The EEA Family Permit allows holders to enter the UK without restriction for a fixed period. Successful applicants can avoid delays at passport control or even the risk of refused entry.
If you are not an EEA or Swiss national, but are related to one, the EEA Family Permit may be open to you if you meet the eligibility requirements.
Your EEA national relative must be present in the UK or accompanying you to the UK for you to be eligible.
It is important that you take care in completing the online application form and ensuring you satisfy the eligibility requirements.
Failure to complete the form correctly may result in a rejected application.
Who can apply for an EEA Family Permit?
To apply for an EEA Family Permit, you must be from outside the EEA and a family member or ‘extended’ family member of an EEA national.
Other types of eligibility include:
- Derivative right of residence – you are 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
- Surinder Singh applications – if you have lived in another EEA country with a British family member
- 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
How to apply as a family member or extended family member
To apply for an EEA Family Permit, the EEA citizen you are joining in the UK must be in the UK already or travelling with you to the UK within 6 months of the date of your application. If they have been in the UK for more than 3 months, they must have a permanent right of residence or be a ‘qualified person’, ie they are one of the following:
- self-employed and paying tax and National Insurance;
- studying; or
- financially independent.
You have to meet the ‘qualifying family member’ criteria and evidence that you are either:
- the EEA citizen’s spouse or civil partner, or
- related to the EEA citizen (or their spouse or civil partner) as their child or grandchild under 21 years old, or as a dependent child or grandchild of any age, or
- a dependent parent or grandparent.
You can apply as an ‘extended family member’, for example a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, nephew or niece, if you can show dependency on the EEA citizen or you 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 are in a lasting relationship with the EEA national.
Which documents do I need to show as part of the application?
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:
- 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 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)
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?
An EEA family permit is free.
Where do I apply?
You apply online via the Home Office website at https://www.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa
Can you stay after your permit expires?
You can stay in the UK after your permit expires if:
- you are the family member of an EEA national; or
- you qualify for a ‘Surinder Singh’ application; or
- you have a retained right of residence; or
- you have a derivative right of residence.
You can apply for a residence card or derivative residence card to confirm your right of residence. There is no requirement to apply but it will make it easier to prove your right to live and work in the UK.
If you are the extended family member of an EEA national and want to stay in the UK after your EEA family permit has expired, you must apply for a residence card.
Other points to note about the EEA Family Permit
- You must be outside the UK to apply for an EEA family permit.
- If the EEA national is a qualified person in the UK, then their non-EEA family members are entitled to work in the UK without restriction.
- Your EEA national family member must have full health insurance (comprehensive sickness insurance) if they are studying or financially independent.
DavidsonMorris can help with your EEA family permit application
DavidsonMorris is a leading UK immigration law firm specialising in EEA Family Permit applications.
Many websites on the internet offering immigration services are unregulated management companies or intermediaries that sell on your details to third parties.
DavidsonMorris is fully regulated by the Law Society of England and Wales and is a registered member of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association.
You can contact us if you are seeking legal help in relation to an application for EEA Family Permits. Our legal team will provide you with a professional, friendly, reliable service to avoid any issues or delays with your application.