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European Nationals | Free Movement Rights | Family Members

European Nationals part of the free movement rights can travel with their family members to the UK. Swiss nationals and EEA nationals have a right to live and work in the United Kingdom. This is called a right of residence. Dependants of EU nationals can also derive rights even if they are not EU nationals themselves. Call ICS Legal today on 0207 237 3388 or simply complete our contact form, click here

The European Economic Area (EEA) was established on 1 January 1994. As well as European Union (EU) countries, it also allows Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to take part in Europe's single market without having to join the EU. 

The Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006 (the Regulations) apply and interpret the UK's obligations under the Free Movement of Persons Directive 2004/38/EC (the Directive) into domestic law. The rights given to EEA nationals under these Regulations are known as free movement rights. Switzerland is not part of the EEA, but Swiss nationals and their family members have the same free movement rights as EEA nationals.

An EEA national can live in the UK for a period of up to 3 months providing they hold either a valid: national identity card issued by an EEA state or passport issued by an EEA state. During this initial period of residence, EEA nationals are not subject to any conditions or formalities other than the requirement to hold a valid identity card or passport. They do not need to show they are or will be, exercising free movement rights as a qualified person. For more information on the meaning of a qualified person, see related
link: Qualified persons.

An EEA national must not become an unreasonable burden on the social assistance system of the UK during their initial residence. If they become an unreasonable burden they will cease to have a right to residence and can be removed from the UK in line with regulation 19(3)(a) of the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006.

If someone was removed from the UK on grounds of fraud and abuse in line with regulation 21B within the last 12 months, they do not have an automatic right of admission under regulation 11. For more information on persons removed on grounds of fraud and abuse,
see related link: Abuse of rights, fraud and verification.

You have a right of residence in the United Kingdom if you are an EEA national and:

  • you are working in the United Kingdom; or

  • you do not work in the United Kingdom, but you have enough money to support yourself throughout your stay without help from public funds. Public funds include Income Support, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.

In order to enter the UK, you will have to show your passport or national identity card. When you arrive at major ports and airports, you should use the separate channel marked 'EEA/EU' where it is available. Immigration officers will check your passport or national identity card to make sure that it is valid and belongs to you.

 You can:

  • accept offers of work;

  • work (whether as an employee, in self-employment or in business);

  • set up a business;

  • manage a company; or

  • set up a local branch of a company.

You can live in the United Kingdom as a student, as a retired person or if you are not working, as long you have enough money to support yourself throughout your stay without needing help from public funds. You will probably not be given a residence permit if: 

  • you are in the United Kingdom for a short visit;

  • you are looking for work;

  • you will work and live in the United Kingdom for less than three months; or

  • you do not work in the United Kingdom and cannot support yourself without help from public funds.

Call ICS Legal today on 0207 237 3388 or simply complete our visa assessment form, click here to complete

EU2 nationals
Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in 2007 (known as EU2 nationals). From 1 January 2014, Nationals of these countries no longer needed permission to work before taking employment. 

Establishing Cypriot nationality
Cyprus remains divided by the ’Green Line’ which separates the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus from the rest of the island. The Republic of Cyprus is a full member of the European Union (EU). Anyone who has a passport or other travel document issued by the Republic of Cyprus is allowed free movement rights within the EU.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is not recognised by the British government and is not a member state of the EU. Anyone who has a passport or other travel document issued by TRNC may present them as proof of identity but will not be
allowed free movement rights within the EU. 

You can read more information on how to bring your family members as well as applying for an EU residence card and permanent residence card. Click here to view more information

Public policy, public security and public health
This right of residence in the UK is subject to regulation 19(3)(b) of the regulations, which says an EEA national and their family members(s) may be removed from the UK on the grounds of public policy, public security or public health. 

Permanent residence for nationals of accession states
Nationals of member states which have joined the EU since 2004 (EU8 countries, EU2 countries and Croatia) must have met any transitional arrangement which applied to them if they wish to rely on time spend in the UK to get a right of permanent residence. Nationals of accession states can rely on time spent in the UK before the date on which the member state of which they are a national joined the EU for the purposes of getting a right of permanent residence in certain circumstances. 

Applicants who have acquired permanent residence under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 following 5 continuous years residence in the UK will need to show they have completed a further 12 months of residence in the UK free of immigration time restrictions when applying for British citizenship. Any applications for British citizenship received on or after 12 November 2015 from persons who have acquired permanent residence in the UK in line with the Regulations, will need to show they hold a permanent residence card (PR) (if a non-EEA national) or a document certifying permanent residence (DCPR) (if an EEA national) as evidence they have acquired permanent residence.

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