Why apply for a UK registration certificate?
A UK Registration Certificate is an official document issued by the Home Office to prove right of residence for European Economic Area or Switzerland nationals who are living in the UK under their EU Treaty rights.
If you are an EEA national currently living in the UK, under current rules, it is not a legal requirement for you to have an EEA registration certificate. However, if you are an extended family member of an eligible national, then you must have a certificate in order to reside in the UK.
A registration certificate is also a useful alternative for obtaining documented residence if you haven’t yet lived in the United Kingdom for the continuous 5 year period that’s required to apply for a permanent residence card.
Am I Eligible for a Registration Certificate?
Not every EEA national can apply for a certificate. In order to satisfy the Home Office, and comply with Regulation 6 of the European Economic Area (EEA) Regulations 2006, you need to be able to prove two things:
- That you are an EEA Citizen
To show you are an EEA citizen, you will need either a valid National Identity Card or a Passport. If you do not have either of these, this can cause significant complications; therefore, you should seek prompt legal advice in this situation.
- That you are in the UK exercising your Treaty rights
In addition to proving your EEA Citizenship, you must also show that you are exercising your Treaty rights:
- As a worker
You must be genuinely employed on a full or part-time basis under the supervision of someone else, and earning enough that you can look after yourself without claiming public funds.
If you are out of work temporarily, you may still be eligible; such as if you are ill or in an accident, have started vocational training or have become involuntarily unemployed.
- As a jobseeker
To prove you are exercising your rights as a job seeker, you must be actively seeking work with a realistic chance of finding it.
- As a self-employed person
You must prove that you are working in a self-employed capacity and that you have registered with the HMRC for tax and National Insurance purposes.
- As a self-sufficient person
A self-sufficient person is someone who is financially able to cover living expenses for themselves and their family without having to claim UK benefits. You will also need comprehensive sickness insurance for yourself and your family.
- As a student
You will need to have enrolled in a course at a public or private educational establishment in compliance with the Immigration Regulations 2006. You will also need to be able to show that you can meet your living expenses and that you have comprehensive sickness insurance.
You can also apply as a close or extended family member of someone who fulfils these requirements.
Who is a close family member?
To qualify as a close family member, you must:
- be a spouse or civil partner of the EEA national; or
- be a child/grandchild of the national or the nationals civil partner, be under 21 or dependent on them; or
- be a parent/grandparent of the national or of their civil partner, and be dependent on them
Where the EEA national only has the right to reside as a student, only spouses or civil partners and children of a spouse or civil partner are eligible to apply as a close family member.
If you are a family member such as a brother or aunt, you can apply as an extended family member.
Who is an extended family member?
Extended family members of the qualified person include:
- Cousins (including second cousins)
- Uncles or Aunts
- Siblings’ children
- Relatives of different generations (such as great-grandmother)
- Relatives by marriage
- Unmarried partner in a ‘durable’ relationship
If you are applying as an extended family member, you need to be able to prove:
- That you were dependent on the qualifying person before coming to the UK; or
- Living in the same house as the qualifying person before coming to the UK and will continue to live or be dependent on them; or
- Cared for by them before coming to the UK due to a serious medical condition.
How to apply for a Registration Certificate
The way in which you apply differs depending on whether you are applying as a qualified person or as a close or extended family member.
As a qualified person
You can apply for a registration certificate as a qualified person using form EEA (QP). You can submit this form online, except where you are a student or self-sufficient person who is financially reliant on another family member, or where other family members rely on you. You also must apply via paper form if you are making your application based on retained rights or using the Surinder Singh category.
If you are not permitted to apply online, you can download and print the form and post it, or you can apply in person at a Premium Service Centre.
As a close family member of a qualifying EEA national
To apply for a certificate as a close family member of the qualifying person, you must complete form EEA (FM). If the qualifying person is applying online at the same time as you, you may also be able to submit your application online with theirs. If however, you are applying at a different time to them (for example where they have already completed their application), or they have to complete the paper form, then you must complete a paper copy.
