A Guide To The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006

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The Law Of... explaining EEA regulations

After Brexit, you might be unsure of your status in the UK and how the vote to leave the EU will affect you. Although there are currently no changes to the rights of EEA nationals who are living and working in the UK, immigration law is complex and can be difficult to digest. Our guide below briefly addresses some of the most frequently asked questions relating to immigration.

A Guide To The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006

What Are The EEA Regulations?

The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 set out the rights of European nationals, who are qualified persons – and their families – to enter, live, and work in the UK.

What Is A 'Qualified Person' Under The EEA Regulations?

A qualified person is an individual from the European Economic Area (EEA) who is allowed to live in the UK if they are:


Note that if you're an EEA national living in the UK as a student or a self-sufficient person, you – and any of your family members who are with you in the UK – must have comprehensive sickness insurance whilst you're in the country.

What Is A Residence Card?

If you're from outside the EEA and are the family member of – or are part of the extended family of – an EEA national, and want to settle in the UK you might be able to apply for a residence card.

A residence card allows you to remain in the UK for up to 5 years, and also:

  • Allows you to quickly and easily re-enter the country if you travel abroad
  • Proves to employers that you're legally allowed to work in the UK
  • Allows you to qualify for particular services/benefits

EEA nationals can also apply for a residence document, but there is no legal requirement for them to do so.

How Can I Apply For Permanent Residence In The UK?

If you're an EEA national and have continuously lived in the UK for at least 5 years as a qualified person, you can apply for a permanent residence card, which will allow you to live in the UK on a permanent basis. Additionally, if you have a family member who has lived with you for at least 5 years in the UK, they can also apply for permanent residence.

When Can I Apply For British Citizenship?

After you've lived in the UK for 5 years – or over – and have had at least 1 year of permanent residence, you can apply for British citizenship through a process known as naturalisation. If you’re married to a British citizen, you can apply for citizenship the day after you acquire your permanent residence.

How Can Simpson Millar Help Me?

If you're confused about your immigration status and want to know more about settling and working in the UK, our Immigration specialists will offer you clear, personalised advice and pinpoint the right type of legal service for you.


To find out how we could help you please make a no-obligation enquiry or call freephone: 0808 129 3320.




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