Nationals from any of the European Economic Area (EEA) states and Switzerland, and their dependants, are entitled to live and work in the UK (and have access to some public benefits) under the UK’s Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 provided, the EEA / Swiss national exercises his/her Treaty Right whilst they are in the UK. Exercising a Treaty Right means the EEA national or Swiss national must be doing any of the following:
- Working (employed / self-employed)
- Seeking employment
- Economically self-sufficient
- Permanently incapacitated
- Retired and in receipt of a pension
An EEA or Swiss national does not require a visa to enter, live and work in the UK. A little known fact is that the spouse / unmarried partner and dependant children of an EEA or Swiss national also do not require a visa to enter, live and work in the UK. They can however apply for an EEA Family Residence Permit which acts as evidence of their right to reside and work in the UK with their EEA or Swiss national spouse / unmarried partner / parent. Most spouses / unmarried partners and child dependants of EEA / Swiss nationals apply for an EEA Family Residence Permit as it facilitates their re-entry to the UK when they travel without their EEA or Swiss national spouse / unmarried partner and it assists them in proving their entitlement to work to prospective employers.
Someone who is not married to an EEA or Swiss national but can provide evidence of being in a durable relationship with an EEA or Swiss national (usually in the form of having cohabited with the EEA or Swiss national for at least 2 years in a relationship akin to marriage) can apply for an EEA Family Member Permit.