1.2 What do you need to work/live in the UK or Ireland?

EEA Countries Overview
A8 Countries Overview
A2 Countries Overview
Non EEA and Non Swiss Nationals Overview
Videos – Overview of the Visa Process
Detailed Information

If you are living in Ireland, click here for the What do you need to work/live in Ireland?


If you are a European worker and want to come to the UK to work your new employer will need to know if it is legal for you to do so. Nearly all European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals are free to enter and live in the United Kingdom without the need to apply for permission. The following information gives an overview of the requirements for various nationalities and at the bottom of this page there are links to more specific details for each.

EEA countries


The EEA countries are:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

European Union member states

If you are from a new European Union (EU) member state (called ‘accession states’), then you may need to register or ask permission.

Accession states – the A8 countries


The countries that joined the EU in 2004 are known as ‘A8 countries’, these are:

  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

Accession states – the A2 countries


The countries that joined the EU in 2007 are known as ‘A2 countries’, these are:

  • Bulgaria
  • Romania

Non-EEA and non-Swiss nationals

If you want to work in the UK and are not from an EEA country or Switzerland, it is likely you will need to apply under the points-based system.

Points-based system

There are five tiers in the points-based system:

  • Tier 1 – highly skilled workers
  • Tier 2 – skilled workers with a job offer
  • Tier 3 – low-skilled workers filling specific temporary labour shortages
  • Tier 4 – students
  • Tier 5 – youth mobility and temporary workers

What proof an employer will need

If you are from an EEA country, you will need to show a prospective employer one of the following:

  • your passport
  • national identity card
  • Home Office registration certificate

If you are from an A2/A8 or non European country and need permission to work from the UK Border Agency you will need to show your work document.

Employers can face unlimited fines if they employ illegal workers, so they need to make sure that no one they employ is working in the UK illegally. However, to protect themselves against discrimination laws they should treat all job applicants equally. There are costs associated with most of the application processes described in the following sections, for up to date costs please visit the UK Border Agency website.

These two videos will be of use to applicants from A2 and Non European countries

Click into the link below that applies to you and find out more about what you need to work and live in the UK.

EEA Countries

A8 Countries

A2 Countries

Non European Countries

General Information for all catagories