Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

What is an EEA country? What is an EFTA country?

The term EEA refers to the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement signed January 1, 2004 between the European Commission (EC), its EU member states, and three countries that wished to participate in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) but not assume full responsibility of EU membership. The EFTA countries are Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Technically, EFTA countries are non-EU countries. However, the agreement gives them the EU four fundamental pillars of freedom (i.e. freedom of movement of goods, persons, services and capital) and the right to be consulted by the EC, although they do not have the right to vote.

Two EFTA countries, Norway and Iceland, are also Schengen countries.

Switzerland was once an EFTA country, but has since opted out and entered a bilateral agreement with the EU that essentially gives citizens the same four pillars listed above. It is technically a non-EU country and will fully enter Schengen starting March 2009, although land/border checks stopped December 12, 2008.

* The European Commission once had a wonderful article “European Economic Area (EEA) – Country Approach” on this topic, but it was removed. A government website in Denmark has a similar one on offer, which I recommend, called “What are EFTA and EEA?

Related posts

Getting EU citizenship, passports, visas, driver’s licenses and permits
Current EU member states
Current Schengen countries

* Article last updated on January 14, 2012

11 Comments »

  Muhammad wrote @ September 6th, 2012 at 18:30

Hi
its really very very helpful site.you are doing very well job.
Bless you..

Please let me know that if I have citizenship of Bulgaria..then can I live and work in the UK or not?
Or if I have any EU member’s citizenship then I go to work and live in the UK without any visa or not?
Please Explain me briefly.
thanks.

Kat Reply:

You need to inquire directly with the UK Border Agency and read the immigration information on its website at: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/

  Austin wrote @ November 15th, 2012 at 04:28

You are very accurate in the information you post. Well done.
Please I would like to know the requirements to import fishery products into Norway.

Please send answer to my email as indicated above.

Kat Reply:

As stated in ‘Comments, Questions and Contacting Me,’ I do not provide free personal consultation or email readers. Please contact the port authority and relevant ministries for information.

Thank you for your kind words, and good luck.

  Zakir wrote @ May 31st, 2013 at 15:44

This is very informative site. I am from Bangladesh an IT professional. Would like to request to let me know, what i need to do for imigration from Bangladesh to Switzerland. Is it possible ? If yes ,then let me know the way.

Kat Reply:

Inquire at the Swiss embassy in Bangladesh or check the official website: http://www.bfm.admin.ch/bfm/en/home.html

Be prepared to speak, read and write German.

  Cristina wrote @ June 15th, 2013 at 05:54

Ciao, vorrei sapere se l’Ecuador é un paese dell’EFTA o no? Sto tornando in Italia e ho affittato una macchina ma nos so se devo avere la patente internazionale o no. Grazie

Kat Reply:

Ecuador is NOT an EFTA country. You need an international driver’s permit to rent a car in Italy.

  Olafur wrote @ June 18th, 2013 at 21:28

I am citizen of an EFTA country and Schengen country.

I need to go to England and wanted to take my Nigerian wife with me but now I am told my wife needs visa as England is not a Schengen country? (My wife is a resident of Spain and we have a (Libro de Familia). But England is an EFTA country and I come from an EFTA country does my wife still need visa?

Kat Reply:

Being a resident and spouse is often not enough.

You did not provide enough information for me to help you, and I’m an expert on Greece not the UK. You need to contact the UK embassy nearest you to inquire or the UKBA directly: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/

  Vitaliy wrote @ June 2nd, 2014 at 15:59

Your comment/question was transferred to article, “Greek national ID card/taftotita.”

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