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EEA Family Permit

EEA Family Permit Explained

You can apply for an EEA family permit to come to the UK if you’re both:

  • from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • the family member or ‘extended’ family member of an EEA or Swiss national (excluding UK nationals)

There will be no change to the rights and status of EU nationals living in the UK, nor UK nationals living in the EU, while the UK remains in the EU.

There are other ways you may be eligible, for example:

  • with a ‘derivative right of residence’– you’re the carer of someone who has the right to be in the UK, the carer’s child, or the child of an EEA national who previously worked in the UK
  • if you can make a ‘Surinder Singh’ application after living in another EEA country with a British family member
  • with a ‘retained right of residence’ – you have the right to stay in the UK as the family member of an EEA national who has died, left the UK or is no longer your spouse or civil partner

You must be outside the UK to apply for an EEA family permit.

If you are unsure of your position or would like to ensure that your application is handled by a knowledgeable specialist, get in touch with one of our friendly team members now on 0203 384 4389 to find out exactly how we can assist you to get it right first time round, saving you time, money and the heartache of being refused.

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Further Information

What It Does

An EEA family permit makes it easier and quicker to enter the UK. You might not get a boarding pass and could experience major delays without one. 

You may be refused entry into the UK if you don’t have an EEA family permit.

How long you can stay

An EEA family permit is valid for 6 months. You can leave and enter the UK as many times as you need within that time.

Stay after your EEA family permit expires

You can stay in the UK after your permit expires if you:

  • are the family member of an EEA national
  • qualify for a ‘Surinder Singh’ application
  • have a retained right of residence
  • have a derivative right of residence

You can apply for a residence card card or derivative residence card to confirm your right of residence. You don’t have to apply but it will make it easier to prove your right to live and work in the UK.

‘Extended’ EEA family members

You must apply for a residence card if you’re the ‘extended’ family member of an EEA national and want to stay in the UK after your EEA family permit has expired.

Eligibility

The EEA citizen you’re joining must either:

  • be in the UK already
  • be travelling with you to the UK within 6 months of the date of your application

If they’ve been in the UK for more than 3 months they must either:

  • be a ‘qualified person’ (working, looking for work, self-employed, studying or self-sufficient)
  • have a permanent right of residence

Qualifying as a family member

You must be the EEA citizen’s spouse or civil partner, or related to them (or their spouse or civil partner) as their:

  • child or grandchild under 21 years old, or dependent child or grandchild of any age
  • dependent parent or grandparent

Family members who are adopted under an adoption order that is recognised in UK law are regarded the same as natural family.

Qualifying as an extended family member or unmarried partner

You can apply as an ‘extended’ family member’, for example a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, nephew or niece.

You must be able to show that you’re dependent on the EEA citizen or are a member of their household, or have a serious health condition and rely on them to care for you.

You can also apply as an unmarried partner if you can show that you’re in a lasting relationship with the EEA national.

Extended family members and unmarried partners aren’t guaranteed to get a permit. Your individual circumstances will be considered when you apply.

Students

You can apply as the family member of an EEA national student if you’re either the student’s:

  • spouse or civil partner
  • dependent child, or their spouse or civil partner’s dependent child

For students, children of all ages must be dependent on the EEA citizen.

You must apply as an extended family member if you’re otherwise related to an EEA national student and want a family permit.

Surinder Singh and other ‘rights of residence’

There are more eligibility requirements if you’re making a:

  • retained right of residence application
  • derivative right of residence application
  • Surinder Singh application

Documents you must provide

You must provide:

  • a valid passport
  • evidence of your relationship to your EEA family member, for example a marriage certificate, civil partnership certificate, birth certificate or proof that you’ve lived together for 2 years if unmarried
  • your family member’s valid passport or national identity card (or a certified copy if you can’t provide the original)
  • proof of your dependency if you’re dependent on your EEA family member

EEA family members

You must show that your EEA family member has a permanent right of residence or is one of the following if they’ve been in the UK for more than 3 months:

  • working, for example an employment contract, wage slips or a letter from an employer
  • self-employed (for example contracts, invoices or audited accounts with bank statements) and paying tax and National Insurance
  • studying, for example a letter from the school, college or university
  • financially independent, for example bank statements

Your family member must have full health insurance (comprehensive sickness insurance) if they’re studying or financially independent.

You’ll need to provide a certified translation of any documents that aren’t in English or Welsh.

Surinder Singh and other ‘rights of residence’

You must provide more documents if you’re making a:

  • retained right of residence application
  • derivative right of residence application
  • Surinder Singh application

Derivative Rights of Residence

You can apply for an EEA family permit if you have a ‘derivative right of residence’ as the:

  • primary carer of an EEA child in the UK who is financially independent
  • child of an EEA former worker and you’re currently in education in the UK
  • primary carer of a child of an EEA former worker and the child is currently in education in the UK
  • primary carer of a British child
  • primary carer of a British dependent adult
  • child of a primary carer who qualifies through one of these categories

As a ‘primary carer’, you have responsibility for the day to day care of a person, including making decisions about their education, health, and finances. You must be a family member or their legal guardian, and can be their main carer or share that responsibility with someone else.

Documents you must provide

You must provide:

  • a valid passport
  • 2 passport size colour photographs

You’ll also need to provide information about the person you care for, including proof:

  • that they’re dependent on you, such as court orders or details of care responsibilities
  • that they’re living in the UK, such as tenancy agreements, utility bills or bank statements
  • that children who are EEA nationals are financially independent and have full health insurance in the UK

Children of EEA nationals who used to work in the UK

You must show that:

  • you’re in education in the UK, for example a letter from the school
  • you were in the UK when your EEA national parent was working in the UK
  • you were in education in the UK at a time when your EEA national parent was also present in the UK

You’ll need to provide a certified translation of any documents that aren’t in English or Welsh.

