EUSS Family Permit Applications

EUSS family permit

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

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

Non-EEA nationals are defined in Annex 1 of Appendix EU (Family Permit) as anyone who does not hold EEA or British citizenship.

Family Members

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.

Documents

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.

Cost

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.

Location

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.

Length

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.

Residence

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.  

Conclusion

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’.

Call to action

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.

Contact us at [email protected] visit  https://www.thomaschaseimmigration.com/contact-us to arrange a consultation. Or learn more about from our blogs

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Brexit Deal or No Deal

Brexit no deal

As of today’s date, we do not yet know what Brexit means for the UK. The UK was due to leave the UK on 29 March 2019. and yet here we are. Let that sink in for a moment. A once politically stable country has now become the victims of party politics as its denizens watch on, feeling more and more powerless over a referendum vote that was supposed to make them feel empowered and optimistic.

And yet, the UK is still a fantastic place to live. So what other positives can we take away from this situation for European Union (EU) nationals and their family members living in the UK? And what is the EU Settlement Scheme?

Brexit deal

On 14 November 2018, the UK government reaffirmed, by way of its draft Withdrawal Agreement that EU nationals, and their family members, will continue to have a right of residence in the UK as of 30 March 2019, after the UK leaves the UK.

To add to the uncertainty, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU was extended until 12 April 2019.

To solidify their rights, and confirm the right to stay in the UK after 30 June 2021, European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and their family members must apply for continued residence to the new scheme. That is, the EU Settlement Scheme.

Under the EU Settlement Scheme, qualifying individuals will need to apply for pre-settled or settled status during a transitionary period that will end on 31 December 2020, though the deadline for such applications will end on 30 June 2021.

If a person applies for pre-settled status during the transitionary period, they may remain in the UK and apply for settled status after a period of continuous residence of 5 years.

Pre-settled status is important as it will allow EEA nationals and their qualifying family members to:

  • Work in the UK;
  • Access the National Health Service (NHS);
  • Enrol in education or continue studying;
  • Access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if you’re eligible for them; and
  • Travel in and out of the UK.

Prime Minister Theresa May had stated in her Brexit Statement, before the House of Commons, that no fee would be payable for pre-settled and settled status applications. In other words, the proposed fee of £65 have been scrapped.

However, if applications are free, it begs the question, how will the Home Office finance the large numbers of caseworkers needed to process the millions of applications in a timely and costly manner? Already there is concern that applicants can only use Home Office’s App on Android to prove their identity. Apple users will have to be patient or ‘borrow a friend’s phone’ according to the Home Office.

The exercise also seems excessive, as EEA nationals and their family members are having to switch their current residence certificates and certified permanent residence cards to pre-settled and settled status documents. Though, perhaps it is an exercise that will allow the Home Office to collect data and statistical evidence.

‘No deal’

Should the UK leave the EU in a ‘no-deal’ situation, EEA nationals and their family members will, according to the Government, continue to have a right of residence under the EU Settlement Scheme.

EEA nationals and their family members will have until 31 December 2020 to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme, to protect their status. Further details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/policy-paper-on-citizens-rights-in-the-event-of-a-no-deal-brexit.

That said, it is crucial to note that if there is a no-deal Brexit, only those who have been in the UK by 12 April 2019 may apply to the scheme for pre-settled status. This is correct as of today’s date.

In the event of a no deal Brexit, EEA nationals and their family members seeking entry to the UK will be subject to the UK’s stricter immigration laws. They will no longer have a right to enter the UK as per the EU regulations.

Indeed, the Government had said that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, and as such, the end of freedom of movement:

“EU citizens and their family members arriving in the UK will be admitted under UK immigration rules and will require permission (leave to enter or remain). Unlike EU free movement, this will not be a rights-based system so those who do not hold valid immigration permission to be in the UK will be here unlawfully and may be liable to enforcement action”.

