How to apply for residence documents as a European citizen
This page explains how a citizen of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland can apply for a registration certificate or a document certifying permanent residence.
For more information about registration certificates and permanent residence, and when you can apply for them, see the Residence documents for European citizens page.
You can apply for a registration certificate by completing the EEA1 application form.
You can apply for a document certifying permanent residence by completing the EEA3 application form.
You should read the EEA guidance notes before you make your application.
You can find both application forms and the guidance notes under 'Application forms' on the right side of this page.
There is no fee for applications made by post or in person at the moment under European law.
How to submit your application
You can submit your EEA1 application:
- by post to the address on the front of the application form; or
- in person at our public enquiry office in Croydon. You will need to book an appointment before you visit the office, and appointments must be booked approximately 2 months in advance. For details of the public enquiry office's location, its opening times and how to book an appointment, see the Applying in person section.
You can submit your EEA3 application:
- by post to the address on the front of the application form.
What should you send with your application?
When you make your application, you must provide:
- your valid identity card or passport, issued by a country in the EEA or Switzerland;
- evidence that you qualify for the documentation; and
- 2 passport-style photographs of you.
The EEA guidance notes contain more information about the evidence required. We have also produced a checklist which can help you decide what evidence to provide. You can find this checklist under 'Related documents' on the right side of this page.
We will return your documents using Royal Mail 2nd class post, or by Recorded Delivery if we received and acknowledged your application before 17 January 2011. If you want us to return your documents to you by a Royal Mail 'signed for' service, you can find out what to do under 'More information' below.
The time taken to process your application will depend on the type of application you make and how you submit it.
We deal with all applications within 6 months. Some applications will be resolved much sooner.
To help us to focus on deciding applications as soon as possible, please do not phone or write to ask about the progress of your application unless you need a passport or other document urgently.
If you apply in person for a registration certificate at our public enquiry office in Croydon, we will usually process your application on the same day.
- Making a European application You should not submit an application if you intend to travel shortly after submitting your application as it may be difficult for us to return your documents during our consideration process. You are advised to submit your application when you return to the UK after completing your travel.
Returning your documents
If you want us to return your documents to you by a Royal Mail 'signed for' service, you must enclose a pre-paid, self-addressed Royal Mail Special Delivery (or Recorded Signed For delivery) envelope with your application.
The pre-paid envelope should be able to accommodate the size and weight of your documents, and should be insured. Please see the Royal Mail website for more information.
If you do not enclose a pre-paid envelope, we will return your documents using Royal Mail 2nd class post.
When you have submitted your application form, will the UK Border Agency send you an acknowledgement?
We will send you a certificate of application, in accordance with European law, as soon as possible after your application has been received and a record has been made.
Depending on your circumstances, your certificate of application may or may not give you an entitlement to work in the UK. If you do not have the right to work in the UK, we will send you a questions and answers sheet explaining why you cannot work.
We are unable to provide progress updates on the status of your certificate of approval.
- 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 no longer want to proceed with your application
If you want to withdraw your application, you must inform us by sending a letter to:
UKBA - European Applications
PO Box 306
- How can you get your passport back from the UK Border Agency if you need to travel? See the return of documents page.
If your application is refused
If we have refused your application because you have not provided the necessary evidence to support your application, the quickest and easiest solution is to make a new application.
If you have a right of appeal, you can choose to appeal against our decision. We will send you details of how to do this, and the appropriate appeal forms, with your refusal letter.
We will only reconsider our decision in exceptional circumstances. Your appeal will only succeed if our decision, based on the evidence that we had at the time, was incorrect. For example, a reconsideration is not appropriate if you did not supply enough evidence to support your application - in that situation, you should make a new application and ensure that you include all the supporting information.
If your appeal against our decision to refuse your application is allowed, when will you receive your documentation?
The time taken to implement your appeal decision will vary, as it takes time for your file and details of the judgment to be collated and sent to us. If you have not heard from us 8 weeks after your appeal was allowed, please phone our European enquiries contact centre and we will investigate this further.
- Can you apply for British nationality? For information about British citizenship and nationality, visit the British citizenship section of this website.
Frequently Asked Questions
What forms should you use if you are a Bulgarian or Romanian national?
If you wish to apply for a registration certificate as a Bulgarian or Romanian national, or if you wish to apply for worker authorisation, you can find more information about the correct forms on the 'Bulgarian and Romanian Nationals' page.
If you wish to apply for a document confirming a right of permanent residence in the UK, you can apply for a document certifying permanent residence using the EEA3 form. You should provide evidence that you have exercised Treaty rights for a continuous period of 5 years, including evidence that you were authorised to take employment if you exercised Treaty rights as a worker.
Guidance notes for European nationals and their family members
- Guide EEAPDF 205KB opens in a new window
Registration certificate (EEA and Swiss nationals)
- Form EEA1 PDF 300KB opens in a new window
Permanent residence (EEA and Swiss nationals)
- Form EEA3 PDF 288KB opens in a new window
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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.
- EEA application checklistPDF 61KB opens in a new window