Surinder Singh

You might be able to apply for an EEA family permit if you’ve lived in another EEA country with an eligible family member who’s a British citizen. This is known as making a ‘Surinder Singh’ application.

Your British family member must be one of the following:

  • your spouse (husband or wife) or civil partner
  • your parent or grandparent (or their spouse or civil partner) – you must also be under 21 years old or dependent on them
  • your child or grandchild (or their spouse or civil partner) – you must be dependent on them

This includes family members who were adopted under an adoption order that’s recognised in UK law.

Eligibility requirements

You and your British family member must prove that you:

  • meet the eligibility in the EEA country where you live now – if you want to come to the UK at the same time
  • met the eligibility while living together in another EEA country – if you want to join your British family member in the UK

Eligibility for you and your British family member

You must have genuinely made your home in another EEA country. Both of you must prove that:

  • it’s been your main residence or base for the ‘centre of your life’
  • you’ve lived there together
  • you’ve integrated there

Eligibility for your British family member

Your British family member must either have the right to permanent residence in the EEA country where you’ve lived together, or have been one of the following there:

  • working
  • self-employed
  • self-sufficient
  • studying

If they’ve been back in the UK for more than 3 months, they must also be working, looking for work, self-employed, self-sufficient or studying in the UK.

Documents you must provide

You must provide:

  • a valid passport
  • 2 passport size colour photographs
  • evidence of your relationship to your British family member, such as a marriage certificate, civil partnership certificate or birth certificate
  • your family member’s valid passport (or a certified copy if you can’t provide the original)
  • a list showing when you’ve been in the UK – include the dates you arrived and left
  • a list of any other UK visa or immigration applications you’ve made – include whether you applied from inside or outside the UK, and details of each visa or permission to stay if you were successful
  • a list showing any removals, deportations or other immigration penalties you’ve had in the UK

Both you and your British family member must provide documents showing that you’ve genuinely made your home in another EEA country. Include proof that you’ve:

  • lived there together – include your addresses, time spent living at each address and any proof of renting or buying a home
  • integrated there – for example proof of speaking the language, having children born or living there, or involvement in your local community

You must also provide proof that your British family member:

  • was working, self-employed, self-sufficient or studying in the EEA country where you’ve lived together
  • is working, looking for work, self-employed, self-sufficient or studying in the UK (if they returned more than 3 months ago)

Examples of proof include employer’s letters, wage slips, contracts, bank statements, proof of tax registration, or proof of enrolment and attendance for study.

You’ll need to provide a certified translation of any documents that aren’t in English or Welsh.

After you apply

You and your British family member can be asked to give more information or go to an interview.

Your application will be refused if it looks like you’ve only lived in another EEA country to gain entry to the UK by making a ‘Surinder Singh’ application.

Retained Rights of Residence

You can apply for an EEA family permit if you previously had a right to reside in the UK as the family member of an EEA national who either:

  • had permanent right of residence in the UK
  • was a ‘qualified person’ (a worker, student, self-employed person, self-sufficient person or someone looking for work) in the UK

You could have a retained right of residence if:

  • your, or another member of your family’s, marriage or civil partnership to that person has ended (with a divorce, annulment or dissolution)
  • that person has died and you had lived in the UK for at least 1 year before they died
  • you’re the child of an EEA national who has died or left the UK, or the child of their spouse or civil partner, or former spouse or civil partner, you were in education when that person died or left the UK, and you continue to be in education
  • you’re the parent and have custody of a child who has a retained right of residence because they’re in education in the UK

You must also meet other requirements to be eligible for a retained right of residence.

Documents you must provide

You must provide:

  • a valid passport
  • 2 passport size, colour photographs
  • evidence of your relationship to theEEAnational, such as a marriage certificate, civil partnership certificate, birth certificate or proof that you’ve lived together for 2 years if unmarried
  • proof of your family member’s identity and nationality, such as a passport, identity card or a previous family permit or residence card
  • proof that your family member had permanent residence or had been a ‘qualified person’ (a worker, student, self-employed person, self-sufficient person or someone looking for work) in the UK

You must also provide other documents if they’re relevant to your application. They must show proof that:

  • your, or another member of your family’s, marriage or civil partnership to the EEA national has ended, such as a divorce certificate
  • your EEA family member has died or left the UK, such as a death certificate
  • you, or a child in your custody, was in education when your family member died or left the UK and continues to be in education, such as a letter from the school
  • you have custody of a child of your family member, such as a court order
  • you or a family member were a victim of domestic violence, such as a injunction or social services report

You’ll need to provide a certified translation of any documents that aren’t in English or Welsh.

Additional requirements if you or your family member divorced the EEA national or ended a civil partnership with them

You can only apply if you were in the UK as the EEA national’s family member on the date the divorce was finalised or civil partnership was ended and one of the following applies:

  • the marriage or civil partnership lasted at least 3 years before legal proceedings began and the couple lived in the UK for at least 1 year before the divorce, annulment or dissolution was finalised
  • you (or the former spouse or civil partner of the EEA national) have custody of a child of the relevant EEA national
  • you (or the former spouse or civil partner of the EEA national) have access rights to a child of the relevant EEA national, provided the child is under 18 and a judge has ordered that access must take place in the UK
  • you, or a family member, have been a victim of domestic violence during the marriage or civil partnership, or there are other particularly difficult circumstances which justify retaining the right of residence

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