As an extended family member of a qualifying EEA national
As an extended family member, you will need to complete form EEA (EFM). If the qualifying person is applying online at the same time as you, then you may be able to be added to their application. If the qualifying person isn’t applying online, or you are applying separately, you will need to print a copy of the form and send it to the Home Office.
How long does the application process take?
Applications can take six months to process; however, it can take longer if your application is rejected for any reason, as you will need to resend your application with the necessary amendments.
How much does the EEA registration certificate cost?
It costs £65 per person applying. Therefore if there are multiple close and extended family members applying in connection with one qualifying person, the fee is £65 per person.
You must submit an application detailing your personal information, and information surrounding the basis of your rights (i.e. if you are a worker, self-employed, etc. or your relationship to the qualifying person if applying as a family member).
In addition to the application form and paying the fee, you will also need to collate and submit the documents in support of your application.
If applying via paper form, you will need to send your evidence at the same time as the form. Just like the application form itself, the documentation required is extensive; especially where you are applying as a family member, as you will need the qualifying persons supporting evidence too. You must ensure your application is accurate and complete otherwise it may be rejected by the Home Office, and you will lose a portion of your application fee.
What supporting documents will I need to show?
The documents you will need vary depending on the circumstances of your application. All applicants will need to provide two passport-sized photos with full names written on the reverse of each (one of which should be a named photograph of the qualifying person if you are applying as close or extended family) that conform to the passport photo standards, and proof of identity and nationality. This can be a National Identity Card or a valid passport.
Evidence of employment includes an employer’s declaration & wage slips or bank statements. For self-employment, you will need to provide tax and National Insurance documents such as HMRC registration letters or Self-Assessment forms; evidence of your trading status such as invoices, contracts and business accounts or bank statements.
If you are a student or self-sufficient, you will need to provide proof of financial resources; such as bank statements, pension documents, or evidence of scholarship or bursary if you are a student. You also need to evidence your comprehensive sickness insurance. If you are relying on a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) you will also need to provide a Statement of Intent.
Where you are asserting your rights using education; either as a student or as a worker undertaking vocational training, you will need to enclose a letter from your training provider or educational institution.
If you are looking for work or claiming UK state benefits, you will need to provide evidence of your job search (such as registration with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), interview invitations and rejection letters), and evidence of your benefits (e.g. DWP or local authority letter).
If you have any academic qualifications in support of your right as a job seeker, you should include them also. If you are claiming incapacity a doctor’s letter and evidence of sickness based benefits will need to be submitted.
Where you are applying as extended family, the requirements are even more involved. Alongside providing the evidence above required for the sponsor you are relying on, you will also need to show evidence of your relationship to them, and of your dependency on them. This can be evidence of living together if you are in a durable relationship (e.g. tenancy agreement, mortgage), proof of marriage or relation through birth or marriage certificate, or a detailed medical report evidencing personal care.
If you are a non-EEA national family member, the Home Office also requires you to submit your biometric information, which includes fingerprints and a digital photograph. Once your form has been received, the Home Office will send you a letter requesting that you enrol your biometric information.
The Home Office has strict guidelines on the evidence it requires to process your application; therefore it is imperative that you supply the correct documents.
Do you have a question about the registration certificate? We can help
There are numerous pitfalls in applying for a Registration Certificate due to the extensive application form and stringent documentary evidence required by the Home Office. Any inaccuracies or omitted information will result in potentially significant delays and perhaps even complete refusal of the application.
If your circumstances are particularly complicated or you have a history of criminal convictions, this process can be even more difficult. Family members of qualifying persons may find this process overwhelming due to the volume of information and evidence required, and potential language barriers may make it even more difficult.
The status of EU citizens within the UK is also changing due to the implications of leaving the European Union, therefore clarifying your status within the UK is more important than ever. Your first step should be to take expert legal advice, where experienced immigration solicitors can advise you based on your particular circumstances and can guide you through every step of the process.
DavidsonMorris is a leading UK immigration law firm specialising in EEA permanent residence, British citizenship and naturalisation applications.
You can contact us if you are seeking legal help in relation to an EEA permanent residence application. Our team will provide you with a professional, friendly, reliable service to avoid any issues or delays with your application.