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EEA & Swiss Nationals

This page describes how European citizens and members of their family can enter, live in and work in the United Kingdom. The information in this page applies to citizens of countries within the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

 

If you are not an EEA or Swiss national you should read the sections on visiting, studying and working in the United Kingdom for information on how you can apply to enter, trip or live in the United Kingdom.
List of EEA Countries

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria,Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU) but citizens of these countries have the same rights to enter, live in and work in the United Kingdom as EU citizens.


Applying
This section describes how EEA and Swiss nationals and members of their family who are living in the United Kingdom can apply for a registration record or a residence card to corroborate the holder's rights of residence under European law. The page also describes how EEA and Swiss nationals and their families can apply for confirmation of permanent residence after living in the United Kingdom for 5 years.

Rights and responsibilities

This part will describe the rights European Economic Area (EEA) nationals, Swiss nationals and their families have to come to the United Kingdom to visit, live or work.
EEA and Swiss nationals have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom. This is called the right of residence. You will only have the right of residence in the United Kingdom if:

  • you are an EEA or Swiss national; and
  • you are working in the United Kingdom; or
  • you are able to support yourself and your family in the United Kingdom without the help of public funds.

Entering the United Kingdom

When you enter the United Kingdom you will need to show your passport or national identity card. You should use the separate channel marked 'EEA/EU' where it is available. Immigration officers will check your passport or national identity card to make sure that it is valid and belongs to you.


Your family
If you have a right to live the in the United Kingdom, your family may join you. Your family is defined as:

  • your spouse or civil partner;
  • children or grandchildren of you, your spouse or your civil partner who are under 21 years of age or who are dependent upon you; and
  • the parents or grandparents of you, your spouse or your civil partner.

If you are a student, only your spouse, civil partner or dependent children are entitled to a right of residence.

Other relatives, e.g.  extended family members such as brothers, sisters and cousins, do not have an automatic right to live in the United Kingdom. To be considered, the extended family member must be able to demonstrate that they are dependent on you. If you and your partner are not married or in a civil partnership you must be able to show that you are in a durable relationship with each other.

Family members who are not EEA or Swiss nationals
If your family members are not EEA or Swiss nationals and they are coming to live with you permanently or on a long-term basis, they will need to apply for an EEA family permit before coming to the United Kingdom. The EEA family permit is similar to a visa and is issued by UK Visa Services. Your family members should make an application for an EEA family permit at their nearest British diplomatic post.

Employment
You and your family members can:

  • accept offers of work;
  • work (whether as an employee or in self-employment);
  • set up a business;
  • manage a company; or
  • set up a local branch of a company.

You will not need to apply for a work permit. Your employer should not discriminate against you because of your nationality in terms of conditions of employment, pay or working conditions.

If you are a national of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia or Slovenia you will need to register under the Worker Registration Scheme when you take work in the United Kingdom. You should read the Worker Registration Scheme section for details.
If you are a national of Bulgaria or Romania you must not work until home office have given you permission. You should read the section for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals for details.

Registration certificates, residence cards and family member residence stamps
A registration certificate is a document issued to EEA nationals that confirms that person's right of residence under European law. You are not required to have a registration certificate to enter, live or work in the United Kingdom.
Residence cards are issued to non-EEA national family members (family members of EEA nationals who are not themselves EEA nationals). The card confirms that person's right of residence under European law.
Non-EEA national family members of nationals of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia or Slovenia are not eligible to apply for a residence card until the EEA national has completed 12 months of continuous employment in the United Kingdom. Non-EEA national family members can apply for a family member residence stamp to confirm their right of residence under European law.

Permanent residence
Once you have lived in the United Kingdom for a continuous period of five years, you are entitled to apply for confirmation of permanent residence. For details of how to apply you should read Applying.

Posted workers
If you are a Swiss national or a Swiss company that conducts business in the United Kingdom you may send employees to work for you in the United Kingdom for a maximum period of 90 days without having to apply for a work permit. Your employees must have been working for you in Switzerland or an EEA member state for a reasonable period of time. If your employees are not EEA or Swiss nationals they will need to apply for posted workers authorisation. UK Visa Services is responsible for processing applications for posted workers authorisation. You should contact your nearest British diplomatic post for details of how to apply.

Public funds
You do not have to work while you are living in the United Kingdom. If you do not work you must be able to support yourself without the use of public funds

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