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 on this website to refer to a person's immigration position in the UK, this will also include Swiss nationals, who have similar rights set out in bilateral treaties.
The EU and EEA countries are:
EEA nationals are required to obtain leave to enter or remain in order to visit or live in the UK. Unless a person 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 a person intends to work in the UK, they must apply for a visa under a specific category of the Immigration Rules and meet the corresponding requirements. See the Home Office guidance about visiting the UK as an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen.
E-visas or a digital status will be issued to EEA nationals rather than physical status documents. A person can access their digital status via the 'view and prove' service on gov.uk.
An EEA national or their family member could have one of the following types of immigration status:
The residence rights of the EEA nationals and their family members are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement.
The following people must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to evidence their residence rights:
The deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021 but the Home Office will accept a late application from a person who can demonstrate that they have a reasonable excuse for missing the deadline. A late application can also be made by a joining family member who has an EU Settlement Scheme family permit and has not applied within three months of entering.
EEA nationals entering the UK without valid leave to remain or a prior entry clearance will be treated as standard visitors. They will not be issued with any physical or digital evidence of their immigration status, so a person who enters as a visitor will need to be aware of the date that their leave to enter expires. They will also need to be aware of the conditions that apply to them whilst they are in the UK. See the Home Office information: visit the UK as a standard visitor.
There are several different circumstances that could apply to an EEA who has no lawful status in the UK. For example, the person could:
When an EEA national does not have any documentation, further questions may need to be asked about their residence history to establish whether the person has: