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EEA Nationals
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Family Permits

Family permits for relatives of EEA Nationals already in the UK make the journey easy and fuss free. Without a family permit you could experience problems boarding your plane and further problems in being granted entry into the UK on arrival. Once granted a family permit is valid for 6 months and you can travel in and out of the UK as many times as you like in this timeframe. Once this time period expires, you can apply to remain in the UK by applying for a residence card.

You can apply for an EEA family permit to come to the UK if:

  • The EEA citizen you are joining must either be in the UK already or be travelling with you to the UK within 6 months of the date of your application
  • If they’ve been in the UK for more than 3 months they must either be a ‘qualified person’ (working, looking for work, self-employed, studying or self-sufficient) or have a permanent right of residence
  • You must be the EEA citizen’s spouse or civil partner, or related to them (or their spouse or civil partner) as their child or grandchild under 21 years old, or dependent child or grandchild of any age or dependent parent or grandparent

You must be outside the UK when making this application but don’t worry Immigration UK can still represent you in making this application. Email us at and we will look into your individual circumstances to start the application process for you.

Residency in the UK

As a national of an EEA country or the family member of a national of an EEA Country you can apply for a residence card to show your entitlement to live and remain in the UK. This is not essential but does make it easier to help you re-enter the UK if you travel abroad, show employers you are allowed to work in the UK and prove you qualify for certain benefits in the UK.

To apply for a residence card you must be able to show that you are either:

  • the family member, or extended family member, of an EEA national who is a permanent resident or ‘qualified person’ so someone who is working, self-employed, self-sufficient, studying or looking for work
  • A direct family member if you’re related to the EEA national as their spouse or civil partner Or their (or their spouse or civil partner’s) child or grandchild who is under 21 or a dependant Or their (or their spouse or civil partner’s) dependent parent or grandparent
  • Or you are the umarried partner of the EEA national and you’re in a lasting relationship with them that’s similar to a marriage or civil partnership or a relative of the EEA national (or of their spouse or civil partner) but you don’t qualify as their family member. Relatives include brothers or sisters, aunts or uncles, nephews or nieces and cousins. Relatives can also include grandchildren, parents and grandparents if the EEA national only has the right to reside as a student.
  • If the EEA national is a student, you can only qualify as their family member if you are their spouse or civil partner Or their (or their spouse or civil partner’s) dependent child
  • As well as being a relative of the EEA national, one of the following must be true: before coming to the UK you were dependent on the EEA national, or were a member of the EEA national’s household, and you’re still dependent on them or are still a member of their household And you need the personal care of the EEA national (or of their spouse or civil partner) on serious health grounds

You may also be eligible for a residence card if you have a ‘retained right of residence’ or make a ‘Surinder Singh’ application.

Retained rights of residence

You may be eligible to apply under this category if, for example:

  • your marriage or civil partnership to an EEA citizen has ended (with a divorce, annulment or dissolution)
  • your EEA family member has died and you lived in the UK as their family member for at least one year before their death
  • you’re in education and you’re the child of an EEA citizen (or their current or former spouse or civil partner) who has left the UK or died
  • your child has a retained right of residence because they’re in education in the UK (and you have custody of them)

You will need to prove:

  • that your family member, or extended family member, was a permanent resident or qualified person at the time your family relationship ended
  • how the relationship ended, for example a death certificate or decree absolute if you divorced

You can only retain your right of residence as an extended family member if both the following apply:

  • you currently hold a valid residence card as the extended family member of an EEA national
  • you meet all of the relevant conditions

You cannot retain your right of residence if you were the unmarried partner of the EEA national and that relationship has broken down.

‘Surinder Singh’ applications

You may be eligible to make a ‘Surinder Singh’ application if you lived in another EEA country with an eligible family member who’s a British citizen before returning to the UK.

Your British family member must be one of the following:

  • your spouse (husband or wife) or civil partner
  • your parent or grandparent (or their spouse or civil partner) - you must also be under 21 years old or dependent on them
  • your child or grandchild (or their spouse or civil partner) - you must be dependent on them

To be eligible, your British family member must either have the right to permanent residence in the EEA country where you lived together, or provide proof that they were one of the following there:

  • working, self-employed or self-sufficient - for example employer’s letters, wage slips, contracts, bank statements or proof of tax registration
  • studying - for example proof of enrolment and attendance
  • They must also work, study, look for work, or be self-employed or self-sufficient in the UK.
  • Both you and your British family member must prove that you genuinely made your home in the EEA country where you lived together. It must have been your main residence or base for the ‘centre of your life’.
  • You will need to prove that you both lived there together - for example your addresses, time spent living at each address and any proof of renting or buying a home and were integrated there - for example you spoke the language, had children born or living there, or were involved in your local community