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Immigration rules for partners of British citizens who are from the European Economic Area or who are Swiss Nationals


Please note that this is not intended to be exhaustive immigration information. This is a brief overview of the main rules as published on the Home Office website.

EEA and Swiss nationals have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom. This is called the right of residence. They will only have the right of residence in the United Kingdom if:

  • They are an EEA or Swiss national; and
  • They are working in the United Kingdom; or
  • They are able to support themselves and their family in the United Kingdom without the help of public funds.

EEA and Swiss nationals will not need a visa or entry clearance.

Family and partners
If they have a right to live the in the United Kingdom, their family may join them. Family is defined as:

  • A spouse or civil partner;
    children or grandchildren who are under 21 years of age or who are  dependent; and
  • the parents or grandparents of them or their civil partner

If they are a student, only their civil partner or dependent children are entitled to a right of residence. If they are not in a civil partnership then they must be able to show that they are in a durable relationship with each other.

Family members or partners who are not EEA or Swiss nationals
If their family members or partner are not EEA or Swiss nationals and they are coming to live with them permanently or on a long-term basis, they will need to apply for an EEA family permit before coming to the United Kingdom. The permit is issued in the same manner as a visa.

EEA and Swiss nationals, and their partners/ family can work in the UK without needing a work permit. Nationals of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia or Slovenia will need to register under the Worker Registration Scheme. Nationals of Bulgaria or Romania must not work until given permission by the Home Office.

Permanent residence
Once they have lived in the United Kingdom for a continuous period of five years, they can apply for confirmation of permanent residence


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