UK Residence Card processing times

UK Residence Card Applications and Processing Times

With UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) finding themselves inundated with applications for a UK residence card and certificate from EEA nationals and EEA family permit holders, it could be easy to assume that the application has fallen into a bottomless pit, only to be seen at some point in the distant future.

After all, we have all heard of the ongoing immigration cases sitting with UKVI for years and years.

However, UK residence card applications, and applications to certify permanent residence status,  are different. This is because UKVI’s service standards, as governed by EU regulations, dictate that UKVI must issue the actual UK residence card within 6 months.

The 6 months’ time frame begins from the date that UKVI receives the application, and the required supporting documents that prove that a right of residence exists.

This means that it is crucial for the applicant to submit the correct information and documentation to UKVI as part of the application.

In some instances, the applicant may legitimately require the application to be fast tracked. If so, the UKVI guidance, as of 30 August 2016, states that a request to expedite the UK residence card application should be made via email to:


The following information must be provided with the request to expedite the matter:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Date of application
  • Royal Mail Recorded Delivery number, if applicable
  • Method of payment used when making the application (card, cheque etc.)
  • Case ID or Home Office (HO) reference, if known
  • Date of planned removal, if applicable

UKVI will review the request and decide whether to fast track the matter.

Extenuating or exceptional circumstances which may warrant an application to expedite the application for residence, and even permanent residence, can include:

  • A family emergency such as bereavement or serious illness
  • The need to travel for essential medical treatment overseas

In all cases, documentary evidence of the exceptional, compelling circumstances must be provided together with the information outlined above.

The request should be sent to UKVI via email. From experience, it is often helpful to write to the caseworker directly – the details of which can be found in any previous correspondence from UKVI.

Where there is no correspondence, it may help to write to UKVI at:

UK Visas and Immigration
Permanent Migration
PO Box 306
L2 0QN

It is worth adding that UKVI do not consider family celebrations such as weddings and holidays to be exceptional or compelling ‘family emergencies’ to merit expediting an application.

Further, UKVI does not consider day-to-day difficulties as compelling enough to warrant the application being fast tracked. This includes any reasonable difficulties that non-European family members may experience.

That said, it is still worth making the request to UKVI, explaining the circumstances (difficulties in securing a particular job) and documenting any difficulties experienced as a result of the delay.

Hopefully, there will be little need to take such action.


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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38 responses to “UK Residence Card Applications and Processing Times”

  1. Adnan Saddique avatar
    Adnan Saddique

    Hi, My wife is Bulgarian and she went to England almost two months ago. She got a temporary job contract there. I want to ask two questions: 1- How much the bank statement do we need to provide for family permit and I am showing her bank account instead of me, furthermore this bank account is in England. 2- Her job contract is temporary is it ok for the family permit?

    1. C. Thomas avatar
      C. Thomas

      Hello Adnan,

      Unfortunately, we cannot respond to specific questions in this forum.

      In general, an EEA national is not required to exercise their Treaty rights within the first 3 months in the UK.

      As to bank statements, there is no minimum income requirements or savings requirements as set out under the Immigration Rules. Instead, the applicant (and sponsor) must show that they have adequate funds and accommodation to themselves without recourse themselves to public funds.

      You are free to contact us at to arrange a telephone consultation.

      Alternatively, we can assist you with the application.

  2. Suzanne avatar

    I need ur advise on consultant I apply for a eea family for me and my son I got a refusal letter yesterday saying that our application was rejected because they don’t think we are the family member of the eea national help plz

    1. C. Thomas avatar
      C. Thomas

      Hello Suzanne,

      Sorry to hear that!

      We would be happy to arrange a 30 minutes’ telephone consultation to discuss your circumstances. Consultations carry a fee.

      Contact us at if you would like to arrange a call.

  3. Mandy avatar

    Thanks for the good work. My wife is a Non-EU National with a family Residence Card from Belgium. I am a Belgian Citizen looking for job in the UK..(NI Number). My wife initially entered UK with a standard tourist visa..We applied for a Residence card and Certificate 3 months after–(under consideration at the HO) certificate of application received and allow to work.
    However, the standard visitor’s visa expired and we returned to apply for family permit.
    1, Do we even need a family permit given the fact that (a) She holds a residence card from an EU member state (b) a certificate of application (c) we are legally married and will be travelling together.

