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EEA Family Permit Applicant Advice

With an EEA Family Permit, you can join an EEA family member in the UK and gain the right to work and study in the UK for up to six months. During this time, you can also enter and leave the country without restriction. Successful applicants can avoid delays at passport control or even the risk of refused entry.

It is important that you take care when completing the online application form and ensuring you satisfy the eligibility requirements. Failure to complete the form correctly may result in a rejected application.

Importantly, EEA family permits will no longer be valid after 30 June 2021 and no new applications will be accepted. Family members should instead consider options such as the EUSS family permit if you are a close family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020.

 

What is the EEA family permit?

The EEA Family Permit allows close family members of EEA nationals living in the UK to accompany them to the UK or join them at a later point. Close relatives include siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews or nieces.

To qualify for an EEA Family Permit, you must come from outside the EEA and be related to your UK-based family member in accordance with certain conditions.

The EEA Family Permit is valid for six months. During this time, you can enter and leave the UK as many times as you wish.

Your EEA national family member must have full health insurance (comprehensive sickness insurance) if they are studying or financially independent.

 

Who can apply for an EEA family permit?

You may be eligible for an EEA Family Permit on the basis that you are a close family member or a dependant family member of an EEA national living in the UK. The relationship must have started by 31 December 2020.

You may also qualify if your relative is not yet living in the UK but is planning to enter the UK with you, within six months of your permit application.

To be considered for a UK family permit, you must be related to your UK-based family member as their:

  • Unmarried partner
  • Civil partner or spouse
  • Child or grandchild under 21
  • Dependant child or grandchild of any age
  • Dependant parent or grandparent or

Note that unmarried partners must be able to prove they are in a relationship and have been living together as if married, for at least two years.

In a change to the rules, ‘extended’ family members of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen can no longer qualify for an EEA family permit.

It may also be possible to obtain an EEA Family Permit if one of the following conditions apply to your situation:

  • You qualify for ‘retained right of residence’. This may apply if you previously had the right to live in the UK with an EEA family member who has since left the UK, died, or separated from you as a civil partner or spouse.
  • You qualify for ‘derivative right of residence’. This may apply if you are the child of an EEA national who no longer works in the UK, the carer of a person living in the UK, or the child of that carer.
  • You are eligible to make a ‘Surinder Singh’ application. This may apply if you have lived with a UK national family member in another EEA country for more than one year.

 

Family member requirements

The family member you are seeking to join in the UK must also meet certain eligibility requirements for your EEA Family Permit application to be successful.

As mentioned previously, your family member must already be in the UK by 31 December 2020, they must either be a ‘qualified person’, have been granted permanent residence.

To be considered a ‘qualified person’ your family member must meet one of the following criteria:

  • They are in employment
  • They are self-employed and earning enough to pay national insurance and tax
  • They are studying
  • They have the means to be financially independent

If your family member qualifies as a student or a financially independent person, they must have comprehensive health insurance.

 

Family permit application & supporting documents

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

As part of your EEA Family Permit application, you are required to prove your dependency if you are dependent on your EEA family member. This includes:

  • Your 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 have lived together for 2 years if unmarried
  • Your family member’s valid passport or national identity card (or a certified copy if you are unable to provide the original)
  • Evidence that your family member has permanent right of residence or is a ‘qualified person’ 
  • Proof that your eligible family member has full health insurance, if they are studying or financially independent

 

How long is an EEA family permit valid for?

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.

An EEA Family Permit for the non-EEA family member is usually issued for a period of 5 years, after which the non-EEA family member can make an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (also known as ‘ILR’ or ‘permanent residence’).

 

How much does an EEA family permit cost?

The EEA family permit application is free.

 

Staying in the UK after 30 June 2021

It is no longer possible to apply for a UK residence card. After 30 June 2021, any existing residence cards will no longer be valid.

To remain in the UK after 30 June, you would need to apply for EU settled status, on the basis you:

  • are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and you were living in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • are a close family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, and you were both living in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • are an ‘extended’ family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and you have a UK residence card, or you applied for one by 31 December 2020
  • are the family member of a British citizen – you must have lived with them in the EU, EEA or Switzerland, and they must have been working, studying or self-sufficient in the country
  • have ‘retained rights of residence’ – for example if you were previously married to an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and you were living in the UK by 31 December 2020

 

Visa options for relatives of UK citizens

Non-EEA family members of a UK citizen or person who has been granted ‘indefinite leave to remain’ may be eligible to apply for a different type of UK visa to secure a longer term stay.

Two common types of UK family visa are:

  • UK Spouse or partner visa: You may apply for this visa if your spouse is a UK citizen or person with settled status in the UK. This visa is dependant on applicants living full-time with their UK-based spouse. Applicants may request a visa period of two and a half years, extending this period for a further two and a half years once the visa has expired. You will then be eligible to apply for settled status, having lived in the UK for five years.
  • UK Fiancé visa: You may apply for this visa if your fiancé is a UK citizen or has settled status in the UK. To qualify, you must have met your fiancé previously and must marry them within six months of the visa being granted. The initial period for this visa is six months. Once you are married, you may apply for a UK Marriage Visa.

 

Need assistance?

DavidsonMorris is a leading UK immigration law firm. Our legal team will provide you with a professional, friendly, reliable service to help you proceed with the most appropriate route for your circumstances and to avoid any issues or delays with your application. For support with your family permit application, contact us.

 

EEA Family Permit FAQs

What is a UK family permit?

The family permit allows non-EEA family members of qualifying EU nationals to join their relative in the UK.

Can you work with a family permit?

Yes, you can work and study on a family permit, and you can travel in and out of the UK without restriction during the six months of the permit.

How much does a family permit cost?

The EEA and EUSS family permits are both free.

How long is an EEA family permit valid for?

The family permit is valid for six months.

Last updated: 13 January 2021

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