Joining your EEA family member

The European Economic Area (EEA) family permit has made it substantially easier for non-EEA family members to move around EU member states. Eligible EEA nationals with either the intention of, or currently living in the UK on a long-term basis may sponsor their non-EEA family member to accompany or join them in the UK. Despite being administered by the Home Office, EEA family permits are issued under the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006 and not UK Immigration Rules.

The process entails:


An initial application for a permit by the non-EEA individual in order to facilitate entry into the UK – this is valid for 6 months.


Once the non-EEA applicant has entered the UK, he or she can apply for a Residence Card which, although not mandatory, will help the individual to re-enter the country more quickly and easily if travelling abroad, show employers you’re allowed to work in the UK and help in qualifying for certain benefits and services.


After 5 years, an application can be made for a permanent Residency Card.

The EEA national must be a qualified person exercising Treaty Rights in the UK in accordance with EEA regulations. For example, as a worker, a self-employed person, financially self-sufficient, a student or a job seeker at the time of application. He or she must also have a permanent residence card.
If the EEA national is not a ‘qualified person and does not have a permanent residence card, you may be eligible for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit.

Who can apply?

The Free Movement of Persons Directive (2004/38/EC) defines a direct family member of an EEA national as their:




Civil partner


Direct descendants under 21, i.e. children or grandchildren


Dependant direct relatives in the ascending line

For spouse and civil partner applications, evidence such as marriage certificates, civil partner certificates and divorce or death certificates from previous relationships are essential. A child under 21 who is applying for an EEA family permit will require birth certificates to show their familial link.

Besides direct family members, the following can also apply for an EEA family permit:


Dependant extended family members, such as an unmarried partner, brother, sister or cousin


A carer of either a British Citizen, a financially self-sufficient EEA national child or a child of an EEA national who was a worker in the UK

Unmarried partners must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Home Office that they are in a durable relationship with each other and have been living together in a subsisting relationship for at least two years immediately preceding the date of application. Evidence such as official documentation addressed to both parties in single or joint names for the qualifying period is required.

Other ways of applying for the EEA family permit:


With a derivative right of residence – the carer of someone who has the right to be in the UK, the carer’s child, or the child of an EEA national who previously worked in the UK


With a Surinder Singh’ application after living in another EEA country with a British family member


With a retained right of residence – you have the right to stay in the UK as the family member of an EEA national who has died, left the UK or is no longer your spouse or civil partner

However, there are more eligibility requirements for these applications.

Please note: This category may change on the outcome of Brexit negotiations.

Our fee for full representation starts from £650 plus VAT (if applicable).

Want to know more?

For further information regarding the EEA family permit, do not hesitate to contact us.