Family members of EEA nationals may apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit from outside the UK to join their EEA family members. Associate Ruth Jowett outlines the steps involved.
What is an EUSS Family Permit?
The EU Settlement Scheme was introduced by the UK government as a mechanism through which EEA nationals and their qualifying family members may apply for status in the UK. This will allow them to continue living here once the UK has left the EU. Brexit, as the process of leaving the EU is known, is currently scheduled to take place at the end of January 2020 – you can read more on our Brexit analysis page.
In order to be eligible for pre-settled or settled status, the applicant must demonstrate that they are resident in the UK.
Those who are outside of the UK and intend to enter the UK with, or to join, their EEA family member may apply for an EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) Family Permit to facilitate their entry.
The permit will help a non-EEA family member who does not already hold a valid document, such as a valid residence or permanent residence card, to demonstrate their right to enter the UK.
The EUSS family permit will be valid for six months and the holder may enter the UK as often as they wish during this six month period.
Who can apply?
Non-EEA family members may make an application where the EEA citizen is either in the UK or will be accompanying the applicant on their journey to the UK. The EEA citizen must have themselves, been granted pre-settled or settled status under the EUSS. Their status must not have lapsed, been cancelled, curtailed or revoked.
‘Family member’ is defined in Annex 1 of Appendix EU (Family Permit). The following fall within this definition and are able to apply for an EUSS family permit:
- The spouse or civil partner of a relevant EEA citizen, where the marriage or civil partnership was contracted/formed before the specified date* or where the applicant was the durable partner of the EEA citizen before the specified date (and held a relevant document as such under the EEA Regulations) and the partnership remained durable at the specified date.
- The child (or grandchild) or dependent parent (or grandparent) of the EEA citizen.
- The child (or grandchild) or dependent parent (or grandparent) of the spouse or civil partner of the EEA citizen.
* if the UK withdraws from the EU with a withdrawal agreement: 2300 GMT on 31 December 2020 or if the UK withdraws from the EU with without a withdrawal agreement, the date and time of withdrawal.
Children and grandchildren who are aged 21 or over, must provide financial, medical or other documentary evidence to demonstrate that they are dependent on the EEA citizen or of the spouse or civil partner.
Parents, grandparents and great-grandparents must be dependent on the EEA citizen in order to apply for an EUSS family permit, however at the time of application they will not be required to provide evidence of their dependency as this will be assumed.
What is the difference between the EUSS and EEA Family Permit?
Prior to the implementation of the EUSS, non-EEA family members were able to apply for an EEA family permit in order to facilitate entry to the UK so as to join an EEA citizen.
The EEA family permit is derived from the EEA Regulations and so long as the UK remains in the EU, the two family permits will operate alongside each other.
There are some key differences to the two permits, notably the EEA family permit may only be used by a family member of an EEA citizen who is a Qualified Person (working, self-employed, studying or self-sufficient*) or has a document certifying permanent residence. The EEA citizen does not need to be a Qualified Person for the non-EEA family member to be eligible for an EUSS family permit.
* If studying or self-sufficient, the EEA national must have comprehensive sickness insurance.
In applications for EEA family permits, dependent parents and grandparents must provide evidence of their dependence on the EEA citizen, whereas dependency is assumed for such family members in applications under the EUSS.
There are some family members that may be eligible for the EEA family permit, but will not be eligible for an EUSS family permit, including,
- durable partners (they should be able to apply for the EUSS permit as of 01 January 2021);
- extended family members such as siblings, aunts and uncles;
- individuals with a derivative right of residence in the UK;
- non-EEA citizens who have lived in another EEA country with their British family member that wishes to return to the UK (Surinder Singh cases)
How we can help
We are experienced in preparing applications under the EU Settlement Scheme and are able to provide expert guidance and assistance to you throughout the process.
For further advice, please contact us.