You can apply for any post in the Civil Service as long as you’re a UK national or have dual nationality with one part being British. In addition, about 75% of Civil Service posts are open to Commonwealth citizens and nationals of any of the member states of the European Economic Area (EEA). The remainder, which require special allegiance to the state, are reserved for UK nationals.
Under the EC Treaty, where an EEA national of another member state has a right of residence in the UK and is employed or self-employed, or in receipt of services, in the UK, then certain non-EEA family members have the right of residence here and hence the right to take employment, including in the Civil Service. Similarly, where the EEA national has a right of residence in the UK in a non-economically active category (i.e. as a vocational student, retired person, or a self-sufficient person), then certain non-EEA family members have the right to take employment. These rights do not extend to non-EEA family members of a UK national except in very limited circumstances where the UK national has returned to the UK, in the exercise of a Treaty right, after having exercised Treaty rights in an economically active capacity in another member state, and is accompanied or being joined by a non-EEA family member. The categories of family member are:
the EEA national’s spouse;
a descendant of the EEA national or the spouse who is under 21 years of age or is their dependant; and
a dependent relative in the ascending line of the EEA national or the spouse.
Applicants with dual nationality will be eligible for non-reserved posts provided that one part meets the nationality requirements.
When applying, you will be asked about your nationality at birth, whether you are subject to immigration control, and whether there are any restrictions on your continued residence or employment in the UK.
Please refer to the Civil Service Nationality Requirements for more detailed information on the nationality rules.
UK national is as defined in the UK declaration on nationality for EC purposes made with effect from 1 January 1983. This comprises: British citizens, British subjects under Part IV of the British Nationality Act 1981 having the right of abode in the UK, and British Overseas Territories citizens. The Declaration also notes the reference, in connection with the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, that “any citizen of the UK and Colonies” is to be understood as referring to “any British citizen”.
Nationals of the European Economic Area
The European Economic Area comprises the member states of the European Community (EC) and the European Free Trade Area (EFTA).
The EC Member States (besides the UK) are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
The EFTA Member States are Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Although Switzerland is not part of the EEA, and Swiss nationals are not EEA nationals, the EU-Swiss Agreement (1 June 2002) confers upon Swiss nationals many of the same rights as are enjoyed by EEA nationals and their family members, including employment in the Civil Service in non-reserved posts.
Commonwealth citizens means any person who has the status of a Commonwealth citizen under the British Nationality Act 1981. This includes:
British subjects with the right of abode in the UK (this generally applies to people who were born before 1 January 1949 and who had a connection with either British India or the Republic of Ireland);
British Overseas Territories citizens (i.e. people who obtained their citizenship from a connection with a territory which remains a British dependency, e.g. Gibraltar, Bermuda);
British Overseas Citizens (i.e. people who have a connection with a former British colony, for example, Kenya, who did not become either citizens of that country when it became independent or British citizens);
a national of a country listed in Schedule 3 of the British Nationality Act 1981. (i.e Australia, New Zealand, Canada. Note: The list of countries in Schedule 3 at any time may not accurately reflect the countries actually within the Commonwealth at that time);
a further category was added in 1986 under the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order: British National (Overseas). This applies to former British Dependent Territories citizens connected with Hong Kong.