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.
An E-visa or digital status will be issued to EEA nationals rather than a physical status document. A person can access their digital status via the Home Office 'view and prove' service.
An EEA national or their family member will usually have one of the following types of immigration status:
Irish citizens are exempt from immigration control, so do not require leave to enter or remain to visit or live in the UK. However, some Irish citizens may have opted to obtain settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
An EEA national entering the UK without valid leave to remain or a prior entry clearance will be treated as a standard visitor. They will have leave to enter for 6 months, but not be issued with any physical or digital evidence of their immigration status. Therefore, 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, which are set out in the Home Office guidance for standard visitors.
An EEA national may find themselves in the position of having no lawful status in the UK if they:
If it appears that an EEA national may not have any lawful status in the UK, it will be important to ask further questions to establish whether the person has: