Immigration Advice Service
03334149244 (local rate)

Mon - Sun, 8.30 am - 8 pm

Find an office

21 offices in the UK

Menu

We are the UK's leading immigration specialists
OISC Accredited UK immigration lawyers
We've had over 5000 applications approved
We are now open 7 days a week from 7.30 am to 10 pm.
4.7 rating 2649 reviews

What Are the Rights of Non-EU Spouses of EU Citizens in the UK?

There are a number of pathways if you’re a non-EU spouse looking to join your EU citizen partner residing in the UK.

For more information about UK visas, permits, the EU Settlement Scheme, or any other UK-based immigration issue, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our immigration experts for help and assistance. Call us on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online today.

    Request a call back from our immigration experts

    Overview of Rights for Non-EU Spouses of EU Citizens in the UK

    There are a few options available for non-EU partners and spouses looking to join EU citizens living in the UK.

    Firstly, you may be eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme family permit, which will allow you to visit your spouse as a family member in the UK under certain conditions.

    You may then be eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme after you arrive in the UK, which could lead to you gaining settled status in the UK.

    Alternatively, you may apply for a UK spouse visa if you intend to live with your spouse for more than 6 months in the UK. You may also be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain if you successfully extend your spouse visa beyond the initial 2 years and 9 months.

    If you’re not eligible for either of the visas above, then you must apply for a standard visitor visa, or apply as a dependent of your partner’s visa if they’re studying or working in the UK on a relevant visa.

    What is the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit?

    The EU Settlement Scheme family permit is a way for non-EU family members of EU nationals to come and visit them in the UK. It is the replacement for the EEA family permit, which expired on 30 June 2021.

    You will be able to live, work and study in the UK for a period of time up to 6 months on an EU Settlement Scheme family permit.

    While in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme to stay in the UK for longer. This must be done within 3 months of your arrival to the UK.

    The initial deadline for the scheme was 30 June 2021. However, this deadline does not apply to you if you’re joining your spouse or partner who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020, and you join them in the UK on or after 1 April 2021.

    If your application for the settlement scheme is successful, you will be granted pre-settled status, which will allow you to stay in the UK for another 5 years.

    After this 5 year period, you may then apply for settled status, which will allow you to stay in the UK indefinitely.

    What’s the Eligibility Criteria for the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit?

    In order to be eligible for a family permit to join your EU spouse in the UK, all of the following must apply:

    • You’re the eligible spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
    • Your relationship began before 31 December 2020
    • Your spouse or partner was living in the UK by 31 December 2020
    • Your spouse or partner is in the UK already or will be travelling with you to the UK within 6 months of your application

    You can apply for a family permit If your spouse or partner did not need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, or could not apply because they’re also a British citizen.

    You can also apply for a family permit to return to the UK if you were living in the UK by 31 December 2020. This applies even if your partner or spouse has not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme.

    However, you must not have broken your continuous residence in the UK, which usually means that you must have not left the UK for more than 6 months in any 12 month period, unless you have a valid reason, such as serious illness, vocational training, or an overseas posting.

    How to Apply for the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit

    You must apply for the family permit online, and from outside the UK.

    As part of the application process, you must provide your proof of identity in the form of a valid passport, or a valid national identity card. You must also provide your family member’s 16-digit application number to the EU Settlement Scheme.

    In addition to this, you must provide proof that your relationship began before 30 December 2020. To do this, you must provide either:

    • A marriage or civil partnership certificate
    • A document issued under EEA regulations demonstrating that you’re their spouse or civil partner, such as a family permit or residence card

    Meanwhile, if you’re an unmarried partner, you’ll need to provide evidence that you were in your long-term or family relationship by 31 December 2020. This normally means that you must show you had been living together for 2 years. You could prove this by providing:

    • Bank statements, utility bills, a tenancy or mortgage agreement, or any other official correspondence that shows you and your partner at the same address
    • Documents showing joint finances, such as a tax return
    • Documents showing joint business ventures or commitments, such as business contracts or investments you’ve made together
    • Birth certificates or custody agreements showing that you shared responsibility for children while living together

    Additionally, you will also need to provide evidence that:

    • You’re still in the relationship when you apply
    • You were legally living in the UK during that time if you were here before 31 December 2020

    What Are the Fees and Processing Times for the Family Permit?

