flew into the UK then no passport check exists when you take a ferry. BUT...as I have already said...there can be (and are) random passport checks both on arrival in UK airports and on ferries.
Nobody on VT has suggested that a Schengen permanent residence permit would not allow you to enter Ireland. Visa issues do not simply relate to residence permits and visa requirements vary by citizenship. Everywhere.
I made the point that neither the UK nor the Republic of Ireland are Schengen countries and that together they form the Common Travel Area. Having a Schengen visa alone, however, does not automatically allow you to enter the UK. That depends on your citizenship.
If you are trying to find out whether you can enter the UK directly with your Latvian permanent residency then, as I have already said, none of us are UK border officials. We can only access the same information as you. You need to contact the UK border agency directly and ask them. Nobody here can tell you for absolute certain, particularly since you have not told us your citizenship.
Thank you for your effort and answers, leics. I really appreciate it. The question was not only to you, but for everyone, who has traveled from Ireland to UK. May be somebody has taken a ferry between Ireland and UK? May be somebody flew from Dublin or Belfast to Cardiff and realised that his/her passport wasn't checked at arrival? May be there are other ways to go there without your passport being checked, which we can't think of, but some other tourists know? I just thought that this forum would be a good place to ask for other's experience in traveling between Ireland and UK. I guess that in 70-80 it was much eathier, than now. :) Thanks again for your time and answers.
Along with others on this thread, I have taken the ferry between the UK and Ireland several times over the years. I have also flown between the two countries.
I will try to explain the facts again:
1. The two countries form a Common Travel Area.
2. There is no formal requirement for passport checks BUT random checks can and do take place.
3. >May be there are other ways to go there without your passport being checked, which we can't think of, but some other tourists know?
No. There are not. The only 'other ways' would involve illegal entry, such as stowing away in a lorry.
4. There is a lot of water between the island of Ireland and the UK mainland. You can only travel between the two countries by taking a ferry or flying.
The same applies to the UK and the European mainland, except that there is also the Eurostar under-Channel train. All forms transport from the European mainland into the UK have passport checks.
5. Unless you have your own boat, of course....and even then you'll need to notify the coastguards of each country about your intended route and can expect your documents to be checked on arrival into port. 'Secretly' taking a boat across the Irish Sea or North Sea is not realistic. Radar exists and the Irish Sea, in particular, can be horribly rough.
6. Unless you tell us your citizenship nobody on VT can tell you that they too have, with a Latvian perment residence permit, successfully entered the UK without the required visa.
7. Yes it was easier in the 70s/80s. Of course. Life generally was simpler in those days.
Are you just trying to find a back-door route into the UK? If not, why not just contact the UK border agency as I've already suggested and find out for 100% certain whether your Latvian permanent residency will allow you...with your specific citizenship..to directly enter the UK.
The last time I went to Italy, I flew in from Heathrow. I was quite surprised that when I arrived in Rome, that at the passport control desk, they waved me through without even looking at my passport (and those of several business travelers ahead of me). This is not normal, since I was entering the Schengen Zone, and was traveling on a US passport. I can only assume that the Italian authorities had already scanned the list of passengers on the BA flight, and there wasn't anyone on board who looked like they needed to be more closely questioned. (Think about it: people are trying to illegally get into the UK from Italy, not vice versa).
Thus, I have to agree with the tone of leics' responses. It MAY happen that from time to time that passports might not be checked, but they CAN BE checked at any true entry into the UK (i.e., other than in-transit to another country).
If this is true (and I believe that it is), then there is no legal method to guarantee that your papers won't be checked...they might NOT be checked on any given occasion, but they might be...and the penalties for trying to enter the UK without proper papers, I believe, can be severe (like denial of any visa for entry for years).
I am sorry that the UK visa is so expensive...and amazed that it's more expensive than a longer US visa (we need to increase our prices! ;-) ), but the rules are the rules...don't try to go to the UK without the proper paperwork, unless you are ready and able to deal with the possible negative consequences...
Alternatively, as I've already suggested, just contact the UK border agency. Ask whether your Latvian permanent residence permit in effect makes you a resident of the EU and thus allowed to travel to the UK without a visa.
It's very simply done and the cost of a phone call or online 'chat' is very considerably less than the cost of a visa. That way you will know for 100% certain whether you can legally visit without a visa.
Bill, visa costs are usually reciprocal (although they can sometimes reflect specific issues with illegal migrants or workers) so I'd guess the OP's own country levies a high charge for UK citizens to visit.