EEA-Swiss students content- test

Am I an EEA national?

You are a European Economic Area (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 which are similar to those of nationals of EEA countries. The information in this area of the website applies to both EEA and Swiss nationals.

Do I need to register to stay in the UK?

You are entitled to enter the UK freely 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 which meets the criteria below and you meet the conditions as set out below, you have the right of residence in the UK for as long as your course lasts.

You do not have to register or apply for any particular documents in order to stay in the UK. However, you can choose to apply for a registration certificate which confirms that you have a right of residence as a student. You might want to apply for a registration certificate if you have family members who are not themselves EEA or Swiss nationals, as this can make it easier for your family to apply for an EEA family permit or residence card. If you are a Bulgarian or Romanian national, you might have to apply for a registration certificate if you want to work in the UK.

If you are a Croatian national, you can apply for a student registration certificate on form CR1. For all other EEA nationals, apply on form EEA1. You will need to enclose the following with your application:

  • your passport or national identity card
  • evidence of your studies, for example, a current letter from your institution confirming your enrolment on a course. You must be studying, either part-time or full-time, at an institution which is:
    • publicly-funded OR
    • is 'otherwise recognised by the Secretary of State as an establishment which has been accredited for the purpose of providing such courses or training within the law or administrative practice of the part of the United Kingdom in which the establishment is located'
  • evidence that you can support yourself financially. This can be a bank statement, a document confirming the receipt of a grant or scholarship, or a declaration of sufficient funds.
  • evidence of comprehensive sickness insurance (see below).
  • two passport photographs of yourself.

Registration certificates can be issued immediately if you apply in person at the Home Office's Public Enquiry Office in Croydon. You must make an appointment in advance. However, there are very few slots available for EEA applications. Alternatively, you can apply by post. You can check how long applications are taking on the Home Office website. You can ask the Home Office to return your passport if you need to travel, but make sure that you allow plenty of time (at least two weeks) for the passport to be located and sent back to you before your trip. There is no charge for this application.

Medical treatment while you are in the UK

Most students are able to obtain a European Health Insurance card (EHIC) from their country of residence prior to coming to the UK. This card allows EEA nationals to get the same medical treatment, which is free to residents of the country they are visiting, without being charged. 

It is important that you obtain this card before you leave your country of residence.

You cannot apply for this card in the UK and without it you could be charged for using the NHS unless you have alternative, adequate medical insurance.

If you want to learn more about using your EHIC, use this app in 25 languages.

Every member state of the European Economic Area provides information about how to apply for an EHIC in that country.

What is comprehensive sickness insurance?

In order to show that you have a right of residence in the UK as a student, you have to show that you have comprehensive sickness insurance. The European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC) obtained from your country of residence is acceptable evidence of comprehensive sickness insurance, if your stay in the UK is to be temporary. Therefore, if applying on form EEA1 or CR1 using this card, you will also need to send a letter confirming that you intend to stay in the UK on a temporary basis. If your stay is to be permanent, or you are unable to get an EHIC card from your country of residence, you will need to obtain additional insurance. The UK government does not accept entitlement to the National Health Service as sufficient as evidence, so you will need to get the EHIC before you leave your country of residence, or obtain the adequate insurance.

Can I bring my 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, and you are coming to, or you are in, the UK as student, the following family members can come with you, or join you:

  • your husband or wife
  • your civil partner - this is a same-sex partner with whom you have a relationship that has been legally recognised. See Annex H of Chapter 8 of the Immigration Directorate Instructions for a list of non-UK civil partnerships that are recognised in the UK.
  • children who are dependent on you or on your spouse or civil partner.

If you want to bring other family members, for example, a co-habitee or parents, it is at the discretion of the UK Government. If you want your co-habitee to be with you, you need to show that you have been in a relationship 'akin to marriage' for at least two years. European Community (EC) law says that you just need to be in a 'durable relationship', without any minimum length - if you need to challenge the UK interpretation of 'durable relationship', seek legal advice. If you want to bring parents or other relatives, you need to show that they were members of your household or dependent on you in your home country, or that they are seriously ill and require your personal care.

If you are not in the UK as a student but as, for example, a worker, you can bring a wider range of family members with you under EC law, including grandchildren who are under 21 or dependent on you, and parents and grandparents who are dependent on you. Find out more about how the UK Government views the rights of non-EEA family members in Chapter 2 of its European Casework Instructions.

I am a Croatian national. What happened from 1 July 2013?

Croatia joined the EU on 1 July 2013. From this date, nationals of Croatia and their relevant family members were 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.

Before you start to work in the UK, you may need to obtain authorisation (unless you meet any of the exemptions). Please see our page EEA and Swiss students: Working during your studies

We strongly advise you to obtain comprehensive sickness insurance (see above), so that you are exercising your right to reside as a student according to current UK requirements.