EU nationals may enter the UK and reside for up to three months from the date of entry, provided that they do not become a burden on the social assistance system in the UK. EU nationals wishing to stay beyond three months can only do so where they are exercising a Treaty right. Exercising Treaty rights in this context means they must be working, self-employed, self-sufficient or a student, or the family member of an EU national who is exercising a Treaty right.
These requirements are set out in Directive 2004/38/EC (often referred to as ‘the Free Movement Directive’). This EU Directive applies to all EU Member States. The Directive is currently implemented in the UK through the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016.