Information for University employees from EU and EEA countries

UPDATE 26th June 2017: The government have announced their proposal regarding the status of EU citizens in the UK post Brexit. The statement can be read here and further information is being updated on the government website, where you can also sign up for alert emails. There is also a shorter factsheet of their proposals. 

This page sets out some guidance for those wishing to consider applying for a registration certificate, confirmation of permananet residency or British Citizenship.

In July and September 2016 we ran workshops for employees who have lived in the UK for a longer period who wanted to find out more about applying for Permanent Residence and British Citizenship.

In January, April and May 2017 we have run workshops specifically designed to help employees complete the application for confirmation of permanent residency.

We appreciate that this information will not be applicable to all employees from EEA countries and we wish to reassure our colleagues that the senior management of the University will continue to work with the higher education sector to encourage the Government to address your concerns at the earliest opportunity.

Please continue to send us your questions and suggestions on how we can support you to humanresources@exeter.ac.uk.

Employees of the University who are nationals of states within the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. The EEA states are all of the countries in the European Union, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

The University wishes to reassure its employees who are citizens of EEA states that there will be no immediate change to their immigration status. Until the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, which will take several years, you will continue to have the right to live and work in the UK.

Employees who have lived in the UK for a longer period may be able to apply for Confirmation of Permanent Residence and British Citizenship. You must obtain Permanent Residence before you can apply for British Citizenship.

As an EEA or Swiss national, you are deemed to automatically acquire Permanent Residence in the UK after living here for five continuous years in line with the European Union laws relating to free movement rights that were in force during the five year period.

In summary, you automatically acquire Permanent Residence in the UK after living here for five continuous years as a Qualified Person. A qualified person is a:

  • Worker
  • Jobseeker
  • Self-employed person
  • Self-sufficient person (plus having comprehensive sickness insurance)
  • Student (plus having comprehensive sickness insurance)

So, for example, you will automatically acquire Permanent Residence in the UK if you lived here for 3 years as a student (provided you had comprehensive sickness insurance) followed by two years in employment.

Permanent Residence is the equivalent to Indefinite Leave to Remain. This means that there are no restrictions attached to your leave in the UK and you are free to exit and enter as you wish, provided you are not out of the country for more than 2 years at which point Permanent Residence is lost.

Additional information

View Home Office guidance (PDF) about who qualifies as an EEA national.

Comprehensive sickness insurance is 

  • Insurance that covers the costs of the majority of medical treatment they may receive in the UK.
  • Policy might contain certain exemptions but must cover medical treatment in the majority of circumstances
  • Does not include:
    • Cashback health schemes (e.g. dental, optical, prescription charges)
    • Travel insurance policies
    • Access to the NHS (even though EEA nationals
      are still permitted to use the NHS)

As evidence you should provide one of the following for the entire relevant period:

  • a comprehensive private medical insurance policy document
  • a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) (formerly form E111) issued by an EEA Member State (not the UK)
  • form S1 (formerly E106, E109, E121)
  • form S2 (formerly E112)
  • form S3

If you do not yet have 5 years living in the UK for five continuous years as a Qualified Person, you may wish to apply for a Registration Certificate.

It is not necessary to have a Registration Certificate to live and work in the UK but it may help if you subsequently apply for confirmation of Permanent Residence. This document will be valid from the date it is issued.

An application for a Registration Certificate costs £65. The University will not reimburse this fee.

If your application is successful, you must also provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) at a cost of £19.20

If you need any documents from the University to support your application, please contact humanresources@exeter.ac.uk

Additional information

View the Checklist - Registration Certificate to check you have all the relevant documents needed to apply for a registration certificate.

Form EEA(QP) - Form for an EEA or Swiss national to apply for a registration certificate to confirm the right to live in the UK as a qualified person:

Guidance notes for the EEA (QP) form

You can now apply for a registration certificate online, but only for yourself.

Form EEA(FM) - Form for a family member of an EEA or Swiss national in the UK to apply for a registration certificate or residence card:

Guidance notes for the EEA(FM) form

You automatically acquire Permanent Residence in the UK after living here for five continuous years as a Qualified Person (please see the above section on what a qualified person is). You do not need to apply for a document (Residence Card) which confirms that you have Permanent Residence but you may wish to do so and this may become necessary in the future, dependent on the outcome of the negotiation on the UK’s exit from the EU.

