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British Vs. Irish Passport: Which is Better

Dual citizenship allows you to move freely between the two countries. Therefore, if you’re a holder of both a British and an Irish passport, you can travel, work, and study in the UK, Ireland, and other EU member countries.

For more information about British and Irish passports, how to apply, and what becoming a citizen of the two countries means, reach out to one of our friendly immigration advisers on  +1 844 290 6312 or contact us online today.

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    The UK and Ireland are among the countries that allow dual citizenship. You may be a British and Irish passport holder if you’re an eligible British citizen. Similarly, you can have both passports if you prove that you’re an Irish citizen.

    Before Brexit, British citizens didn’t have to hold an Irish passport because both countries were in the European Union. After the exit, holding a dual British and Irish passport has had significant advantages. For that reason, most residents of Northern Ireland applied for Irish passports to retain the rights to live and work in the EU.

    Although the UK is no longer an EU member, Ireland and UK still are in a Common Travel Area (CTA), giving the citizens of the two countries residence and travel rights, among other benefits.

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    The British Passport


    A British passport is a travel document issued by the United Kingdom or other British dependencies and territories to British citizens. It gives you international passage under visa requirements and serves as British citizenship proof.

    Moreover, UK Passports have a 10 years validity, a duration longer than many other passports. It’s an excellent worldwide document for identity and citizenship establishment.

    British Passport Ranking

    The British passport currently ranks in the 3rd position worldwide, as per the Guide Passport Ranking Index. The passport’s top ranking is due to its global high mobility score: it provides access to 172 British passport visa-free countries. Examples of these countries include Albania, Bahamas, Chile, Denmark, Ecuador, the Falkland Islands, and Germany.

    The passport rankings depend on the number of countries that the holders can access visa-free. Visa-free means you can enter the country without a visa,  with a visa on arrival or electronic travel authorisation eTA.

    Hence, the British passport gives you access to about 86% of the globe visa-free. The breakdown includes 111 countries without a visa, 53 countries with a visa-on-arrival, and 8 on eTA authorisation. Only 26 countries will a UK passport holder need to get a visa.

    That means that you can access 56% of all countries without an additional travel document and 31% with more accessible visa types as a UK passport holder.

    What are the Advantages of Having a British Passport?

    You enjoy many benefits as a British passport holder, including the following:

    Permission to Live and Work in the UK

    If you qualify for a British passport, you live and work in the UK without a visa.  Even if you want to visit the country for a temporary change of environment, this travel document permits that. The UK is an ideal destination for tourists due to its rich culture.

    Study in the UK

    The country has some of the best universities and tertiary educational centres worldwide. You may need several documents and a lot of money to study in these institutions as an international student. However, if you have a UK passport, you don’t have to meet these requirements, as the passport will give you access as a UK citizen. Otherwise, you limit your experience to a Student Visa.

    Ease of Travelling

    Holding a British passport allows you to travel freely and more efficiently to 172 countries. They include 111 countries without a passport, 53 countries with visa-on-arrival, and 8 with online travel authorisation. Free travelling in and out of the UK can significantly improve your travelling experience because you aren’t subject to the lengthy visa application process.

    Access to Public Funds

    A British passport allows you to claim public funds provided by the UK government. The funds are life-saving in job insecurity moments such as during the pandemic. Consequently, you can maintain a basic standard of living in tough economic times.

    Immigration Restrictions Exemption

    As a British passport holder, you aren’t subject to the country’s immigration restrictions. Hence, you can live in the UK without meeting the immigration rules and laws requirements.

    Residency Proving

    A British passport is valid proof of your UK residency. Also, it gives eligibility to vote in referendums, national and local elections, and the right to stand for public office.

    Free Healthcare

    You’re eligible for free healthcare through the UK National Health Service (NHS) as a UK citizen. Otherwise, you’d have to pay for the services unless you’re on the exempt list.

    What are the Disadvantages of Having a British Passport?

    A British passport indicates that you’re a UK citizen, and below are the drawbacks of being a UK national:

    EU movement restrictions

    Brexit denied UK nationals visa-free movement to the EU member states. Hence, you must apply for a visa according to your destination’s immigration rules. Also, your professional qualification must be EU-recognised to be employed in any of the Eu countries.

