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EEA Family Permit
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Apply for an EEA Family Permit

Applying for an EEA Family Permit is supposed to be straightforward. So it can be a shock to come when an applicant receives a letter from UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) informing them that their application for an EEA Family Permit has been refused. In Part 1 of this series on EEA permits and residence cards, we look at the basics of EEA Family Permits.

Introduction

EEA Family Permits are issued under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 and not the Immigration Rules. The permits allow overseas nationals from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) to enter the United Kingdom (UK) and join their family member as long as they are the:

  • Family member of an EEA national, or
  • Extended family member of an EEA national

The EEA national must either:

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

If the EEA national has been in the UK for more than 3 months they must either:

  • Be a ‘qualified person’ by working, looking for work, self-employed, studying or self-sufficient); or
  • Have a permanent right of residence in the UK

Without an EEA Family Permit, overseas nationals will find it very difficult to secure entry to the UK. The EEA Family Permit should also be used, rather than applying for a standard visit visa, where the overseas family member is seeking to visit the EEA Family member.

Family members

Family members of EEA nationals are set out in Part 7 of the EEA Regulations as:

  • Spouses or civil partners
  • Direct descendants of the EEA national or their spouse/ civil partner under 21
  • Dependent direct descendants of the EEA national or their spouse/ civil partner 21 and over
  • Dependent direct relatives in the ascending line, for example parents and grandparents of the EEA national or their spouse / civil partner

Extended Family Members

Extended family members are defined under Part 8 of the EEA Regulations and include siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces.

Non EEA, overseas family members must demonstrate they are dependent on the EEA national or are a member of their household, or have a serious health condition and rely on them for their care.

Unmarried partners fall within this category also and must show that they are in a lasting relationship with the EEA national.

Cost

EEA Family Permit applications are free. Regardless, time, effort and care should be taken when preparing the application to avoid delays or at worst, a refusal.

Documents

It is imperative that the required documents are provided in support of the application for an EEA Family Permit.

Whilst not an exhaustive list, documents to be submitted include:

  • Current and valid passport
  • Evidence of the overseas national’s relationship to the EEA family member. Such documents will depend on the nature of the relationship and may include, for example:
    • Marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate
    • Birth certificate
    • Proof that you’ve lived together for 2 years if unmarried
  • Family member’s current and valid passport or national identity card (or a certified copy)
  • Proof of your dependency if you’re dependent on your EEA family member

It is important to demonstrate that the EEA national is lawfully in the UK and that they have either permanent residence or, where they have been in the UK for over 3 months, that they are exercising their Treaty rights.

Additional documents to be submitted, may include:

  • Evidence of employment such as an employment contract, wage slips or a letter from an employer
  • Evidence of self-employed, such as contracts, invoices or audited accounts with bank statements and confirmation of paying tax and National Insurance
  • Proof of studying by way of a letter from the school, college or university
  • Evidence of financially independent such as bank statements

Where the EEA family member is studying or financially self-sufficient, evidence of their comprehensive sickness insurance should also be provided.

Original or certified copies must be submitted supported by certified translations, where appropriate.

Location

EEA family permits may be obtained from any overseas visa issuing post. As such, the overseas national does not need to be lawfully or normally resident in the country where they are applying form, unlike applications under the Immigration Rules. The overseas family member may be asked to attend an interview if the Entry Clearance Officer, considering the application, has strong grounds for doing so.

Length

The EEA Family Permit is valid for 6 months and is meant to facilitate their entry to the UK. On the expiry of the permit, and following the overseas family member’s arrival, the overseas family member may continue to reside in the UK, as long as they continue to meet the EEA Regulations. That said, many overseas family members of EEA nationals find it advantageous to apply for a Residence Card to prove their status in the UK, especially to potential employers.

The situation is different for extended family members of EEA nationals, who must obtain a Residence Card following the expiry of an EEA family permit or they will be considered an overstayer.

Conclusion

In Part 2 of this series, we look at the top reasons for a refusal of EEA Family Permits and how to avoid adverse decisions.

 

Written by Carla Thomas – Managing Director at Thomas Chase immigration. Thomas Chase Immigration offer immigration solutions to businesses, individuals and families by looking at the bigger picture.

Call to action

If you would like further guidance or assistance with an application for an EEA Family Permit, contact us at Thomas Chase Immigration to arrange a consultation. Or learn more about immigration from our blogs.

You may also like:

EEA permit applications and processing times

Permanent Residence to British citizenship: Is it worth the hassle?

 

Join the discussion

  1. Lillian

    Hi ,

    My spouse who is an EU national is working in the UK . He entered the UK on 24th Feb and started work on 1 April.
    I currently have a UK multiple entry tourist visit visa valid for 2 years. I would like to visit my spouse for a week in the UK . Can I still use my tourist visa which was issued before my husband could exercise treaty rights in the UK or is it mandatory for me to get a family permit in order to make a one week visit to see him.

    Regards,

    Lillian

  2. Pingback: Avoiding EEA Family Permit Refusals - Thomas Chase Immigration

  3. Bob

    Hi there,

    I am a EEA National married with a non EEA national spouse. We are both living in my spouse’s country and intend to go back to the UK. As I understand, you can apply using the online system and the EEA national DOES NOT HAVE to be necessarily residing in the UK at that moment as long as he intends to travel with the non EEA national within 6 months of the application?

    If this holds true, I wouldn’t have to go to the UK 3 months in advance exercising treaty rights as self-sufficient and then apply for the family permit.

    Please let me know if this can be done.

    Thank you,

    Bob

    • C. Thomas

      Hi Bob,

      Thank you for contacting Thomas Chase Immigration.

      Your summary is correct.

      You would only need to have been exercising Treaty rights in the UK for at least 3 months, if you were already in the UK and your non-EEA national wife is seeking to join you here.

      As you are traveling to the UK together, your wife, once in possession of an EEA family permit, may accompany you to the UK.

      All the best,
      Carla

  4. Reg. B

    Hi
    I’m with a tourist visa in the UK and I’m married with an EU national and we want to apply to the family permit, can I apply being in (from) the UK with her?
    Thank you.

    • C. Thomas

      Hi Reg,

      Thanks for contacting Thomas Chase Immigration.

      You must be outside the UK to apply for an EEA family permit. This can be, but is not restricted to, your home country or country of residence.

      Should you wish to discuss further or have any questions about the process, we will be happy to arrange a consultation with you.

      All the best,
      Carla

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