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Citizenship guide
Imperial experience

European nationals and their families

Imperial & Legal provides assistance to Europeans and their non-EEA relatives to get a confirmation of residence status and/or permanent residence. Our regulated immigration lawyers provide advice and support in preparing all necessary documents and submitting applications on behalf of our clients.

With Brexit underway, official status of these nationals hasn’t been affected or amended up until now. We are still awaiting new EEA immigration regulations. In March 2019, transition period will kick off and continue till the end of 2020 or 2021. During it, requirements for entry and stay of EEA nationals in the UK will not change.

However, we recommend our clients to apply for settlement, if they can, or at least confirm their status in the UK under existing rules.

EEA and Swiss citizens

Their presence in the UK for the first 90 days after arrival is not restricted in any way. They are allowed to stay longer if they can prove they are ‘qualified’ in one of the following categories by providing required evidence:


Full-time or half-time employment is permitted. If you lose a job, you have 6 months to find another one, provided you are registered with a Jobcentre Plus. Temporary incapacity due to an illness or accident is acceptable.


EEA nationals must register with the HMRC as self-employed, pay income tax and social contributions, and submit their tax returns.


EEA nationals must study in a licensed educational establishment. They must also prove they have enough money to maintain themselves, cover their daily and other expenses and provide a comprehensive sickness insurance. We can provide help in obtaining a private insurance.


This category of a qualified person requires an EEA national to prove they have enough resources to maintain themselves and a comprehensive sickness insurance not to be a burden on the social security system while they are in the UK.


EEA nationals must demonstrate they are actively looking for a job by registering with private or government agencies and submitting supporting evidence.

Confirming your status in the UK

Registration certificate is a confirmation that EEA/Swiss nationals have a right to be in the country and perform activities that are allowed, though there is no requirement to have it. Irrespective of that, we advise obtaining one as nothing is certain in terms of Brexit.

Family members, such as spouses, civil partners, children under 21 and other financially dependent relatives, may come and live in the UK if they obtain a residence card or a family permit depending on where they have lived prior to applying. Proof of relationships with a sponsor must be shown.

Permanent residence

After 5 years of having lived in the UK without long absences, EEA/Swiss citizens, and their non-EEA relatives that have spent that time with them, can get permanent residence, provided they have been meeting all conditions and requirements.

Retained rights of residence for family members

If an ЕЕА national is no longer a qualified person in the UK, their non-EEA family members normally lose a right to residency.

They can still retain this right in some instances, e.g. death of the main applicant or divorce.

British citizenship

EEA/Swiss nationals can get a UK passport either 1 year or immediately after becoming permanent residents, if they’ve lived in the country for 5 or 6 years respectively before applying for it.

Non-EEA family members of European nationals can apply for naturalisation together with their sponsors if they all have lived in the UK for at least 5 years and obtained permanent residence. However, if a European national becomes British citizen by themselves, independent of their family members, the latter will be subject to more strict UK rules.

That is why EEA nationals, obtaining British citizenship, should think of consequences for their family members.

Premium and VIP services

European nationals and their families may use premium service to obtain registration certificates, residence or permanent residence cards for accelerated processing.

There is no VIP service for EEA related documents.

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