    Long NHS waiting list

    Although the British passport gives you access to free healthcare, the high demand for the service against the low workforce makes the sector perform poorly. Health practitioners are few due to the lower pay compared to other countries like the US, while the patient turnout is high because the services are government funded. Hence there are long waiting lists to see a specialist.

    Higher cost of living

    Although the countryside and villages of the UK are affordable to live in, cities like London are more expensive. That results from increased rent due to the influx of people to the cities to live as they work. Consequently, other aspects like food have also gone up.

    Got any questions about how to obtain a British passport as a dual citizen? Our team would be happy to assist you. Contact Us

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      The Irish Passport


      An Irish passport is a travel document issued by the Irish government to its citizens through the Passport Service of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland. It allows you to travel internationally and use it to prove your Irish nationality and European Union citizenship.

      The document entitles you to specific diplomatic support services from Irish embassies if you get stuck abroad. Even so, an Irish passport doesn’t give you an automatic right to enter other countries outside the EU.

      Irish Passport Ranking

      According to the Guide Passport Ranking Index, the Irish passport also ranks in the 3rd position worldwide, like its British counterpart.  Since countries in this category have the same ranking score, Ireland also has 172 Irish passport visa-free countries. Examples of these countries include Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, and Estonia.

      The world reach of the Irish passport is approximately 86%. You can access 109 countries without a visa, 55 countries with a visa-on-arrival, and 8 countries on eTA authorisation. Only 26 countries will a UK passport holder need to get a visa.

      The above data translates to 55% of all countries without an additional travel document and 32% with more accessible visa types as a UK passport holder.

      What are the Advantages of Having an Irish passport?

      The Irish passport comes with various benefits, including the following:

      Fundamental rights entitlement

      You’re entitled to specific fundamental rights as an Irish citizen under the country’s constitution. The rights work to protect you, your family, and your freedom. Some of them include the right to life, property, privacy, equality before the law, family, religious freedom, and freedom of expression.

      Live, work, study and travel in Ireland and the UK

      As an Irish passport holder, you can live, work, study, and travel in Ireland without restrictions.  Although you can still enjoy the same benefits as a non-citizen, they’re limited to your visa requirements. Irish citizens can also live indefinitely in the UK. Your passport can only be revoked when you give false or misleading information during your application.

      Live, work, study and travel in the EU/EAA

      Since Ireland is an EU/EAA member, you can live, work, study, and travel to all member states with no restrictions or visa-free. The EU freedom of movement is one reason many want to obtain Irish citizenship. It has many benefits, including overseas job exploration, free travelling, and immigration within the EU/EAA borders, plus other destinations.

      EU Healthcare access

      The Irish passport allows you to apply for a European Health Insurance Card.  Consequently, you can access state-provided healthcare in whichever EU member state you visit. You can also benefit from public health services in Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Iceland with an Irish passport during your stay in the country.

      Access free education

      Primary and secondary education is free for Irish citizens and non-citizens, but higher education isn’t. However, you may qualify for Free Fee Initiative for easy access to free higher education. Even so, there are requirements to meet, including being an Irish resident and an EU/EEA member state or Swiss citizen.

      Irish and European elections voting right

      As an Irish passport holder, you have the right to vote in Irish and European elections (referendums, presidential, local, and general elections). The voting right allows you to exercise your democratic right as the country’s resident. Non-EU citizens can only vote at the local level.

      Elected to government

      You may be eligible to be elected to the Irish or EU government if you have an Irish passport. Non-Irish or non-EU citizens have no entitlement to this benefit.

      Diplomatic support abroad

      As an Irish citizen, you benefit from the diplomatic support of Irish consulates and embassies abroad. The authorities provide assistance, advice, and protection to Irish passport holders who travel or reside overseas.

      Hold dual/multiple citizenships

      Ireland allows citizens to have two or more citizenships. Hence, you don’t have to renounce your citizenship to become an Irish national. Multiple citizenships offer great flexibility as you can have several passports and retain various countries’ citizenship.

      Pass Irish citizenship to your children

      Your child automatically becomes an Irish citizen if you are one at the time of birth. In some cases, a child has only one parent being an Irish citizen, or the citizenship is acquired (necessary when one parent and the child are born outside Ireland).

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        What Are the Disadvantages of an Irish Passport?

