UK Immigration - ECAA Visa

ECAA stands for European Community Association Agreement. This special scheme is also known as European Economic Area Visa, and it is specially design for nationals of countries that are a part of the European Community Association Agreement. Presently, this refers to nationals of Romania and Bulgaria.

Immigration under the ECAA visa scheme would mean that a candidate can live and work in the UK by starting a business in any sector or industry, of any size.


Benefits of applying for an ECAA visa are as follows:

  • Unlike the other UK business visas, for the ECAA visa scheme, no specific investment is required.
  • Unlike the entrepreneur visa, the innovator visa, and the investor visa, candidates applying for an ECAA visa are in no obligation to create jobs within the United Kingdom.
  • An ECAA visa offers complete freedom of choice in the area and extent of the business created, and one does not require points based assessment in order to qualify
  • Holders of European Economic Area visas do not require a UK work permit visa; however, they must not engage in business activity or employment outside their business and must work full time in running the enterprise.


ECAA visas are issued for an initial period of two years. An extension for three more years can be applied for once the initial term is expired. However, the visa holder is required to demonstrate that his or her business has progressed according to the projections in their original business plan. A further few criteria have to be met as well. These are listed below:

  • Applicants must demonstrate that they have been successfully supporting themselves and any dependants during the first two years without recourse to public finds.
  • Applicants must be actively involved in the day-to-day running and promotion of the business.
  • The business in question must still be in existence with sufficient funds to continue operations.

Once the ECAA visa is extended, a visa holder can apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK after completing five years of stay within the country. An ECAA visa holder can even apply for citizenship, provided they meet the required criteria for British naturalization.

Visa Eligibility

Applicants are required to fulfill certain eligibility criteria if they wish to migrate to the UK with an ECAA visa. These are listed as follows:

  • Applicants must be a citizen of Bulgaria or Romania.
  • Applicants must work solely in the business described in their business plan. It is permissible to trade as a limited company, a partnership or as an individual. In the case of limited companies, applicants must have a controlling interest in the business.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate sufficient funds to support themselves and any dependents while in the UK until the business becomes profitable.
  • Applicants must be able to present and implement a viable business plan and a projected balance sheet detailing profit and loss expectations, assets, stock, and expenses as well as evidence of their relevant qualifications and work experience.


ECAA visa can lead to permanent settlement within the UK; therefore, this visa scheme allows spouse and dependent migration. Candidates entering the country can apply to become permanent residents in future provided their business proposal is carried out successfully. Family immigration is therefore permitted.

Spouse or unmarried partner of the visa holder can also undertake employment like a marriage visa or De Facto visa holder, and dependents are afforded the same rights to education and healthcare as British citizens.

At Vmake Visas, our immigration counselors offer immigration law related information and help each applicant to pursue the right path according to their qualifications and experience. We can manage every aspect of your relocation to the UK, from application forms to physically relocating, and a range of other services upon arrival in the UK.

Your First Step to Successful Immigration to UK

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