    2 If we do need a family permit, (a) what are our chances given the fact I am unable to secure a job, but registered a job seeker? (b) The fact the original marriage certificate with apostles is at the Home Office at the time of application for the family permit.


    1. C. Thomas avatar
      C. Thomas

      Hello M,

      Thanks for your feedback!

      It is not possible to comment on individual circumstances.

      Generally, a non-EEA national will require an EEA family permit to enter the UK as the family member of an EEA national, unless they are in possession of an Article 10 residence card.

      The non-EEA national may join the EEA national family member in the UK and will need to demonstrate, amongst other things, the nature of their relationship and evidence how the EEA national has been exercising their Treaty rights in the UK for at least 3 months. Exercising Treaty rights includes studying, living self-sufficiently, being self-employed, working and actively looking for work.

      As a guide, it is preferable for non-EEA nationals enter the UK with an EEA family permit and apply for a Residence Card, though this depends on the individual circumstances.

      Only one application may be submitted to the Home Office at any one time.

      Contact us separately if you would like to arrange a telephone consultation for specific advice.

  4. King wed avatar
    King wed

    Hi Thomas,
    Am king wed from Ghana, my wife is a EU citizen and exercising her Treaty rights in the UK. I am applying for EEA family permit to join her in the UK.
    Please I am submitting my part of document here in Ghana. Can my wife also send her supporting document to UKVI separately in the UK, as the application is processed in uk. If so please which address should my wife send her document to in the uk.
    Thank you.

    1. C. Thomas avatar
      C. Thomas


      When attending the biometric appointment, it is usual for the supporting documents to be submitted at the same time.

      However, UKVI or the Visa Application Centre, will advise how and where to present the documents, on submission of the application.

  5. Hung avatar

    I am a Romanian citizen and I am married to a Vietnamese woman which has a 3 years temporary family residence card for Romania.
    I lived in UK for 13 months (2016-2017), 12 of which i was a student with no job or income. I went back in October 2017 to Romania and Vietnam for a holiday and now I am planning to take her to UK also.
    As I just finished my studies and the holiday is over, I want to go back to UK and start searching for a job.
    How can we prove / Do we need to prove the dependency (searching for job / savings)?

    1. C. Thomas avatar
      C. Thomas

      Hi Hung,

      You may travel freely to the UK and reside for up to 3 months. After you have been in the UK for 3 months, you may continue to reside in the UK as long as you are exercising your Treaty rights as a qualified person.

      Your wife may accompany you to the UK, and will need to show that she is your direct family member.

      Should your wife wish to join you in the UK at a later date, you, as her sponsor will need to demonstrate that you are exercising your Treaty rights in the UK. That includes looking for a job or working.

      Have a look at our blog:

  6. Arafat avatar

    I am from Bangladesh & my wife is Lithuanian,who living in uk for over 5 years,I applied for eea family permit & after 5 months I get refusal! reason are- missing of bank statement of 2017 & missing of last 2 months payslip(because it’s take time to collect all documents&I missed 2 appointment of vfs) So the entry clearance office isn’t satisfy that, she’s an EEA national exercising her treaty rights & not a qualified person.
    we’ve all the documents now against given reason but we confused about doing appeal because of hearing appealing is so stressful time consume process&expensive also.
    would like & appreciate so much if can say, how much chances we’ve to win by appealing & what could be the probable total cost? 🙂

    1. C. Thomas avatar
      C. Thomas

      Hello Arafat,

      We cannot give specific advice as we are instructed by you and do not have all the required information to assess your matter and the merits of an appeal.

      If on review of the Notice of Refusal, you are satisfied that the ECO’s decision is incorrect, or there are grounds for an appeal, then it may be wise to challenge the decision to refuse the EEA family permit.

      However, if the decision is correct because, for instance, you did not provide all the required documents, it may prove sensible to make a fresh application for an EEA family permit, this time making sure to provide the correct data.

