EEA and Swiss students

European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss students have certain rights and freedoms without needing to register. It is important to know if you are an EEA or Swiss student and what you need to do.

EEA nationals

You are an EEA national if you are a citizen or national of one of the following countries. (If you have permanent residence in, but not citizenship of, any of these countries, you are not an EEA national.)

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are EEA member states, but they are not members of the European Union (EU).

Switzerland is not a member of the EU or the EEA. However, since 1 June 2002, Swiss nationals have had rights similar to those of nationals of EEA countries. The information in this area of the website applies to both EEA and Swiss nationals.

Find full details from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) or UKCISA.

Advice for EU students on the UK’s exit from the European Union

The UK is due to leave the EU in March 2019. If you are an EU student concerned about possible changes to residency rules, read the information and advice on this page.

You can also attend our daily drop-in advice sessions and speak to a Student Immigration Adviser or contact us through SAMIS online Student Service Helpdesk (University login details required).

Further information is also available from the UK Council for International Student Affairs.

Please note that negotiations between the UK and EU mean that the situation is subject to change. The information on this page is therefore based on the UK government’s official policy document, which outlines the UK’s offer to EU citizens.

Current advice (updated August 2017)

Current Home Office advice is that EU citizens living in the UK do not need to apply for a residence document to secure their status after the UK exits the EU.

The Home Office also intends to replace EU residence documentation with a scheme under UK law. The proposal outlines plans for a new ‘settled status’ and ‘temporary status’ which EU citizens, including those with residence documents, will also need to apply for within a specified period.

We highly recommend that you sign up for email updates to ensure you are informed of future requirements.

Comprehensive sickness insurance

The Home Office has recently reassured students who are temporarily in the UK and do not currently hold comprehensive sickness insurance (CSI) that they are not at risk of being removed from, or not being allowed to re-enter, the UK.

You do, however, need to have CSI in order to have an EU citizen’s right of residence as a student (this has not changed). The European health insurance card (EHIC) obtained from your country of residence is acceptable evidence of CSI, as long as you intend that your stay will be temporary. Advice on obtaining the EHIC is available from Student Services.

If you plan to make a Permanent Residence application as an EU citizen, or you are unable to get an EHIC from your country of residence, you will need to obtain separate insurance.

The University of Bath’s Student Immigration Service provides more information; full details are available from UKCISA.

The UK Government has also released a document explaining how UK Visas and Immigration assesses if an EEA national in a qualified person.

The information on this page is based on the current situation for EU students. Updated information will appear here when it is announced by the UK government.

Registering to stay in the UK

As an EEA national you can enter the UK and have an automatic right of residence for up to three months without needing to demonstrate that you are exercising a right of free movement, for example, to study or work. Once you are enrolled onto a course of study at an institution that meets the criteria, you have the right of residence in the UK for as long as your course lasts.

Sign up for email alerts from the government to ensure you are informed of future arrangements as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

If you have family members who are not EEA or Swiss nationals, you might want to apply for a registration certificate, as this can make it easier for your family to apply for an EEA family permit or residence card.

Find full details from UKVI or UKCISA.

Working in the UK

All EEA and Swiss national students can work in the UK.

However, if you are a Croatian national you might be subject to the Worker Authorisation Scheme.

Studying in the UK as a Croatian national

Croatia joined the European Union on 1 July 2013. This means that from this date, nationals of Croatia and their relevant family members are no longer subject to immigration control in the UK. You will have an initial right of residence for three months and after that you will need to be here as a student, worker, self-employed person or self-sufficient person or the relevant family member of any of these.

If you are here with student immigration permission (either Tier 4 or pre-Tier 4), you will be able to stay here beyond the expiry date of your immigration permission without needing to make an immigration application.

Working in the UK as a Croatian national

You’ll need to apply for a yellow registration certificate if you want to work while you study and you will be restricted to 20 hours a week in term time unless you’re doing a placement. Find out more on the UKVI website.

We strongly recommend that you get comprehensive sickness insurance, so that you are exercising your right to reside as a student according to current UK requirements.

Bringing family to the UK

If your family members are also EEA or Swiss nationals, they can come to the UK in the same way as you, without restriction.

If your family members are not EEA or Swiss nationals, they may need to apply for an EEA family permit before they can come to the UK. This permit is similar to a visa. If you are a student, only your husband, wife, or civil partner and dependent children have a right of residence.

EEA or Swiss family members working in the UK

Family members who are EEA or Swiss nationals can work in the UK.

If your family member is a Croatian national, they may, in some circumstances, be required to obtain authorisation before commencing work. Visit the UKVI website for more information.

Non-EEA family members working in the UK

If you are allowed to work, your family member who is not an EEA or Swiss national can also work in the UK.

They will need to prove to an employer that they have the right to work by applying for a residence document from UKVI.

If you are a Croatian national, visit the UKVI website for information on applying for permission for your family members to work.

In all other cases, your family member can apply for a residence card on form EEA2.

Further information can be found on the UKCISA website.