Nationals of countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland may be able to obtain a Registration Certificate. A Registration Certificate may be used as proof that they are entitled to live in another European country, including the UK, under European law. There is generally no requirement for European nationals to obtain a Registration Certificate before living or working in the United Kingdom. However, there may be circumstances in which having the Certificate may be useful to prove an immigrant’s status.
To qualify for a Registration Certificate an applicant must be exercising their EU Treaty rights to live in the UK – this will generally mean that they are working or studying in the UK or otherwise that they are financially self-sufficient.
Applying for a Registration Certificate
An application for a Registration Certificate is made using form EEA1, which is available to download from the UK Border Agency website. This form may also be used by the European or Swiss family members of the main applicant if they also wish to obtain a Registration Certificate.
Various documents must be submitted together with the application form:
- The original passport or identity card of the applicant or applicants.
- Documents which prove that the applicant is living in the UK under EU legal rights. These may be documents that prove that the applicant is employed, self-employed or studying in the UK.
- Marriage or civil partnership certificates or birth certificates to prove the family relationship between all applicants. Other documents may be supplied by those who are in a long-term relationship to prove that they live together – such as joint utility bills, bank account statements or tenancy agreements.
- Two passport photographs for each individual applicant who is included on the same form.
Special Rules for Nationals of Some European Countries
The nationals of some countries – including Poland, Estonia and the Czech Republic – may not be eligible for a Registration Certificate until they have been employed in the UK for a continuous period of 12 months. Nationals of Bulgaria and Romania are governed by separate rules and must obtain permission from the UK immigration authorities before coming to the UK to take up employment. Permission may not be required for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals who either do not wish to work in the UK or who are self-employed.
The nationals of countries to whom special rules apply may wish to obtain a Registration Certificate once they have satisfied those requirements. The Registration Certificate can then be used to prove that there are no longer any restrictions on their entitlement to work in the UK. A full list of the countries to which these restrictions apply is available from the UK Border Agency.
Residence Cards are similar to Registration Certificates, in that they are also used to provide proof of an entitlement to live in the UK under EU law. However, they apply to non-European family members of EEA or Swiss nationals. Residence Cards generally remain valid for five years.
Residence Cards may not be issued to the family members of nationals of the European countries to which additional requirements apply until those requirements have been satisfied. However, their family members may be able to obtain a family member residence stamp to show their entitlement to live in the UK under European Law. This will apply to the non-European family members of Bulgarian or Romanian nationals or to those who are required to complete 12 months’ employment in the UK before qualifying for a Registration Certificate.
Applying for a Residence Card
An application for a Residence Card is made using form EEA2. Similar documents must be supplied to those which are required for Registration Certificate applications. These will include original passports, documents which provide proof of family relationships and photographs of each individual applicant.