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Applying under European law

This section explains how you and your family members can apply for a registration certificate, a residence card, a family member residence stamp or confirmation of permanent residence in the UK if you are a national of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

The Making your application page contains more information about the application process. It also explains how you can ask us to return your passport if you need it while we are processing your application, and how you can get your residence card or stamp transferred to a new passport.

Before making an application, you are advised to read the guidance notes for applying as a European national or as the family member of a European national. You can download the guidance from the right side of this page.

Registration certificates

A registration certificate is a document, issued to EEA or Swiss nationals, that confirms their right of residence under European law. You do not need to have a registration certificate to enter, live in or work in the UK.

If you are a national of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia or Slovenia, you cannot apply for a registration certificate until you have completed 12 months' continuous employment in the UK.

If you want to apply for a registration certificate, you must complete application form EEA1. You can download the form from the right side of this page.

For your application to be accepted, you must provide:

  • a valid identity card or passport issued by a country in the EEA or Switzerland; and
  • evidence that you are a qualified person.

See section 9 of the EEA1 application form for details of the supporting evidence that you must provide.

Residence cards

Family members who come to the UK with an EEA or Swiss national, but who are not themselves nationals of an EEA country or Switzerland, can apply for a residence card (with some exceptions - see 'Family member residence stamp' below). The residence card confirms their right of residence under European law.

A residence card is normally valid for five years, and takes the form of an endorsement that is placed in the holder's passport.

If you want to apply for a residence card, you must complete application form EEA2. You can download the form from the right side of this page.

For your application to be accepted, you must provide a valid passport and evidence that you are a family member of the EEA national. See section 9 of the EEA2 application form for details of the supporting evidence that you must provide.

Family member residence stamps

Residence cards are not immediately available to all family members. Family members who are not themselves nationals of an EEA country or Switzerland, and who are in the UK with a national of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia or Slovenia, cannot apply for a residence card until the national of that country has been employed continuously in the UK for 12 months.

Until this 12-month period is completed, a family member who is not an EEA or Swiss national can apply for a family member residence stamp (FMRS) to confirm their right of residence under European law.

If you want to apply for an FMRS, you must complete application form FMRS. You can download the form from the right side of this page.

For your application to be accepted, you must provide a valid passport and evidence that you are a family member of the EEA national. See section 6 of the FMRS application form for details of the supporting evidence that you must provide.

Permanent residence

After you have lived in the UK for a continuous period of five years, you can apply for confirmation of your permanent residence. You will need to have been in employment, self-employment, studying or self-sufficient in the UK throughout the five-year period.

For your residence in the UK to be considered continuous, you should not be absent from the UK for more than six months each year. However, longer absences for compulsory military service will not affect your residence. Additionally, a single absence of up to 12 months for important reasons such as pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or posting overseas will not affect your residence.

EEA and Swiss nationals will be issued with a document confirming that they are permanent residents in the UK. This document has no expiry date.

If you are an EEA or Swiss national and you want to apply for confirmation of your permanent residence, you must complete application form EEA3. You can download the form from the right side of this page, or use our interactive application tool to complete the form online. For your application to be accepted, you must provide a valid identity card or passport, and evidence that you have a right to permanent residence. See section 5 of the EEA3 application form for details of the supporting evidence that you must provide.

Non-EEA nationals will be issued with an endorsement, which is placed in their passport. This endorsement is valid for 10 years.

If you are a non-EEA national and you want to apply for permanent residence, you must complete application form EEA4. You can download the form from the right side of this page. For your application to be accepted, you must provide a valid identity card or passport, and evidence that you have a right to permanent residence. See section 6 of the EEA4 application form for details of the supporting evidence that you must provide.

Application forms

Guidance notes for applying as a European national or as the family member of a European national

Registration certificate (EEA or Swiss nationals and their EEA or Swiss family members)

Family member residence stamp (non-EEA national family member of a person required to register under the Accession State Worker Registration Scheme)

Residence card (non-EEA or non-Swiss national family members of EEA or Swiss nationals)

Permanent residence (non-EEA or non-Swiss national family members of EEA or Swiss nationals)

Permanent residence (EEA or Swiss national)

Terms explained

  • European Economic Area

    Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU) but citizens of these countries have the same rights to enter, live in and work in the United Kingdom as EU citizens.

All glossary terms