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EEA nationals and family members

The immigration requirements for European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and their family members have significantly changed following the UK's departure from the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020 and the end of European free movement in the UK on 31 December 2020.

EEA nationals are now required to obtain leave to enter or remain in order to visit or live in the UK. Unless an EEA national is coming to the UK for a short visit, they will need to apply for a visa in advance of their arrival. For example, if they intend to work in the UK, they must apply for a visa under a specific category of the Immigration Rules and meet the corresponding requirements. E-visas will be issued to EEA nationals rather than physical status documents. See the Home Office information for EU citizens about the UK’s points-based immigration system.

However, the position of EEA nationals and their family members who were living in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020 is different as their residence rights are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement. EEA nationals who were living in the UK by 31 December 2020 must apply under the EU Settlement Scheme in order to obtain a form of leave to remain (settled or pre-settled status) and retain their lawful status in the UK. Anyone who qualifies under the scheme but has not yet applied must do so by 30 June 2021 (the end of the 'grace period'). Additionally, certain close current family members and future children of EEA nationals with settled or pre-settled status will be entitled to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme rather than meeting the family migration requirements of the Immigration Rules. Non-EEA national family members will be able to apply for a family permit in order to enter the UK on this basis.

Following these changes, EEA nationals broadly fall into three groups:

  • People who have been granted settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • People who are entitled to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 but have not yet applied or been granted status.
  • People who arrived in the UK on or after 1 January 2020 with leave to enter for a specific purpose, such as to visit, work, or study. 

EEA countries

The EEA is made up of all the European Union (EU) member states, plus Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. When the term 'EEA national' is used to refer to a person's immigration position in the UK, this will also include Swiss nationals, whose rights are set out in bilateral treaties. 

Full list of EEA countries:  

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark    
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland (not EU member)
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lichtenstein (not EU member)
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway (not EU member)
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Spain 
  • Slovakia
  • Sweden