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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) and the end of European free movement in the UK.

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 and their family members who were living in the UK by 11pm on 31 December 2020 were required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by the deadline of 30 June 2021 in order to obtain settled or pre-settled status. Some people who have applied in time may still be waiting for a decision. For those that have not applied, the Home Office will accept a late application if the person can show that they have a reasonable excuse for missing the deadline. However, a person who did not apply by 30 June 2021 will not have lawful status in the UK and may lose access to some of their entitlements, even if a late application is accepted.

Additionally, certain close current family members and future children of EEA nationals with settled or pre-settled status will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme instead of having to meet the requirements of the family migration rules. Non-EEA national family members will be able to apply for an EUSS family permit in order to enter the UK on this basis.

As a result of these changes, an EEA national will now fall into one of the following groups:

  • A person who has been granted settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • A person who has a pending EU Settlement Scheme made before 30 June 2021.
  • A person who has no lawful status because they did not apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021, even if a late application is accepted.
  • A person who arrived in the UK on or after 1 January 2021 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