I want to stay in the UK for 1 year and do some volunteer work e.g. plant trees or help out on a farm etc.

As to my situation, I’m from Switzerland and the country isn’t in EU, but it has many contracts with the EU like „the free movement regulations“ and others. So far, I didn't find any clear volunteer guidelines like those for EU citizens.

  • Which Visa is needed for the UK in this case? Is it even possible to volunteer as a Swiss citizen?

  • Is there a „you must wait 3 months“ rule involved?

  • Is it possible that a visa is getting affected or canceled by Brexit after there are new laws maybe in 3 - 12 months?

Every help would be very welcome!

  • 2
    Shouldn't you start by finding a place where you can volunteer? If they routinely accept foreign volunteers, they will know the procedure.
    – ugoren
    Oct 1, 2017 at 12:37
  • 1
    Sent already an e-mail to workaway.info, they gave me this answer back: "Please remember Workaway just posts the listings. It is the responsibility of the (host and) volunteer to make sure they are within the law, have the correct visa or permit and insurance."
    – AEOS7
    Oct 1, 2017 at 14:30

1 Answer 1


You do not need a visa. You can stay in the UK under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016, even though Switzerland isn't part of the EEA, thanks to an agreement between Switzerland and the EU.

This means that as long as you are working or studying or can prove that you are self sufficient you can stay for longer than three months. You can apply for a registration certificate to show that you've demonstrated this to the UK authorities, but it's not necessary. For most purposes, your Swiss passport or ID card will suffice.

The UK's public information page concerning this is at https://www.gov.uk/eea-registration-certificate.

I don't think that volunteering counts as working (but I'm not sure; it might), but a part time job does, so that's a possibility. The self-sufficiency route would also be appropriate.

If you're self sufficient (or a student), you should consider getting "comprehensive sickness insurance."

This is of course very likely to change when the UK leaves the EU, or possibly at some point thereafter. Another thing to consider is that the UK seems to be making life difficult for people who are in the country under these regulations, which might tip the scales in favor of trying to stay under the radar rather than applying for a registration certificate.

Most questions related to such an arrangement belong on Expatriates.

  • Thank you very much for your detailed answer, it helped me a lot!
    – AEOS7
    Oct 3, 2017 at 14:11

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