    The EEA Settlement Scheme family permit is free to obtain.

    Applications for the family permit are generally processed within a few weeks, though this may take longer in times where the service is busier.

    If you need assistance with your EEA Settlement Scheme family permit, IAS are here to help. Speak to one of our expert and qualified immigration lawyers on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online today.

    Contact us today if you require more information about your rights as a non-EU spouse or partner. Get in touch

      Fill out the form

      What is the UK Spouse Visa?

      If you’re not eligible for an EEA Settlement Scheme family permit, you may instead be able to apply for a UK spouse visa.

      This is a type of family visa that allows spouses, partners and family members of certain people in the UK to come and live with them. This route may also eventually allow you as a family member to come and live in the UK with your partner permanently.

      An initial spouse visa will allow you to live, study and work in the UK for 2 years and 9 months. This can then be extended for a further 2 years and 6 months, after which you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

      You usually won’t be able to claim benefits or other public funds for you or your dependents if you’re in the UK on a spouse visa.

      You may eligible for a spouse visa if your spouse is an EU national and they:

      • Have settled status in the UK, or
      • Have pre-settled status in the UK and started living in the UK before 1 January 2021

      In order to be eligible for a spouse visa, you must also prove one of the following:

      • You’re currently in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK
      • You’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply
      • You are a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of arriving

      In addition, you will also need to prove that you:

      • Have a good knowledge of English
      • Can financially support yourself and your dependants

      How to Apply for a Spouse Visa

      You must apply for a spouse visa online.

      When applying for a spouse visa, you will have to give a range of information about yourself, your partner, your relationship with your partner, finances and you and your partner’s children, if you have any.

      Some of the key information you will need to provide in your application includes:

      • You personal information, such as your:
        • Name
        • Date of birth
        • Current passport
        • Previous immigration applications
        • Previous criminal convictions
        • Parents’ dates of birth and nationalities
      • Proof of your finances
      • Proof of knowledge of English
      • Your partner’s personal information, including details of their previous relationships
      • Proof of your relationship, such as:
        • How you met and how often you see each other
        • How long you’ve lived together
      • Details about your previous partners
      • Personal information about you and your partner’s children
      • Details about your life outside the UK

      What Are the Fees and Processing Times for the Spouse Visa?

      Spouse visas cost £1,538 if you’re applying from outside the UK, and £1,048 if you’re applying from inside the UK.

      In addition to this, you may also have to pay an immigration health surcharge as part of your application. This will be an annual payment of £624 for every year that you’re in the UK.

      If you apply outside the UK, your spouse visa application processing time is usually within 24 weeks.

      If you apply from inside the UK, your application should be processed in 8 weeks.

      You may also be able to pay an extra £800 to have your spouse visa application processed quicker if you’re applying from within the UK.

      If you need assistance applying for a spouse visa, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our legal team. Contact us on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online today.

      What is the UK Visitor Visa?

      If you’re not eligible for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit or a spouse visa, you will likely have to apply for a standard visitor visa in order to visit your EU spouse or partner in the UK.

      While in the UK, you will not be able to work, claim public funds, or marry or register a civil partnership. If you wish to marry or register a civil partnership during your stay in the UK, you must instead apply for a marriage visitor visa.

      In order to be eligible for a visitor visa, you must show that:

      • You’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit
      • You’ll be able to support yourself and your dependants during your trip (or have funding from someone else to support you)
      • You’ll be able to pay for your return or onward journey (or have funding from someone else to pay for the journey)
      • You’ll not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home

      You must also have a valid passport or travel document for the duration of your stay in the UK.

