EEA Family Permit
For the most part, the rights and responsibilities of European nationals and their family members are governed not by the Immigration Rules but rather by the European Economic Area Regulations 2006. This has significance as it means two things in practice: firstly, the Home Office does not charge an application fee for an EEA application; secondly, there is at present no premium priority service for applications of this type.
Right of Free Movement
Nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) member states enjoy a 'Right of Free Movement' within the EEA.
A general right exists for non-EEA close family members and certain other dependants to accompany the EEA national for up to 3 months.
An EEA national wishing to stay in the UK with non-EEA family members must demonstrate that they are exercising a right guaranteed under the Treaty. An EEA national can exercise Treaty rights through:
- self-employment; - study*;
* Individuals who exercise Treaty rights in the UK on the basis of study or self-sufficiency must hold comprehensive sickness insurance cover in the United Kingdom which covers themselves and any dependants.
The definition of “family member” includes spouses, civil partners, children up to the age of 21 and dependant parents.
Children over the age of 21, parents that cannot show they are dependent, and other relatives are defined as “extended family members”. Dependence in this instance means either:
- the person is residing in an EEA State in which the EEA national also resides and is dependent upon the EEA national or is a member of his household; or
- the person is accompanying/joining or has already joined the EEA national in the UK and continues to be dependent upon him or to be a member of his household.
Students are only allowed to bring their partner or children to the UK.
Unmarried or same sex partners are considered to be “extended family members” for the purpose of the EEA regulations. Rather than having to demonstrate dependence, these individuals must show that they have formed a “durable relationship” with their EEA national partner.
The non-EEA national fiancé/fiancées/proposed civil partners of EEA nationals exercising Treaty rights may also apply for an EEA Family Permit for entry to the UK. In this instance, the EEA national living in the UK MUST hold either permanent residence or a Residence Document, the European regulations having made no provision for fiancés.
Once formally in the UK both the EEA national and their non-EEA family members can work (employment or self employment) or study.
On completion of five years residence in the host state an EEA national is deemed to be a permanent resident if he can show that he has been exercising one of the Treaty rights referred to above. A non-EEA national dependant can also apply for permanent residence so long as the EEA national has continued to reside in the UK and exercised an activity.
If the relationship between the EEA and the non-EEA national spouse breaks down, it may still be possible for the non-EEA national to apply for a 'retained right of residence' so long as he/she can show that they were married for three years and lived in the host Member State for at least one year. Divorce proceedings must be initiated to benefit from this option.
In certain circumstances, non-EEA nationals can enter or reside in the UK to care for their EEA national child living here.
EEA nationals exercising a Treaty right do not need to formally apply for a document to evidence their stay in the UK but are free to do so, should they wish.
Non-EEA nationals, however, should seek permission to enter the UK with an EEA Family Permit which is valid for 6 months. Once in the UK, or if they are already in the UK lawfully, they can apply for a Residence Document which will be valid for 5 years.
The UK is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) which comprises of the following states Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria**, Cyprus*, Czech Republic*, Denmark, Estonia*, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary*, Iceland, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia*, Liechtenstein, Lithuania*, Luxembourg, Malta*, Netherlands, Norway, Poland*, Portugal, Romania**, Slovakia*, Slovenia*, Spain, Sweden, UK. Iceland,
*denotes the countries which joined on 1 May 2004 – these are known as the A8 countries. Citizens of the A8 nationals are allowed to travel freely to the UK but were subject to employment restrictions until 2011. Nationals of the A8 countries are now no longer required to register under the Workers Registration Scheme.
** denotes countries which joined on 1 January 2007 who remain subject to work restrictions until 31 December 2013.
Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not part of the EEA but nationals of these countries enjoy the same rights of free movement referred to below hence why they are, for these purposes, listed above.
Switzerland is not a member of the EEA, however, its citizens enjoy the same rights EEA nationals, again, the reason why they are listed above.
How we can assist
We can of course advise on specific aspects of a business visit visa and with the processing of an application. Our full service includes:
- legal advice
- identifying documents
- completion of online forms
- securing a biometric appointment
- ongoing liaison with the authorities where possible.
Information on how to formally engage our services can be found on the ‘instruct us’ page of this website or contact can be initiated by completing the online form.
Please contact us on +44 (0)20 7038 3980 or at email@example.com if you would like to discuss your immigration requirements.
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- DISCLAIMER: The information on this brief guide is correct to the best of our knowledge and belief. However, it is written as a general guide only and it is strongly recommended that specific advice is sought before action is taken.