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EEA Countries

 

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Entering the United Kingdom
Your Family
Employment
Registration Certificates
Permanent Residence

This section explains the rights that nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA), Swiss nationals and their families have to come to the UK to visit, live or work.

As an EEA or Swiss national, you have the right to live and work in the UK (known as the ‘right of residence’) if:

  • you are working in the UK
  • you can support yourself and your family in the UK without becoming an unreasonable burden on public funds
  • Entering the United Kingdom

    When you enter the UK, 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 UK, your family may join you here. Your family is defined as:

  • your spouse (husband or wife) or civil partner;
  • any children or grandchildren of you, your spouse or your civil partner who are under 21 years of age or who are dependent on 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 (including extended family members such as brothers, sisters and cousins) do not have an automatic right to live in the UK. 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.

    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.

    Registration Certificates

    A registration certificate is a document, issued to EEA or Swiss nationals, that confirms their right of residence under European law. You do not need to have a registration certificate to enter, live in or work in the UK.

    If you want to apply for a registration certificate, you must complete application form EEA1.

    For your application to be accepted, you must provide:

  • a valid identity card or passport issued by a country in the EEA or Switzerland; and
  • evidence that you are a qualified person.
  • See section 9 of the EEA1 application form for details of the supporting evidence that you must provide.

    Permanent Residence

    After you have lived in the UK for a continuous period of five years, you can apply for confirmation of your permanent residence. You will need to have been in employment, self-employment, studying or self-sufficient in the UK throughout the five-year period.

    For your residence in the UK to be considered continuous, you should not be absent from the UK for more than six months each year. However, longer absences for compulsory military service will not affect your residence. Additionally, a single absence of up to 12 months for important reasons such as pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or posting overseas will not affect your residence.

    EEA and Swiss nationals will be issued with a document confirming that they are permanent residents in the UK. This document has no expiry date.

    If you are an EEA or Swiss national and you want to apply for confirmation of your permanent residence, you must complete application form EEA3.

    For your application to be accepted, you must provide a valid identity card or passport, and evidence that you have a right to permanent residence. See section 5 of the EEA3 application form for details of the supporting evidence that you must provide.

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