Currently, citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) can live and work freely in the UK. This may change however with Britain leaving the EU due to Brexit.
If you are from the UK and want to see what options will be available to you after Britain leave the UK, use our smart wizard and when you get your results, click on the button that allows you to toggle between being a member of the EU and not being a member of the EU.
Here are some of the ways to live in the UK if you are a citizen of a non-EEA country:
Through your family
- If your partner or spouse is a citizen or permanent resident of the United Kingdom, you are probably eligible for residency. If your spouse is a citizen, you can apply for citizenship after living together in the UK for a period of 3 years.
- If one or more of your parents was born in the UK and was a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies when you were born or adopted and you were a Commonwealth Citizen on the 31st December 1982, you can apply for Right of Abode to the UK. This gives you the right to live and work in the UK without any immigration restrictions.
- If one of your parents is a British citizen then there is a high likelihood that you may be eligible for citizenship (see the next section). If not, there are other ways of getting a family visa
- You can apply for an ancestory visa if one or more of your grandparents was born in the UK, you are over 17 and a citizen of a Commonwealth country.
- If one or more of your grandparents was born in what is today the Republic of Ireland, you are over 17 and a citizen of a Commonwealth country, you may be able to apply for British residency. The birthdate of your grandparent needs to be before 31st March 1922.
- See the citizenship section below for more information on residency or citizenship based on your descent.
Work and Business Visas
There are numerous types of work visas available in the UK which can be viewed here. Here is a summary however of the more common visas:
- You can be sponsored by a company to work in the UK.
- Intra-company transfer visa is for those who have been transferred to the UK by their international company.
- Exceptional Talent visa is available to those who are proven or promising talent in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts.
- There are a number of temporary work visas available (Tier 5 visas)
- If you want to setup or run a business in the U.K. you may be eligible for a Tier 1 - Entrepreneur visa
If you invest £2,000,000 in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies, you can apply for a UK Tier 1 Investment visa.
You can apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa if you have access to £200,000 in investment funds to invest in your own business or startup and you can prove that the money is either:
- your own
- made available to you by other people (‘third parties’), such as a spouse, partner or investor
- in a joint account with your spouse or partner but only if they aren’t applying for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.
The funds must be held in the UK if you’re applying for leave to remain.
The required investment amount can be reduced to £50,000 if you have access to investment funds from one or more of the following:
- a UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition endorsed by the Department for International Trade (DIT)
- a UK government department making funds available for the purpose of setting up or expanding a UK business
- a venture capital firm registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
- You have membership of approved startup incubator or accelerator
- If you can prove an annual income of £25,000 for you and your spouse, you are over 60 years of age and have a connection to the UK then you can apply for leave to remain as a retired persons of independent means.
Work holiday visa
- If you are between the ages of 18-30 and from certain countries, you may be eligible under the Working Holiday Maker programme.
- There are many types of student visas available in the UK to study at schools and universities.