      If you would like specific advice to discuss your options, we would be happy to arrange a 30 minutes’ telephone consultation.

      1. arafat avatar

        thank you for advice,I apply again in 31/01/2018 with all newly dated documents so hopefully this this they not gonna reject with new reason 🙂

        1. C. Thomas avatar
          C. Thomas

          Glad to hear that the guidance helped.

          Hope you managed to address the issues raised in the earlier decision and that you get a favourable outcome!

  7. Babatunde avatar

    Am from Nigeria i marry Romanian woman and i have Romania family member card i want travel to uk with my wife and my son just for one week did i need to apply for visa or not

    1. C. Thomas avatar
      C. Thomas

      In general, a national from outside of the EEA, who holds a genuine Article 10 residence card as the family member of an EEA national exercising their Treaty rights in another Member State, may use that residence to travel to the UK.

      They may either travel to the UK with the EEA family member or join them in the UK.

  8. Sirine avatar

    Hi ,
    I’m a french citizen married for 5 years to a nigerian who got a 10 years resident permit ID in France . We wanted to travel to UK in March . Is he eligible to an eea permit and what are they calling dependency proofs we have to provide ?!
    Thanks and sorry for my bad english .

    1. C. Thomas avatar
      C. Thomas

      Hi Sirine,

      As a guide, an EEA family permit will make it much easier for a non-EEA family member to accompany their EEA national spouse to the UK.

      The non-EEA national does not need to provide evidence to show dependency on the EEA national spouse.

      Nevertheless, UKVI will expect to see, amongst other things, evidence of the EEA national’s identity, that the EEA national will be travelling to the UK also, and that the marriage is genuine.

      Guidance on the documents to be submitted can be found here:

  9. Erica avatar


    My partner is an EU citizen, currently working and living in the UK. I am American and working and living in the US. We are planning to get married in the spring, and apply for the EEA family permit. We had heard from another immigration consultant that he should apply for/have a Permanent Residence card (he has only been in the UK for the past 4 years). Is this necessary, or even possible since he has not yet been in the UK for 5 years? Should he apply for the Registration Certificate instead to prove he is exercising his treaty rights?

    Thank you,

    1. C. Thomas avatar
      C. Thomas

      Hi Erica,

      I’m afraid I cannot second guess the reasoning behind the immigration consultant’s advice, as I was not privy to that conversation.

      What I can say, as a guide, is that your EU partner will not require a residence card or permanent residence status to sponsor your application for an EEA family permit.
      Instead, your partner must demonstrate that he is an EU citizen and exercising his Treaty rights in the UK.

      Hope that helps.

    2. C. Thomas avatar
      C. Thomas

      Hi Erica,

      I’m afraid I cannot second guess the reasoning behind the immigration consultant’s advice, as I was not privy to that conversation.

      What I can say, as a guide, is that your partner must demonstrate that he is an EU citizen and exercising his Treaty rights in the UK in order to sponsor your application for an EEA family permit.

      A residence card can help evidence the above but is not mandatory.

      Once your partner has been exercising his Treaty rights in the UK for at least 5 years, he may apply to the Home Office to certify his permanent residence status, up until the UK formally leaves the UK.

      I hope that helps.


  10. Dj avatar

    I have been residing in UK for 6years as a dependent on spouse tier 1 general visa but unfortunately application for ilr was turned down so waiting for judicial review with no right to work.
    So my question is;
    Since life has become difficult because of no right to work I’m considering moving in with my sister an Irish citizen living in UK and also she plans to support financially paying my mortgage.

    Under this circumstances will I be eligible to apply for extended non eea family member in 3months time?
    Having read case laws my understanding is you no longer need to prove historical dependency ie depended on my sister drink the country she came from, also the requirement of coming to UK around the same time because I came in 2011 and she came in 2014 is also no longer an issue due to another case law?

    If that is the case then can I prove present financial and household dependency? Thanks in advance

    1. C. Thomas avatar
      C. Thomas

      Hi Dj,

      In light of your circumstances, it is advisable to seek a consultation with an approved immigration adviser or if you have one, the adviser assisting you with your JR application.