      How to Apply for a Visitor Visa

      You must apply for a visitor visa online, as well as attend an appointment at a visa application centre.

      The earliest you can apply for a visitor visa is 3 months before you travel.

      As part of the application process, you must provide the following information:

      • The dates you’re planning to travel to the UK
      • Where you’ll be staying during your visit
      • How much you think your trip will cost
      • Your current home address and how long you’ve lived there
      • Your parents’ names and dates of birth (if known)
      • How much you earn in a year (if you have an income)
      • Details of any criminal, civil or immigration offences you may have committed

      You may also have to provide additional information such as your partner’s name, date of birth and EU country passport number, your travel history for the past 10 years, and your employer’s details.

      You will also need to attend an appointment at a visa application centre, where you will need to:

      • Prove your identity with your passport or travel document
      • Have your biometric information taken in the form of fingerprints and a photograph
      • Provide the required documents that show you’re eligible for a visitor visa

      What Are the Fees and Processing Times for the Visitor Visa?

      A standard visitor visa costs £100 to obtain.

      Visitor visas usually take around 3 to 6 weeks to process once you’ve submitted your application, proved your identity and provided your documents.

      For more information about the visitor visa and how you can apply for one to travel to the UK, get in touch with our team of immigration experts for assistance. Call us on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online today.

      How Can I Join My EU Spouse as a Dependent?

      If your EU spouse is currently in the UK on a valid student or work visa, you may be able to apply to travel to join them as a dependent if you’re their husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner.

      If your application is successful, you will be able to stay in the UK for as long as their student or work visa is valid.

      The specific criteria and eligibility requirements of coming to the UK as a dependent will depend on what type of visa your EU spouse or partner is on.

      However, in most cases, you will likely need to provide proof of your relationship with your partner by showing either:

      • You’re in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK
      • You’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply

      In addition, you will need to demonstrate that you have enough money to support yourself while you’re in the UK. The exact figure for this will vary depending on your partner’s visa type and living circumstances.

      You will also usually need to have your biometric information taken at a local visa application centre in order to get a biometric residence permit.

      For more information about coming to the UK as a dependent, and the specific criteria for each UK visa you will need to follow, get in touch with one of our trusted immigration experts today on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online.

      How Can IAS Help?

      Coming to the UK in order to join your EU citizen spouse or partner can be a very complicated and confusing process.

      It’s therefore extremely valuable to have the support and advice of a team who have years’ worth of experience working in this very field.

      IAS are experts in immigration and EU law, and are adept at helping our clients achieve the results they need. We can help you determine the right path for you to join your EU spouse or partner in the UK, assist you in applying for the right schemes, visas or permits, and ensure that your pathway to the UK is as smooth, painless and efficient as possible.

      We can also liaise with officials in the UK or non-EU countries to ensure that your application is processed properly and ensure that you have the best chances of your application getting approved as possible.

      For more information about what we can do for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our friendly advisers today. Call us on 0333 305 9375, or contact us through our form online.

      You may be interested in reading about.

      We're here to help if you need to join your EU citizen spouse or citizen in the UK. Call us now

        Fill out the form

        Advice Package icon

        Advice Package

        Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.

        Application Package icon

        Application Package

        Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.

        Fast Track Package icon

        Fast Track Package

        Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.

        Appeal Package icon

        Appeal Package

        Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.

        Advice Package image

        The Advice Package

        With our untimed Advice Session, our professional immigration lawyers will review your case and provide you with comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.

          Fill out the form

          Request the Advice Package
          Application Package image

          The Application Package

          With our Application Package, your dedicated caseworker will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your legal advisor will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.

            Fill out the form

            Request the Application Package
            Fast Track Package image

            The Fast Track Package

            Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.

              Fill out the form

              Request the Fast Track Package
              Appeal Package image

              The Appeal Package

              By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.

                Fill out the form

                Request the Appeal Package