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Applications Under European Law

Citizens of countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) can move freely between the member states and live where they choose. EEA Nationals have the right to take a job, seek employment, or set up a business in any EEA country.

The EEA Member States are:

The European Economic Area includes the twenty five member states of the European Union:

  • Austria (1995)
  • Belgium (1952)
  • Bulgaria (2007)
  • Cyprus (2004)
  • Czech Republic (2004)
  • Denmark (1973)
  • Estonia (2004)
  • Finland (1995)
  • France (1952)
  • Germany (1952)
  • Greece (1981)
  • Hungary (2004)
  • Ireland (1973)
  • Italy (1952)
  • Latvia (2004)
  • Lithuania (2004)
  • Luxembourg (1952)
  • Malta (2004)
  • Netherlands (1952)
  • Poland (2004)
  • Portugal (1986)
  • Romania (2007)
  • Slovakia (2004)
  • Slovenia (2004)
  • Spain (1986)
  • Sweden (1995)
  • United Kingdom (1973)


If you are an EEA national from the above-listed countries, you can generally enter the UK to study, work, establish a business or reside in the UK as a self-sufficient EU national.

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are EEA member states, but they are not members of the European Union (EU).

Switzerland is not a member of the EU or the EEA. However since 1 June 2002, Swiss nationals have had rights which are similar to those of nationals of EEA countries. The information in this area of the website applies to both EEA and Swiss nationals.

Do I have to make an application to the Home Office?

You are entitled to enter the UK freely and have an automatic right of residence for up to three months without needing to demonstrate that you are exercising a right of free movement, for example, to study or work. Once you have been accepted on a course of study, you have the right of residence in the UK for as long as your course lasts.

You do not have to register or apply for any particular documents in order to stay in the UK. However, you can choose to apply for a registration certificate which confirms that you have a right of residence as a student. You might want to apply for a registration certificate if you have family members who are not themselves EEA or Swiss nationals, as this can make it easier for your family to apply for an EEA family permit or residence card. If you are a Bulgarian or Romanian national, you might have to apply for a registration certificate if you want to work in the UK.

What about my family members?

If your family members are also EEA or Swiss nationals, they can come to the UK in the same way as you, without restriction.

If your family members are not EEA or Swiss nationals, and you are coming to, or you are in, the UK as student, the following family members can come with you, or join you:

  • your husband or wife
  • your civil partner – this is a same-sex partner with whom you have a legally recognised relationship (find out more about civil partnerships)
  • children who are dependent on you or on your spouse or civil partner.

If you want to bring other family members, for example, a co-habitee or parents, it is at the discretion of the UK Government. If you want your co-habitee to be with you, you need to show that you have been in a relationship ‘akin to marriage’ for at least two years. European Community (EC) law says that you just need to be in a ‘durable relationship’, without any minimum length – if you need to challenge the UK interpretation of ‘durable relationship’, seek legal advice. If you want to bring parents or other relatives, you need to show that they were members or your household or dependent on you in your home country, or that they are seriously ill and require your personal care.

If you are not in the UK as a student but as, for example, a worker, you can bring a wider range of family members with you under EC law, including grandchildren who are under 21 or dependent on you, and parents and grandparents who are dependent on you.

Our prices are very competitive and we are happy to send you a quote. Simply call us on 020 8297 4000 or send an email to us at: advice@mandypeterssolicitors.co.uk