Residence documents for European nationals
This page explains why a national of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland may want to apply for confirmation that they have the right to live in the UK.
If you are an EEA or Swiss national, you can apply for a registration certificate. This is a document which confirms your right of residence in the UK under European law.
When you have lived in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years in accordance with the European regulations, you can apply for a document certifying permanent residence. From 1 January 2012 Bulgarian and Romanian nationals can apply for permanent residence using the EEA3 form.
Do you need to apply?
Under European law, you do not need to obtain documentation confirming your right of residence in the UK if you are a national of a country in the EEA.
However, if you want to support an application for a residence card by any of your family members who are not EEA nationals, you must demonstrate that you are residing in the UK in accordance with the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 and are 'exercising Treaty rights' in the UK. You are said to be exercising Treaty rights if you are:
- employed or self-employed; or
- studying; or
- economically self- sufficient (meaning that you have sufficient funds to support you without requiring public funds); or
- a jobseeker; or
- retired; or
- someone who has had to cease working in the UK owing to permanent incapacity.
(If you are a Bulgarian or Romanian national, you may need to be authorised by us before you can work here. See the European workers section for more information.)
When can you apply for a registration certificate?
All EEA nationals and Swiss nationals can apply for a registration certificate at any time.
How to apply
To find out how to apply for a registration certificate or a document certifying permanent residence, see the How to apply for residence documents page.
- If you lose your residence document If you have lost your residence document and you need a replacement, you must complete and send us a new application form. When you send your new form, you must enclose a covering letter explaining your circumstances.
- If you change your address If you are changing the address that you have given us for correspondence, you should use our online form to tell us of the change.
- If you change your name If you want to change the name on your residency documentation, you must complete and send us a new application form, with a covering letter explaining your circumstances. Before we can issue new documentation to you, you will need to return your current residency documentation to us.
If you no longer want to support or sponsor an application by one of your family members
If you are an EEA national and you no longer want to sponsor an application, please send a letter to:
UKBA - European Applications
Withdrawal of EEA sponsorship
PO Box 306
Your letter should contain:
- the name of the person who you wish to withdraw your support or sponsorship from;
- details of why you want to withdraw your support or sponsorship; and
- your current address in case we need to contact you.
- Can you apply for British nationality? For information about British citizenship and nationality, visit the British citizenship section of this website.
- If an EEA national child wishes to remain in the UK with their non-EEA parent/guardian An EEA national child may qualify for a registration certificate on the basis of being self-sufficient following the ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the case of Chen (ECJ C-200/02). The child must have comprehensive sickness insurance and be self-sufficient. This means that they must not rely on funds earned by the non-EEA national parent(s) or primary carer in the UK, unless this comes from legal employment or self-employment (if the parent(s) or primary carer is in the UK on a work permit).
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The European Economic Area (EEA) consists of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Although Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU), their citizens have the same rights as EU citizens to enter, live in and work in the UK.