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,
Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia,
Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway,
Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia,
Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United
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
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
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 Croatian national, you can apply for a student registration certificate on form CR1. For all other EEA nationals, apply on form EEA(QP). 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
- evidence of comprehensive sickness insurance for you and your dependants (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. The fee for either application is £65.
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
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. If you have lost or forgotten your EHIC, you may be able to obtain a 'provisional replacement certificate'. This document is equivalent to the European Health Insurance Card. The website of the European Commission says:
It acts as a replacement if the European Health Insurance Cardholder has lost or forgotten his Card, or if the sickness insurance institution is unable to issue the applicant with a European Health Insurance Card prior to his departure. It has the same value as the European Health Insurance Card.
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, and am I required to obtain it?
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 (CSI). Family members of students are now also required to obtain CSI. Therefore, if you are in the UK on this basis, it is very important that you obtain CSI as soon as possible. If you make an application on the basis of this right, and this application received by the Home Office before the 22 June 2015, you will not be required to show evidence of CSI. However, you will be required to show evidence of CSI if your application is received by the Home Office on or after this date. In addition, you will only acquire the right of permanent residence, if you have obtained CSI from 22 June 2015. Information about the requirement for family members to obtain CSI and the transitional measures is contained in Home Office guidance.
The European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC) obtained from your country of residence is acceptable evidence of CSI, if your stay in the UK is to be temporary. Therefore, if applying on form EEA(QP) or CR1 using this card, you will also need to send a
letter (called a 'statement of intent in the application form) confirming that you do not intend to stay in the UK permanently. 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
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.