EU Residence Cards and Family Permits
EU Residence Cards and Family Permits are for non-EU nationals who are looking to join or continue to live with their EU (and EEA) national family member in the UK before the UK leaves the EU. For information on the legal process that will apply after then, please see our Brexit Immigration Analysis.
It is not mandatory for direct family members of EU nationals to apply for a Family Permit or Residence Card but it will make it quicker and easier to travel to the UK and also provides evidence of their right to work. The UK Government’s position is that it is mandatory for extended family members living in the UK to hold either a Family Permit or Residence Card. We explain the difference between direct and extended family members below.
EU Residence Cards and Family Permits: Main requirements
An application for an EU Family Permit can be made from outside of the UK by those who can demonstrate that their EU national family member is already in the UK or will be travelling to the UK with them.
Direct family members include spouses, children and grandchildren aged under 21 or who are dependant, along with dependant parents and grandparents.
It is also possible for extended family members to apply for a family permit if they can show that they are dependent on the EU national, are a member of their household or have a serious health condition and are reliant upon the EU national for care. Extended family members include brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces. Unmarried partners can also make an application as an extended family member providing they can show that they are in a durable relationship with the EU national.
Where the EU national is already in the UK, if they have been in the UK for over three months evidence must be provided to demonstrate that they are a qualified person or have permanent residence.
The requirements to be met by those applying for an EU Residence Card are the same as those outlined above, the only difference being that an application for an EU Residence Card can be made from within the UK.
Length and conditions of stay in the UK
An EU Family Permit will be granted for six months.
An EU Residence Card will be granted for up to five years, after which time an applicant may be eligible to apply for an EU Permanent Residence Card.
During their stay in the UK applicants can work, study, marry and leave and re-enter the UK as often as required.
‘Surinder Singh’ applications
You may be able to make a ‘Surinder Singh’ application if you lived in another EU/EEA country with an eligible family member who is a British citizen before returning to the UK.
Your British family member must be one of the following:
- your spouse 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 EU/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; or
- 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 EU/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.
EU Permanent Residence Card
An application for an EU Permanent Residence Card can be made once an applicant has lived in the UK for at least five years.
EU Family Permits and Residence Cards: How we can help
The Home Office will carefully scrutinise applications for EU Family Permits and Residence Cards. If it does not consider that the evidence provided sufficiently demonstrates that the above requirements have been met, the application will fall for refusal. It is therefore essential that any application is prepared thoroughly and carefully.
We are experienced in preparing EU Family Permit and Residence Card applications to ensure a successful outcome and will provide expert guidance and assistance to you throughout the process.
For further advice, please contact us.