The EEA Residence Permit – what it is and how it affects you

If you are an EEA National, then it is not compulsory for you to get an EEA Resident Permit as it only confirms your existing rights to stay and work. This is simple enough but you also need to understand the residency rules and how they apply to you.  For instance, if you have a non-EEA national family member deriving his / her rights from you, then the situation is different and you should  look at applying for an EEA Residence Permit.



An EEA residence permit visa for the UK entitles you as an EEA national and your dependants to the right of residence. Right of residence under European Community law gives you as an EEA national and your dependants the right to live and work in Britain under UK immigration laws.  If your family members are not from an EEA member country or Swiss nationals, they may need to apply for an EEA family permit before they can come to the UK. This permit is similar to a visa.

If you have found employment in the UK then you automatically have the right to work here and live here.  If you comply with these restrictions, then your family may join you here also.  You do not have to work while you are living in the UK but if you do not work, you have to be able to support yourself and your family in the UK without the use of public funds (benefits etc).

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.  You and your family members are allowed to accept offers of work; work as an employee and/or in self-employment; set up a business; manage a company; set up a local branch of a company.  You can also do all these types of work if you are studying in the UK.

You may also apply for an EEA Registration Certificate.  This is a document, issued to an EEA national that confirms the holder’s right of residence under European law. You do not need a registration certificate to be able to enter, live in or work in the UK.

Right to an EEA family permit

A person who has a right of admission by virtue of regulation 11(5) can apply for a family permit to facilitate their admission to the UK. A person will qualify for an EEA family permit where they can demonstrate that they meet the conditions in regulation 15A and regulation 11(5).

Further information on all of these points can be found at

When you have lived in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years, you can apply for confirmation of permanent residence.  Your family may also need to apply for UK Residence Cards.  These are issued to EEA nationals’ family members who are not EEA nationals themselves

If you are a Swiss national or Swiss company that conducts business in the UK, you may send non-EEA or non-Swiss national employees to work for you in the UK for up to 90 days without needing to apply for a work permit.

If you are an EEA national in the UK as a student or as a self-sufficient person you must have comprehensive sickness insurance for the duration of your stay in the UK.

eea residence permit

Members of the European Economic Area (EEA) include nationals from the following:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Irish Republic
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithunania
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

Prove your right to live in the UK as an EU citizen

You can apply for a registration certificate if you’re a citizen of aEuropean Economic Area (EEA) country and want to prove your right to live in the UK.

You don’t need a registration certificate, but it can:

You must be working, studying or able to support yourself independently to apply.

The EEA includes all EU states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway and, for immigration purposes, Switzerland.

How to apply

Download and fill in the residence card application form.

Post it to the Home Office with the supporting documents listed on the form, plus payment of £55 per applicant.

Getting permanent residence

You can apply for a permanent residence card if you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years as a ‘qualified person’ (ie you’ve been working, studying or supporting yourself independently). This will prove your right to live in the UK permanently.

You can also apply if you’re the family member of a ‘qualified person’ and you’ve been in the UK for 5 years.

Download and fill in the permanent residence card application form.

The right to reside UK and an EEA national

If you’re a student in the UK and an EEA national you will have a right to reside if you:

  • have comprehensive sickness insurance. This may be private health insurance. Or the country you’re from must have an agreement to reimburse the UK for the cost of treatment  An EHIC card may be sufficient if you intend to return home at the end of your course.
  • are enrolled at a government-recognised college in the UK. Your main purpose should be to study (including a vocational training course). This includes any student in further or higher education
  • make a formal statement, known as a declaration, that you’re able to support yourself and your family members without any social assistance. Social assistance includes claiming benefits.