If Northern Ireland joins the Republic of Ireland to become a United Ireland, will the Common Travel Area be abolished?

CTA, in part, exists because of the fear of a hard border between UK and Ireland. Why do you think CTA will survive if a United Ireland is formed? There would simply be 2 separate countries (well distanced by a water body). No question of a shared border.

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    The question appears impossible to answer. NI joining the RoI would be such a significant act that subsequent relationships would have to be renegotiated.
    – o.m.
    Aug 4, 2020 at 17:35
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    @o.m. I agree, but this is a pretty narrow area of discussion. The CTA has few functions. If the main problem is solved (no hard border as a result of united Ireland), it would result in CTA becoming unnecessary, right?
    – Montu Soni
    Aug 4, 2020 at 17:38

1 Answer 1


On a purely technical note, since the Common Travel Area includes United Kingdom, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands, a united Ireland leaving it wouldn't automatically cause the area to dissolve.

On a more practical note there would still be significant hurdles to immigration controls between the UK and a united Ireland. The Good Friday agreement allows the people of Northern Ireland to choose their citizenship as British, Irish or both. Forcing people who identified as British to leave would be very unlikely to remain a peaceful solution. Similarly a significant number of migrant workers have travelled in both directions leaving an aging, embedded community.

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