Croatian nationals living and working in the UK

From 1 July 2013, Croatia will be members of the European Union (EU). As a result, Croatian nationals can enter any EU Member State (including the UK) without a visa.  You will need to show your passport or national identity card when you enter the UK. When you arrive at the port or airport, you should use the channel marked EEA/EU where it is available.

Can my family come with me to the United Kingdom?

Yes, if you have the right to live in the UK, your family may join you. However, if your family members are Croatian nationals and they wish to work in the UK, they may require permission to do so unless they can show that they are exempt from worker authorisation. Family members who are not nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) should obtain an EEA family permit for travel to the UK, including if they are accompanying or coming to join you in the UK. They must get the permit before they travel to the UK. If they try to enter the UK without an EEA family permit they may be refused entry.

How long can I stay in the UK?

You have a right of free movement as an EEA citizen. This means you have the right to move to any member state (provided you do not have a deportation or exclusion order against you) and to reside for up to 3 months following arrival. If you want to live in a member state for longer than 3 months you need to exercise a Treaty right or have permission from the member state to reside there.

What is ‘exercising a Treaty right’?

Under European law, EEA nationals can have a right to reside in a member state if they do one of the following:

  • work
  • look for work (i.e. are a job seeker)
  • study
  • are self-employed
  • are self-sufficient These are known as Treaty rights. European law sets out the conditions for each of these. Not every EEA national is able to exercise all of these Treaty rights.

The Accession Treaties of countries who have recently joined the EU allow Member states to prevent nationals from Accession countries (e.g. Bulgaria/Romania/Croatia) from having unrestricted access to work or having a right to reside as a job seeker.

If I am living in the UK how do I show I am exercising a Treaty right?

If you are exercising a Treaty right you may apply for documentation (a “registration certificate”) confirming this. You are able to exercise Treaty rights as:

  • a worker, if you obtain permission to work or are exempt from the requirement to do so;
  • a student;
  • a self-employed person;
  • a self-sufficient person. If you need permission to work in the UK you will need to apply for a registration certificate.

If you do not intend to work in the UK (for example because you are here as a self-sufficient person) having a registration certificate is not mandatory

What do I do if I want to exercise Treaty rights as a student?

If you want to exercise Treaty rights in the UK as a student, you will need to meet the relevant criteria of the EEA Regulations. This includes that you are studying at an appropriate educational establishment and that you hold comprehensive medical insurance.

If you require legal advice, speak to us on 0207 237 3388 or email us your enquiry to 

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