Returning to Ireland – Covid-19 and Brexit

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— Advice from Citizens Information —

Within the space of a year the circumstances surrounding entering and leaving Ireland have changed drastically. The impact of Covid-19 as well as the UK’s departure from the European Union is having major implications for both Irish and UK citizens departing and returning home.

Regarding Covid-19, there are now new safety procedures in place relating to Covid-19, that passengers should be aware of before and after arriving into Ireland:

  • All passengers arriving into Ireland must have a negative test result no more than 72 hours before arrival
  • Anyone arriving in Ireland from another country is required by law to fill in a Covid-19 passenger locator form
  • From midnight on the 3rd February 2021 a system was introduced for mandatory quarantine at home for arrivals into Ireland. Passengers who arrive from any destination must quarantine for 14 days at the address specified on their Passenger Locator Form, with penalties for non-compliance. These penalties are a fine of up to €2,500 or 6 months in prison, or both.

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, said: “The clear Government and public health advice is that everybody should avoid non-essential travel completely. Last night (3rd Feb), I signed additional regulations that puts mandatory quarantine at home on a statutory footing. All travellers into the country must now adhere to staying at home and enforcement will be a matter for An Garda Síochána.”

Regarding Brexit and the movement of people, there are some things that Irish and UK citizens should also be familiar with. For British citizens living in Ireland, they continue to have the right to work, study and vote here and under the Common Travel Area Agreement they also have the right to receive their UK pension and maintain their medical card and other Social Welfare payments, if eligible.

For Irish citizens wishing to continue to live, work and study in the UK, their rights are protected under the Common Travel Area arrangement and they do not need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Speaking about the effects of people returning to Ireland during Covid-19 and Brexit, Ciara O’Gorman, North and East Cork’s Citizens Information Manager said: “There are new procedures in place affecting people returning to Ireland due to the ongoing pandemic. Please contact us if you need clarification on anything. We are also receiving a lot of queries from UK Citizens concerned about their pensions or medical card entitlement.

“If you have any questions or concerns please contact your local Citizens Information Centre, we remain open and are happy to answer any questions you may have.”

In-depth information surrounding these topics can be found on our website

For anyone needing information, advice or who has an advocacy issue you can call a local centre in North Cork. Phone Fermoy Mon & Tues from 9-5, Wed & Thurs from 9-1 on 0761 07 7970; phone Mallow Mon, Wed, Thurs & Fri 9-5 and Tues from 9-12.30 on 0761 07 8000. Emails are and