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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Technical Manual

TCTM02087A - Entitlement: residence rules - right to reside: right to reside for nationals of Croatia (A2 nationals)

Right to reside for nationals of Croatia


The Treaty establishing the European Community


Regulation (EEC) 1612/68, Articles 1 to 6


Council Directive 2004/38/EC


Treaty of Accession of Croatia done at Brussels on 5 December 2011 – Article 2


The Act of Accession – Annex V


The Accession of Croatia (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2013


Important Note: Worker Authorisation for Croatian nationals started on 1 July 2013 and ended on 30 June 2018.

This means:

  • Croatian national claimants are not required to be in authorised employment if their award period starts on or after 1 July 2018.

On 1 July 2013, Croatia joined the EU. Under a derogation from the Treaty of Amsterdam with this country, Member States that were members before 1 July 2013 are allowed to restricted access to their labour markets for up to five years. In May 2013, the Government announced the conditions under which Croatian nationals would be allowed to work in the UK. From 1 July 2013, Croatian nationals who want to take up employment in the UK will generally need to obtain a worker authorisation document. The document must be issued by before the Croatian national starts work.

During the accession period, an Croatian national subject to worker authorisation who is seeking employment in the United Kingdom, shall not be treated as a jobseeker and shall be treated as a worker, only in so far as it gives him or her a right to reside and only during a period in which he or she holds an accession worker authorisation document and is working in accordance with conditions set out in that document.


This authorisation document is either:

•          A passport, or other travel document, endorsed before 1 July 2013 to show that the holder has leave to remain in the United Kingdom, subject to a condition restricting their employment in the United Kingdom to a particular employer.


If the period of leave to remain expires; or the document holder ceases working for the employer, or in the employment specified in the passport/travel document, for a period in time that exceeds 30 days in total, that document ceases to be a valid accession worker authorisation document;


•          A worker authorisation registration certificate endorsed with a condition restricting the holder’s employment to a particular employer and authorised category of employment.

If the certificate expires, is revoked, or the document holder ceases working for the  30 days in total, that document ceases to a valid accession worker authorisation document.

A Croatian national who has worked legally and without interruption for a period of 12 months (gaps between work must not exceed 30 days in total) is entitled to full free movement rights and is no longer subject to worker authorisation.


Croatian nationals not subject to Worker Authorisation are:


•          the self-employed;

•          Croatian nationals who, on 30 June 2013, had leave to enter or remain in the UK under the Immigration Act 1971 without restriction on their employment;

•          Croatian nationals who were legally working in the UK on 30 June 2013 and had been legally working without interruption for 12 months at that date;

•          Croatian nationals who were working legally and without interruption, for a period of 12 months, falling wholly, or partly, after 30 June 2013;

•          Croatian nationals who are also citizens (dual nationals) of the UK, Switzerland, or another EEA country, other than Croatia;

•          Croatian nationals who are the spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner of a person, or child under 18 of a person who has leave to enter or remain in the UK under the 1971 Act and that leave allows them to work in the UK;

•          Croatian nationals who are the spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner of a national of the UK, or a person who is settled in the UK;

•          Croatian national who are during any period a member of a mission or other person mentioned in section 8(3) (member of a diplomatic mission, the family member of such a person, or a person otherwise entitled to diplomatic immunity) of the 1971 Act, other than a person who, under section 8(3A) (conditions of membership of a mission) of that Act, does not count as a member of a mission for the purposes of section 8(3);

•          Croatian nationals who are exempt from all or any of the provisions of the 1971 Act by virtue of an order made under section 8(2) (exemption for persons specified by order) of that Act;

•          Croatian nationals with a permanent right of residence under regulation 15 of the EEA Regulations;

•          Croatian nationals who during any period is a highly skilled person and holds an EEA registration certificate issued in accordance with regulation 7 that includes a statement they have unconditional access to the United Kingdom labour market;

•          Croatian nationals during any period in which they are in the United Kingdom as a student and either –

(a) hold an EEA registration certificate that includes a statement that they are a student who may work in the United Kingdom whilst a student, in accordance with the condition set out in the ‘Note’ below and complies with that condition; or

(b), has leave to enter or remain under the 1971 Act as a student and is working in accordance with any conditions attached to that leave.


Note: The condition referred to in (a) is that the student shall not work for more than 20 hours a week unless they –

(a) are following a course of vocational training and are working as part of that training; or,

(b) are working during their vacation.

•          Croatian nationals who cease to be a student at the end of their course of study for a period of four months, beginning with the date on which their course ends, provided they hold an EEA registration certificate that was issued to them before the end of the course, that includes a statement that they may work during that period.

•          Croatian nationals who are providing services in the UK on behalf of an employer who is not established in the UK (a posted worker).


Croatian nationals, who are exercising EU Treaty rights as a student, a self-employed or self-sufficient person may, if they wish, seek a European Union Registration Certificate from the Home Office confirming their status. In particular, Croatian students studying in the UK can work up to 20 hours per week providing they hold a registration certificate confirming they are an EEA national exercising their Treaty right as a student and are enrolled at an approved college on the Register of Education Providers maintained by the Department for Education and Skills.