      The issues raised are not straightforward and an adviser would need to fully understand your circumstances in order to provide the most appropriate advice.

  11. Thom avatar

    I really appreciate for your availability and your explanations, thank you once again Carla

    1. C. Thomas avatar
      C. Thomas

      Thank you!

  12. Thom avatar

    Hi Carla, I am African and I live in Italy getting married to a Polish next year, can I apply for eea family permit one week after the marriage? Do I need to send my original passport copy.? Where should I apply? Thank you in advance for your earnest response

    1. C. Thomas avatar
      C. Thomas

      You can apply for an EEA family permit, to accompany your wife (an EEA national), even if your marriage only took place a week earlier.

      However, it may help to provide more evidence, apart from your original marriage certificate, to demonstrate that the relationship is genuine.

      EEA family permit applications may be submitted from any location of your choosing, though each location will have different processing times.

      You will need to submit your original passport as part of the application.

      Hope that helps,

  13. Hugh avatar

    Hi Carla,

    My wife submitted her application for an EEA family permit. Is the permit issued in 15 days? Its been almost 2 months.


    1. C. Thomas avatar
      C. Thomas

      Hi Hugh,

      Each location carries different processing times.

      The following link gives details of UKVI’s published processing times for each location and application type:

      However, processing may be extended beyond the published timescales if UKVI deem the EEA family permit application to be ‘less than straightforward’.


  14. F ALF avatar
    F ALF

    I am British Citizen my wife from Syria
    we Live in Germany she has her 5 years resident card as wife of EEU Person
    we would like to move to the uk
    we have been told we don’t need to apply for visa we could just go to uk


    1. C. Thomas avatar
      C. Thomas


      Your wife is a non-EEA national and appears to be in possession of a valid residence card issued to her as the family member of an EEA national exercising free movement rights in another EEA State, under Article 10 of Directive 2004/38/EC.

      As such, your wife may use this document to travel with you and enter to the UK. She may also join you in the UK at a later date.

      I hope this helps.


  15. Matteo Nasii avatar
    Matteo Nasii

    I am Italian, I have permanent residency card and I have a permanent job. This summer I’ll married my future wife that lives in Italy, but she is Moldavian and has a daughter.
    While preparing all the documentation for EEA family permit, is it mandatory to supply evidence of where will be leaving when they will be in the UK. If I apply without specify our future accommodation details, will I risk a refusal from the Home Office?
    Many thanks

    1. C. Thomas avatar
      C. Thomas

      Hi Matteo,

      When considering the EEA family permit application, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) take into account many factors, including whether you have adequate accommodation to house you, your partner and her daughter.

      It may therefore assist your partner’s application to provide evidence of your entitlement to reside at the property, by way of a tenancy agreement or mortgage documents. You may also wish to detail how many people, apart from you, reside at the property so that it is clear that your family will have adequate space.

      If that accommodation is temporary and you intend to move to alternative accommodation in the near future, you may wish to explain this at the end of the online application form or in a separate supporting letter.

      Hope that helps,

  16. Frederico avatar

    Hi I have a European Passport and I’m married to a Colombian national. I would like to apply for the eea family permit for my wife to join me in the UK, where I have been residing for almost 5 years. But I don’t know the procedures very well.

    1. C. Thomas avatar
      C. Thomas

      Hi Frederico – Your wife will require an EEA family permit to enter the UK. I’ll contact you offline and we can arrange a consultation. That way, I can advise you of the process as it relates to you and your wife specifically, and answer any other questions you may have.


  17. kais avatar

    My wife she is bulgarian citizen and she live in london, can i enter with her to england with my bulgarian residence permit without a visa?, Knowing that our son was born in London!

    1. C. Thomas avatar
      C. Thomas

      Hi Kais,

      If you are from outside the EEA, you will need to apply for an EEA family permit to enter the UK and reside with your wife and son.

      We can arrange a consultation with you to discuss any questions that you may have about EEA family permits in general and can assist you with the application process.


  18. C. Thomas avatar
    C. Thomas

    Hi Sidram,

    Let’s arrange a consultation so that we gather further details from you.


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