Family members from outside of the of European Economic Area (EEA) may apply for an EUSS family permit to join, or accompany, their EEA family member. We have received a number of queries about the EUSS family permit and the difference between the EUSS permit and the EEA family permit. So of course, we thought we would post a blog post on the subject in case there were others seeking clarification about this and about the requirements.
The EU Settlement Scheme
The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) allows qualifying nationals to continue their residence in the United Kingdom (UK), after the UK leaves the European Union (EU) on 31 October 2019 (also known as ‘Brexit’) and any transitional period.
Under the Scheme, non-EEA who is not in possession of a valid biometric card, or permanent residence card issued by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016, may accompany their EEA national family member to the UK, or join them in the UK.
The EUSS family permit operates alongside the EEA family permit.
EEA nationals are defined under Annex 1 of Appendix EU (Family Permit), https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/appendix-eu-family-permit and can include an EEA national that had previously exercised their Treaty rights in the UK and later naturalised as a British citizen under the British Nationality Act 1981. Where the EEA national acquires British citizenship, they must retain their EEA (or Swiss) nationality.
If the EEA or Swiss family member’s nationality is cancelled, curtailed or revoked, their rights to sponsor their family member(s), under the EUSS, will be lost.
Non-EEA nationals are defined in Annex 1 of Appendix EU (Family Permit) as anyone who does not hold EEA or British citizenship.
If you are a non-EEA national, you can apply for an EUSS family permit to enter the UK providing the following applies:
- You are the close family member of an EEA or Swiss national; and
- the EEA national you wish to join has pre-settled status or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme; and
- the EEA national that you are joining is already in the UK, or will be travelling with you to the UK within 6 months of the date of your application.
Family members must satisfy UKVI of their relationship. This is crucial as we have been approached by clients who had prepared their applications and had their application for an EEA or EUSS family refused because UKVI had not accepted that they were married or related to their EEA family member.
It can be extremely disheartening to receive a refusal on the basis of a relationship to an EEA or Swiss national, in part, because UKVI will not provide a right of appeal in such cases. The problem is not that those individuals had done the application themselves, but rather that they did not provide satisfactory evidence to support the application.
Family members are defined under Annex 1 of Appendix EU (Family Permit) as:
- The spouse or civil partner of an EEA national in a genuine and subsisting relationship;
- The child of an EEA national or of their spouse or civil partner;
- The grandchild or great-grandchild of an EEA national or of their spouse or civil partner; and
- The dependent parent (or grandparent or great-grandparent) of the EEA national or of their spouse or civil partner.
As of 9 April 2019, non-EEA family members can also apply directly for leave under the EUSS from outside the UK.
Nevertheless, if you are the close family member of a British citizen who had exercised their Treaty rights in another Member States before returning to the UK to live (Surinder Singh cases), you may not apply for a EUSS family permit. Instead, you must apply for an EEA family permit.
In addition, it is advisable to apply for an EEA family permit, rather than an EUSS family permit, if you are:
- An extended family member, as defined in the EEA Regulations, such as a durable partner or dependent relative; or
- A person with a derivative right of residence in the UK, such as ‘Chen’; ‘Ibrahim and Teixeira’; and ‘Zambrano’ cases; or
- A family member of an EEA or Swiss national who does not yet have settled status or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
For instance, one of our clients, Jo, recently joined her unmarried partner in the UK after a successful application for entry clearance. Her partner is a German national and has pre-settled status to the EUSS. However, as Jo is deemed to be the extended family member of an EEA national, she had to apply for an EEA family permit, rather than an EUSS family permit.
As with any application for entry to the UK, it is important that you submit the required documentation in support of your EUSS family permit application.
The documents to be submitted include:
- Your current and valid passport;
- Evidence of your relationship to the EEA family member;
- Evidence of your EEA family member’s identity such as a certified copy of their current and valid passport or national identity card; and
- Proof of your dependency on the EEA family member, if relevant.
Evidence of your relationship to the EEA family member. Such documents will depend on the nature of the relationship and may include, for example:
- Your marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate; or
- Full birth certificates; and /or
- Evidence of their dependency if, for instance, the child is over 21 years of age,
It can help to provide additional documents such as:
- Evidence of the EEA national’s employment in the UK, such as their employment contract, wage slips or a letter from an employer;
- Evidence of the EEA national’s self-employment, such as contracts, invoices or audited accounts with bank statements and confirmation of paying tax and National Insurance;
- Proof that the EEA national is studying in the UK, by way of a letter from the school, college or university; and/or
- Evidence of financial stability.
Original or certified copies must be submitted supported by certified translations, where appropriate. However, as of 16 February 2019, it is no longer a requirement for you to provide a certified English translation for certain public documents issued by another Member State only, as per Regulation (EU) 2016/1191.
Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 does not apply to documents issued by public bodies in non-Member States.
EUSS family permit applications do not carry a fee. Nor do they attract the Immigration Health Surcharge. Yet, the fact that the applications are free to make, does not mean that the application should be taken any less seriously than any other application for entry into the UK.
EEA family permits can be submitted at any overseas location and you need not be a national or resident of the country that you would like to apply from.
Like the EEA family permit, the EUSS family permit is valid for 6 months from the date of the decision. During that time, you may enter the UK as many times as you wish.
On the expiry of the permit, or following your arrival to the UK, you may continue to reside in the UK by applying for pre-settled status. This will prove your right to stay in the UK, and your right to work, study and access services.
A non EEA family member may apply for a EUSS family permit to accompany or join their EEA national family member in the UK. There are some key differences between the EUSS family permit and EEA family permit, though the EUSS family permit has many advantages.
Written by Carla Thomas – Managing Director at Thomas Chase immigration.
Thomas Chase Immigration offer immigration assistance to individuals and families and are the recipients of the Corporate Immigration & Relocation Award Winner 2019: ‘UK/EEA Family Permit Support Advisor – London’.
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If you still have questions or concerns or you would like straightforward immigration advice or assistance with your application to the EU Settlement Scheme or for an EEA family permit, then feel free to contact us.
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