The Government went on to say:

The details of the UK’s future skills-based immigration system are set out in a white paper published on 19 December 2018. It will take some time to implement this new system, and for EU citizens already resident in the UK to obtain their status under the EU Settlement Scheme. It is important that we allow sufficient time for granting status to resident EU citizens before we start to implement the new skills-based immigration system because until the resident population have been granted status, it will not be possible for employers, universities, landlords and others to distinguish between pre-exit residents who are eligible to remain in the UK on broadly the same terms as now, and later arrivals”.

Hence, the need for an interim arrangement until 31 December 2020. Though whether the Government and Home Office will be ready to implement the new system and processes by that time remains to be seen.

How will this affect you?

For those EEA nationals, and their family members that are already in the UK, it is highly advisable to apply for pre-settled status or settled status during the transitionary period, and certainly before any published deadlines. This will ensure that their UK rights of residency are protected.

For EEA nationals already in the UK, who are separated from their family members, now may be a good time to consider whether their non-European family members should apply for entry to join them in the UK.

What individuals should avoid doing is panicking! Easier said than done! But leaving the UK for more than six months to assess matters from afar, and then returning after Brexit, could have serious implications for EEA nationals and their families.

Similarly, leaving the UK and applying for entry clearance under a work visa or other category under the UK immigration rules may prove harmful to European nationals who have already invested a great deal to the UK, as it could re-set the individual’s continuous residence clock and status.

Conclusion

Brexit has led to uncertainty. Uncertainty about what Brexit is and what it means for the UK. There are also question marks as to whether there will be an agreed Brexit deal or not. Nevertheless, amongst the haze, some clarity has been provided. EEA nationals and their family members will have a continued right of residence under the EU Settlement Scheme. What individuals must avoid, is doing anything that may negatively impact their long term hopes.

UPDATED 3 April 2019.


Written by Carla Thomas – Managing Director at Thomas Chase immigration.

Thomas Chase Immigration offer immigration assistance to individuals, families and organisations.

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Need straightforward immigration advice or assistance with an application under the EU Settlement Scheme, EEA family permit or naturalisation?

Contact us at [email protected] to arrange a consultation or to request assistance. You can also learn more about UK immigration from our blogs.

Settled Status Scheme

Settled Status Scheme
The UK Government has set out their latest position on the settled status scheme, as it will apply to EEA nationals and their family members.

The statement rehashes much of the information provided by Prime Minister Theresa May on 26 June 2017, about the new ‘settled status’ and the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Sajid Javid on 22 June 2018.

The statement reads as follows:


The Home Office has been working to develop a new scheme which allows resident EU citizens and their family members to obtain the UK immigration status they will need in order to remain here permanently.

The EU Settlement Scheme will be fully open by 30 March next year. EU citizens and their family members will have until 30 June 2021 to apply, in line with the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

Testing is already underway. Since August, EU citizens working for a small number of NHS trusts and universities in the north west of England, and students at those universities, have been able to apply for status under the scheme.

A new phase of testing will begin next month. It will involve many more organisations across the UK, including higher education institutions and organisations in the wider health and social care sector. Testing the system with real applicants helps the Home Office ensure the new system operates effectively when it opens fully.

You do not need to do anything for now. EU citizens eligible to apply in the latest test phase will receive information from their employer.

Further information about the scheme can be found on GOV.UK.

 


What next?

At the risk of being repetitive, it must be stressed that if you are an EEA national, or family member, residing in the UK, nothing has changed. After all, the UK is still a Member State of the EU.

 

It can be beneficial to wait until the new settled status scheme has been fully rolled out and apply for recognition under that scheme.

 

Nevertheless, we are aware of many EEA nationals, and their family members, who have already resided in the UK for a significant amount of time, and who have submitted an application for certification of their permanent residence status in order to better meet the requirements to naturalise as British citizens.

 

Of course, time will be a major factor as applications will need to be submitted soon.

 

The key is to and seek advice and plan the best way forward for you and your family. We can arrange a telephone consultation should you wish to discuss your immediate and longer term options.


Written by Carla Thomas – Managing Director at Thomas Chase immigration. Thomas Chase Immigration offer immigration help to individuals and families.

Call to action

Need straightforward immigration advice or guidance on the settled status scheme?

Contact us at [email protected] to arrange a consultation. Or learn more about from our blogs