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If you are an EEA national and you have non-EEA family members who are subject to immigration control, your family member may need to apply for an EEA Family Permit before coming to the UK either on a temporary or long-term basis. An EEA Family Permit is a form of Entry Clearance to the UK and is designed to make movement around the EEA member states easier for non-EEA family members.
Whilst some other visa types may afford non-European family members of EEA nationals similar rights depending on eligibility, an EEA Family Permit can be applied for from outside of the UK, and is also often considered to be less difficult to obtain. This makes the Family Permit a more viable and practical option for most people who meet the eligibility criteria. Upon successful application, an EEA Family Permit will be issued to you and will usually remain valid for a period of six months. After this time, you can apply for an extension of up to five years. Following this, you will then be eligible to apply for Permanent Residence, shortly followed by British Citizenship.
We know that understanding EEA guidelines can be confusing, especially in our current political climate. Our team of expert lawyers are up-to-date with current EEA legislation changes. One of our lawyers can work with you to understand your options, both now and after Brexit. He/she will work with you to design a plan for you and your family members, check your requirements according to the most recent laws and assist you with any applications you make. Contact us now to speak with one of our immigration lawyers.
The European law definition of a family member is considerably wider than under the UK Immigration Rules and includes spouses, civil partners, partners in a ‘durable relationship’ and children.
As the rules governing EEA Family Permits are stipulated by European Law, applicants who are children of an EEA national may be up to 21 years of age, rather than the UK legal classification of a child. It may also be possible to bring dependent parents, grandparents and extended family members such as siblings and cousins to live in the UK using an EEA Family Permit, although where the EEA national is a student they may only be joined by their partner and/or dependent children. You must also meet the eligibility requirements of being from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and the family member in question must be an EEA national.
Generally, the criteria for an EEA Family Permit caters for the following:
And in certain circumstances:
If you have lived in another EEA country other than the UK with a family member who is a British Citizen then you may be eligible to make what’s known as a ‘Surinder Singh’ application. In order to successfully apply using this route, the British family member must be your spouse/civil partner, parent or grandparent where you are dependent upon them, or your child or grandchild where they are dependent upon you.
You must also prove that you meet the eligibility criteria for the EEA country where you are currently residing and that this has been your main residence for both you and your family member.
If your British family member has returned to the UK, you may still be able to make a Surinder Singh application for an EEA Family Permit, however, there is an additional criterion that will need to be met. If they have been back in the UK for over three months, your British family member will also have to prove that they were working, self-employed, studying, self-sufficient or looking for work during the time that they have been back in the UK.
Immigrating to the UK as a family member of an eligible EEA national is a two-stage process. The family member must first apply for Entry Clearance to classify as an eligible immigrant. Then, once in the UK, the EEA Family Permit holder can apply to confirm their right of residence under European Law provided all other criteria are met, which is usually done through application for an EEA Residence Card.
The EEA Residence Card is usually valid for five years. After you have lived in the UK for a continuous period of five years with your EEA or Swiss national family member, you may be able to apply for confirmation of your right to permanent residence.
We understand that with Brexit negotiations well underway, it is important to have security; our team of expert immigration lawyers can help you to get this.
IAS hosts a team of specialist immigration lawyers who can help you find the best route to take as an EEA or Swiss national, inform you of your next steps and guide you through each stage of your application process.
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