EEA FAMILY PERMIT

Are you a non-EEA family member of an EEA citizen? If so, you can usually move to, or visit, the UK on an EEA Family Permit.

These are free of charge and less likely to be refused, as it’s your right as a family member of an EEA citizen to be permitted entry to the UK with them.

Here at WM Immigration we get a lot of inquiries regarding the EEA Family Permit. Many applicants have had their permit refused for various reasons. We have been able to help these applicants and successfully obtain their EEA family permit for them so they can come to the UK with their partner or family to visit or settle.

Once you have entered the UK with an EEA family permit you can apply for a Residence Card when your EEA family member has exercised their treaty rights to become a qualified person. This generally means that they are working, job searching, studying or self sufficient.

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What is an EEA family permit?

An EEA Family Permit is a document similar to an entry clearance which has been given the name “EEA Family Permit” to distinguish it from a visa or entry clearance issued under the Immigration Rules. Instead, EEA family permits are issued under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 and not the Immigration Rules. It is issued for six months in all cases and is free of charge.

The ‘expiry’ date on an EEA family permit does not formally represent an expiry of EEA family member ‘status’ in the UK. If the EEA national has not traveled to the UK within 6 months of the date of application, the EEA family permit would not be considered as valid. As long as the non-EEA family member of an EEA national continues to meet the EEA Regulations they would not be considered as having ‘overstayed’ simply because the expiry date of their EEA family permit had passed.

A non-EEA national family member of an EEA national must hold an EEA family permit if they are coming to the UK with the EEA national or joining them in the UK.  If the family member is not traveling with the EEA national or will not be joining them in the UK, they need to apply for entry clearance under the Immigration Rules and pay the relevant fee. An applicant who does not qualify for an EEA family permit can only be considered against the Immigration rules once the specified fee is paid. Regulation 31 of the Immigration and Nationality (Fees) Regulations 2009 clearly says that if an application to be assessed under the Immigration rules is not accompanied by the specified fee, the application is not validly made. This is particularly important to fiancés and proposed civil partners of EEA nationals.

Where can an EEA family permit be issued?

EEA family permits may be obtained from any visa issuing post. It is not necessary for an applicant to be lawfully or normally resident in the country to apply.

What are the requirements for issuing an EEA family permit?

In assessing an application, the ECO should be satisfied that:

1. The applicant is the family member of the EEA national (marriage certificate, birth certificate or other evidence of family link)

2. the EEA national is residing in the UK in accordance with the EEA Regulations (as qualified person if more than 3 months) and the non-EEA national is joining them; or
the EEA national intends to travel to the UK within 6 months and will have a right to reside under the Regulations   on arrival, and the non-EEA national will be accompanying or joining the EEA national; and

3. if applying as a spouse or civil partner, there are no grounds to consider that the marriage or civil partnership is one of convenience; and

4. if applying as dependent family members (dependent children 21 and over and dependent relatives) they are dependent on the EEA national or the EEA national’s spouse or civil partner; and

5. neither the applicant nor the EEA national should be excluded from the UK on the grounds of public policy, public security or public health.

It is important not to test overall intentions in assessing applications for an EEA family permit. Also, there is an initial right of residence for 3 months, which means that an EEA national does not have to be exercising a treaty right immediately on arrival in the UK.

The family members of an EEA national include:

  • spouses or civil partners;
  • direct descendants of the EEA national or their spouse/ civil partner under 21;
  • dependent direct descendants of the EEA national or their spouse/ civil partner 21 and over;
  • dependent direct relatives in the ascending line eg. parents and grandparents of the EEA national
    or their spouse/civil partner.

Financial dependence should be interpreted as meaning that the family member needs the financial support of the EEA national or his or her spouse/ civil partner in order to meet the family member’s essential needs in the country where they are present – not in order to have a certain level of income.

Important:
The direct descendants of an EEA national who are under 21 do not need to prove that they are dependent on the EEA national in order to qualify for an EEA Family Permit. Only the spouse/civil partner and dependent children under 21 are considered as family members of an EEA national exercising Treaty rights as a student who has been
in the UK for more than three months.

Where the applicant can show that he/ she is a family member of an EEA national, an ECO must issue an EEA family permit if the requirements for issuing a family permit (see below) are met.

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