Updated 8 months ago

Citizens from the EEA and the EU:

In order to live and work in the UK, citizens from the EEA and the EU do not require any visa or work permit. No prior job offer is needed and settlement in the UK is free. However, in order to benefit from the British welfare system, citizens from the EEA-EU need to apply for a resident card once settled in the country.

People coming from several european countries need extra authorizations or permits to live and work in the UK: workers from Bulgaria and Romania for instance need to apply for a work visa before settling in the UK. For more informations about work visa requirements for bulgarian and romanian workers, please visit the Home Office website.

Citizens from Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia or Slovenia intending to live and work in the UK for more than a month need to register with the Worker Registration Scheme. After a year of continuous employment, workers from the above mentioned countries will be allowed to live and work in the UK without further restrictions, and will be able to proceed with their resident card's application. Dependants will get their resident card upon completion of the first year of continuous employment of the working permit's holder.

In order to register at the Worker Registration Scheme, workers from eligible countries will need to fill in form EEA1 and pay the related fees (90 £). Workers will then be given a card and a certificate allowing them to work for the prescribed period of 1 year. If the worker should work for another employer, a new card and a new certificate must be issued. If the worker has several jobs at the same time, one card and certificate per job is required.

For morel information, visit the official website. Completed forms can be sent at the following address:

Work Permits WRS
PO Box 492
DH99 1WU

Or by courier at: 

UK Border Agency
Work Permits WRS
Millburngate House
DH99 1SA.


European citizens who wish to live and work in the Island of Man or in the Chanel Islands need to apply for a work permit.

Commonwealth citizens:

Commonwealth citizens may live and work in the UK under certain conditions. To find out more about this topic, please visit the Home Office website.

Citizens from outside the EEA and th EU:

Highly Skilled worker visa tier 1

From June 2008 onwards, non EEA-EU citizens can get a work visa without needing a sponsor within the framework of the Highly Skilled migration visa. As the name indicates, the Highly skilled migration visa is designed for skilled and qualified workers having prior professional experience in their own countries, owning higher degrees and speaking English fluently. This particular visa is designed for university lecturers, doctors etc.

In order to qualify, you need to get at least 75 points. Points are given according to your age, your higher education background, your level of spoken and written English, your former salary and years of experience in your home country. If you are young, experienced, educated with a good level of English, your chance of being selected will be high. If you meet all requirements, if you get 75 points and if you bring proofs of sufficient funds, you will get your work visa. Work visa – skilled worker - tier 2             

In order to get a work permit under the skilled worker visa tier 2, applicants must have a valid job offer and get support from a local sponsor prior to the visa application process. The employer in the UK must own a registered licence to sponsor you. The selection process is very similar to that of the Highly Skilled worker visa Tier 1. The visa is issued for 3 years plus one month. Once expired, you can ask for an extension of 2 years. Then, after 5 years in full employment in the UK, you may apply for the permanent residence visa in the UK.

Temporary workers:

Special dispositions apply for temporary workers. To qualify for a temporary work permit, you need first to get a valid job offer from an accredited employer, get a sponsor certificate and have a sufficient number of eligibility points. According to your personal situation and the type of position you are going to fill up, you need to apply for the appropriate visa (arts, sports, missionary, charity worker etc.)

For more information about temporary work visa, please visit the Home Office website.

The Working Holiday visa – Youth Mobility Scheme – Tier 5:

In the framework of the Youth Mobility Scheme Tier 5, citizens from Commonwealth countries, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Canada are allowed to live and work in the UK up to 2 years (only 12 months in employment are allowed). Applicants must be aged between 17 to 30, have a sponsor (their national government for instance), get a satisfactory number of eligibility points, have proofs of sufficient funds to sustain themselves in the country during their stay and own a valid return ticket to their home country. Fees apply for the visa. The procedure is described in details here.

  Good to know: 

Applicants to the Youth Mobility Scheme must imperatively leave the UK at the end of the visa period. Dependants of the visa holder will not be allowed to travel to the UK unless they simultaneously apply for a visa (provided they meet all the visa's requirements). Once in the UK, holders of a Youth Mobility Scheme visa can extend their stay in the country by applying for a work visa or a skilled migration visa.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.