EEA – Bulgarian and Romanian citizens

This section explains Bulgarian and Romanian nationals’ right to live and work in the UK.

All EEA and Swiss nationals can enter and live in the UK without needing to apply for permission, if they can support themselves and their families in the UK without becoming an unreasonable burden on public funds. But Bulgarian and Romanian nationals may need to apply for permission before they can work in the UK.

If you want to work as an employee in the UK, you will normally need permission before you start work. You may need to obtain an accession worker card, or you can work under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) or the Sectors Based Scheme.

You do not need our permission to work in a self-employed capacity. However, you can apply for a registration certificate to confirm your right to work as a self-employed person in the UK, if you want to do this.

Registration certificate

When you have been working legally as an employee in the UK for 12 months without a break, you will have full rights of free movement and will no longer need permission to take work. You can then get a registration certificate confirming your right to live and work in the UK, although you do not need to do so.

If you are a student in the UK, you can take employment for up to 20 hours a week during term time and full-time during vacation periods from your course, but you must first obtain a registration certificate confirming that you are a student.

  • Work permits and accession worker cards

If you are a Bulgarian or Romanian national, you might need permission before you can work in the UK. Please check the UKBA website for more information.

  • Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme

This scheme allows Bulgarian or Romanian nationals to do short-term agricultural work in the UK. Please check the UKBA website for more information.

  • Sectors Based Scheme

This scheme allows Bulgarian and Romanian nationals to do low-skilled work in the UK’s food manufacturing sector. Please check the UKBA website for more information.

This text is an adapation of the contents of the UKBA website. Remember, immigration law is complex and subject to continuous change. The information provided here may be out of date, or just based on personal experience/knowledge. The use of these pages is therefore entirely at your own risk. Before applying for any type of visas, you should always seek information from the authorities direct via their official websites. You will find some useful website details on our Links page.

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