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EEA Family Permit

""" This category is now closed. We have left this page here for legacy purposes. You should review the EU Settlement Status and EUSS Family Permit pages which are the current relevant categories. ***



Welcome to the RLegal Solicitors’ EEA Family Permit section. With over 30 years experience, RLegal can guide you through the evidential requirements and assist you to ensure that your EEA Family Permit is granted. We will not recommend that you proceed unless we are confident of success.

An EEA Family Permit is an immigration document issued to a non European Economic Area (EEA) national, who is a family member of an EEA national pursuing specified activities in another member state. It has its legal basis from the Free Movement Directive 2004/38/EC (the Directive).

The aim of the Directive is to enable nationals of member states of the European Community to move freely from one member state to another in order to live, study or work with their families to support the ‘common market’ or in other words, to promote 'Freedom of Movement' between member states, where the Directive is engaged, in pursuance of the economic aim to establish the market.

The UK has transposed the Directive into the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 (EEA Regulations 2006). It should be noted that the EEA Regulations 2006 are not a literal transposition of the Directive, but is the UK government’s interpretation of it, which has led to litigation. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is the final arbiter of disputes relating to the interpretation of the Directive.

The EEA Regulations 2006 permits EEA nationals and their families to enter the UK for up to 3 months. If an EEA national intends to stay for more than 3 months he must either seek work, or work (through both employment or self employment), study or be ‘economically self sufficient’ – these are commonly referred to as pursing an ‘EEA Treaty Right’. If an EEA national pursues an EEA Treaty Right, then his spouse and other family members have the ‘Right’ under EEA law to also live and work in the UK.

The EEA national or their non EEA family members do not have to formally apply for documentation to evidence their right to stay in the UK once the EEA national exercises the EEA Treaty Right, but should do so for administrative reasons as an EEA Family Permit issued in the UK will enable them to enter, live and work here.

The EEA national is not required to apply for any documentation in advance of his travel to the UK - all that is required is the production of his valid passport or ID card on entry.

Once the EEA national is in the UK and engages EEA laws, he can apply for an EEA Residence Certificate to evidence his right to live in the UK.

The EEA Family Permit should be applied for to a designated British mission overseas. The EEA Family Permit will normally be issued where the non EEA national can show that they are a family member of the EEA national, and that the EEA national is exercising an EEA Treaty Right. Once issued, the EEA Family Permit is valid for 6 months. Obviously if the non EEA national has an EEA Family Permit they should be admitted to the UK. If the non EEA national travels to the UK without an EEA Family Permit then he will have to satisfy an Immigration Officer of his right to enter the UK and therefore risks non admission to the UK.

Once admitted to the UK, the non EEA national should then apply for an EEA Residence Card – further information for which can be obtained by going to this section on our website.

If you would like to discuss your immigration needs with an expert, please contact us on +44 (0) 20 7038 3980 to talk to one of our highly experienced team, email us at or complete our online enquiry form.

Click on the links below for more detailed information about EEA Family Permits.


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:


- employment;

- self-employment;

- study*;

- self-sufficiency*.


* 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.


Unlike other relationship based immigration categories, the partners of EEA nationals do not have to satisfy the onerous requirements relating to minimum income and English language competence.

  • 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 be accompanied by their partner and/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. This is usually satisfied by showing that you have lived together for at least 2 years. This period can be less if, for example, you have a child together.


    Non-EEA national fiancé or proposed civil partners can apply for an EEA Family Permit but the EEA national living in the UK MUST hold either permanent residence or a Residence Document. However, please note that this requirement will change from 6 April 2014, after which an EEA national MUST hold a document certifying permanent residence.

An EEA Family Permit can only be obtained from outside the UK.


If you are already in the UK, you should apply for an EEA Residence Card.


An EEA Family Permit application can be submitted at the nearest British visa application centre authorised to deal with such matters. You will be required to submit an online application form and original evidence to support your relationship to the EEA national and their exercise of Treaty rights in the UK.


Applicants from certain specified countries may be required to undertake a tuberculosis test. Processing times vary enormously between countries and can be from 1 week to 2 months or more.

Once in the UK, you can apply to the Home Office for an EEA Residence Card to extend your stay for a period of 5 years if you continue to meet the above criteria. For more information, see “EEA Residence Card“.

A non-EEA national family member will be deemed to hold permanent residence after 5 years in the UK so long as the EEA national has continued to reside in the UK and exercised an economic activity described above. If you would like to read more about permanent residence for non-EEA family members please follow this link.


Although you are not obliged to lodge an application, if you wish to have proof of your permanent residence (for example, for an employer) you will need to make an application to the Home Office. You will also need to have a document certifying permanent residence or hold a permanent residence card issued by the Home Office in order to be eligible to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen. To read more, please follow the link.

– Comprehensive legal advice.


- Ensuring your application meets the legal requirements.


- Assistance with compiling the complex evidence required for this category.


- Completion and submission of all forms.


- Booking a biometric appointment.


- Ongoing liaison with the authorities where possible.


If you would like to discuss your application for an EEA Family Permit in more detail, please contact us on +44 (0)20 7038 3980, email us at or use our online enquiry form.

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