An application for a document (Residence Card) certifying permanent residence costs £65. The University will reimburse the cost of your application. This payment will be made through the payroll and will be taxable.

Claim form for reimbursement of fee for confirmation of Permanent Residence PD129 Permanent Residency Claim Form(.doc).

If you need any documents from the University to support your application, please contact humanresources@exeter.ac.uk

Additional information

View our Permanent Residence Checklist to check you have all the relevant documents needed to apply for permanent residency.

View more information about applying for confirmation of Permanent Residence on the Government website.

Form EEA(PR) - Form for an EEA or Swiss national, a non-EEA or non-Swiss family member of an EEA or Swiss national, to apply for a document certifying permanent residence or permanent residence card in UK.

Guidance notes for the EEA(PR) form

Draft PR(EEA) Cover Letter to use when applying for confirmation of Permanent Residence.

You can now apply for confirmation of permanent residency online, for yourself and close family members (if applying at the same time).

The process is not wholly online as you have to print out and send the form in with supporting documents. There is an online video which outlines the pros and cons of this service available. Please note that this is not a government or University endorsed web site.

There is also a European passport return service available with the online process only. Click for details of the Devon office.There is not currently a Cornwall office.

You must obtain confirmation of Permanent Residence before you can apply for British Citizenship. You will need to quote the reference number of the Biometric Residence Card you are issued with as confirmation of Permanent Residence in the application form for British citizenship.

If you are an EEA national and have been living in the UK for 6 or more years you could be eligible to make an application to be naturalised and acquire British Citizenship.

In summary, you must have been in the UK for 6 or more years, including at least one year where you had Permanent Residence. You must also meet the residence requirements which include an assessment of your absences from the UK and where you intend to live after making the application.

You will need to pass the Life in the UK Test before you apply for British Citizenship. You can book this online at least 7 days in advance. It currently costs £50. There is a test centre in Exeter.

You may also need to pass an approved English Language Test unless you have an approved degree taught or researched in English or you are a citizen of a majority English speaking country. Check the Government website for details.

The current cost of an application for British Citizenship is £1,236. The £50 for the Life in the UK is additional to this and, if your application is successful, you must also provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) at a cost of £19.20. (These costs will not be reimbursed by the University.)

You can arrange for your application to be checked by the Devon Registration Service (at a cost of £75). Unfortunately this service is not available in Cornwall, but the service in Devon is open to any applicant for British Citizenship, irrespective of where they live.

If you need any documents from the University to support your application, please contact humanresources@exeter.ac.uk

Additional information

You can find more information and check your eligibility to apply on the Government webpages.

Dual citizenship

While dual citizenship is allowed in the UK, some EU countries do not accept dual nationality.

In all cases, you should check the specific rules that apply in your own country before applying for dual nationality.

We have had a number of questions from colleagues who are citizens of EU/EEA countries about their children who were born in the UK. It is possible that they may have automatically acquired British Citizenship at birth, depending on when they born, as follows:

  • A child born in the UK before 2 October 2000 to an EEA parent will be a British citizen if the parent was exercising EC Treaty Right at the time of birth
  • A child born in the UK between 2 October 2000 and 30 April 2006 to an EEA national will only be a British citizen if the parent had permanent residence to remain in the UK at the time of birth
  • A child born in the UK to an EEA national after 30 April 2006 will be a British citizen if their parent had been in the UK exercising a Treaty Right for more than five years so has Permanent Residence

The child of an EEA national who did not become a British citizen at birth may have an entitlement to be registered as a British citizen if the parent has become settled in the UK, i.e. has acquired permanent residence in the UK.
You can register your child as a British citizen using form MN1.

Additional information

  • Form MN1 - Application for registration of a child under 18 as a British citizen
  • Guide MN1 - A guide about the registration of children under 18

Frequently Asked Questions

These are the Frequently Asked Questions that have been asked at the workshops on applying for Residency and British Citizenship.

Legal disclaimer

Important: This note is provided for information only and should not be taken as legal advice or relied upon as such. The information and commentary does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. You should seek specific legal advice on your personal circumstances if required and please note that the University is unable to provide personal immigration advice.

We hope that you have found this information helpful. We are interested to hear from you on how we can provide further support to our employees from EEA nationals. Please email your suggestions to humanresources@exeter.ac.uk