        Although there are various benefits accrued to holding an Irish passport, there are drawbacks to being an Irish citizen (passport holder). They include the following:

        High cost of living

        Living in the city centre’s metropolitan areas can be expensive. The cost decreases as you move toward the country’s interior parts, but such areas have limited access to public transportation. Consumer goods are also costly in Ireland.

        Unpredictable weather conditions

        The country’s weather is unpredictable, where you can have rain and sun within a short period. Although Ireland rarely has snow, the better part of the year is cold. Hence, it may not be favourable for you if you need a steady sun supply.

        Limited job opportunities outside Dublin

        Most jobs in Ireland are in the bustling capital, while such opportunities are limited and far between in the capital’s outskirts. The situation is problematic if you want to move to the country permanently and work there.

        Who Can Hold a British and Irish passport?

        An eligible British citizen may have both a British and an Irish passport. All you need is to prove your claim for Irish citizenship. You may be entitled to apply for an Irish passport if you were either:

        • Born in Ireland or Northern Ireland before 1st January 2005, or
        • Born in Ireland or Northern Ireland after 31st December 2004

        Additionally, at least one of your parents must have been a British or Irish citizen at the time of birth.

        Alternatively, you can claim your Irish citizenship by descent: prove that an eligible family member previously held an Irish passport. The following circumstances may permit you to have Irish citizenship:

        • Your late parent(s) was a British or Irish citizen(s).
        • At least one parent was entitled to live in Ireland or Northern Ireland without restrictions.
        • At least one of your parents legally resided in Ireland for three out of the four years before birth.

        British Vs. Irish passport: Which is Better

        An Irish passport is better than a British passport because Ireland is an EU member state. That means holding an Irish passport grants certain rights and privileges within the EU territory, which isn’t the case with the British passport.

        After Brexit, UK citizens must apply for a visa under the specific country’s immigration rules if they wish to visit EU member countries. Also, if you wish to work within the EU as a British passport holder, your professional qualifications must comply with the EU requirements.

        On the other hand, Irish passport holders enjoy visa-free travelling, living, and working within the UE boundaries and in the UK. Hence, it offers more flexibility than its UK counterpart.

        Nonetheless, both visas have equal mobility levels (172), giving you visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to most countries within the globe.

        Do you want to hold British or Irish citizenship? Our expert immigration lawyers can help you through the process. Contact Us

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          How Can IAS Help?

          Irish and British passports are significant travel documents that can be keys to many destinations worldwide. Amazingly, the two currently have high and equal mobility levels, making them worth obtaining.

          If you wish to apply for a British or an Irish passport or have one and would like to obtain the other, IAS is here to help. Our specialist lawyers are experienced in immigration matters to offer advice and support every step of the way in your dual citizenship acquisition.

          For more information about our services and how we can help in your situation, contact us at +1 844 290 6312. We’re here to help in person, via phone, or online.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    No, an Irish citizen isn’t necessarily a British Citizen. Nonetheless, if born in Northern Ireland, you’re considered a British citizen under the British Nationality Act 1981. Even so, this applies where one of your parents is a British citizen or legally settled in the UK at birth.

                    Yes, it’s better to have an Irish passport after Brexit. Among the many benefits you get from being an Irish passport holder is the consideration as an EU citizen.  As a result, you can live, work, and travel freely throughout all the EU member countries. Additionally, you can pass the Irish and EU citizenship to your children.

                    It’s easier to immigrate to Ireland than the UK. Moving to Ireland under the Irish work permit scheme is easier than the UK under the Skilled Worker Visa. Also, it’s easier to gain Irish permanent residence and citizenship than the UK’s equivalent. Plus, once you become Irish, you can live and work freely within the EU.

                    Yes, there are downsides to dual nationality. They include the likelihood of double taxation, the expensive and tedious process of obtaining dual citizenship, and the requirement to comply with the laws of the two countries.

                    Yes, you can live in England with an Irish passport. British and Irish citizens can move and reside in either of the countries under the CTA. The nationalities can also enjoy privileges and rights, such as the right to work, study, and vote in some elections. Additionally, the citizens have access to health services and social benefits.

                    Yes, living in England is safe. The country has low violence and street crime levels. In fact, England ranks 36th of 193 countries in terms of crime per 1000 people. That means that the country is safer than most countries globally.