- Family Permit
- Residency Card
- Registration Certificate
- Permanent Residency
European Economic Area (EEA) or European Union(EU) Applications
There are various rights given to the EEA Nationals and Swiss Nationals to come, live and work in the UK without any restrictions under the Directive 2004/38/EC on right to move and reside freely.
There are various types of applications that you can make if you are either an EEA/Swiss National or related to an EEA/SwissNational.
Applications can be made to afford the EEA/Swiss national and their family members the right to live and work in the UK. Applications are approved in the form of EEA Family Permits (also referred to as EU Family Permits) and EEA Residence Cards.
The EEA/Swiss Nationals and their family members would qualify to apply for Permanent Residence in the UK after they have spent a continuous period of five years exercising treaty rights.
Right of Retention
If you have been in the UK on EU Family permit for some time and your relationship with the EU national has ended, then you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence in the UK depending on how long you have spent in the UK and your circumstances.
EEA Family Permit
An EEA family permit is a form of ‘entry clearance’ to the UK (similar to a visa). It is for nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who are family members of EEA nationals.
Although the UK is a member of the EEA, a non-EEA family member of a British citizen should not generally come to the UK using an EEA family permit. However, a non-EEA family member of a British citizen living abroad can apply for an EEA family permit to join the British citizen on their return to the UK if:
- The British citizen has been living in an EEA member state as a worker or self-employed person; and
- The family member, if they are the British citizen’s spouse or civil partner, has been living together with the British citizen in the EEA country.
- EEA family permit is issued for six months and before the expiry of the EEA family permit, the non-EEA national can apply for residence card as a family member of an EEA national. Similarly, a person who has entered the UK with family permit under Surrinder Singh principle, can apply for residence card as a family member of a British Citizen. Residence card as a family member of an EEA national is issued for five years in accordance with the EEA Regulations 2006.
Residence Card As Family Member Of An EEA National [Form EEA (FM) Application]
If a citizen of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland is living in the UK in accordance with the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, their family members who are not EEA or Swiss citizens also have the right to live in the UK.
If you are the non-European family member of an EEA or Swiss national, and you have come to the UK with them, you can apply for a residence card. This is a document which confirms your right of residence under European law. Your residence card may take the form of an endorsement in your passport (also called a ‘vignette’), or it may be a separate document called an ‘immigration status document’. A residence card is normally valid for 5 years from the date when it is issued.
The applicant must submit a valid passport for the application for residence card to be approved. Also, the EEA national must be exercising treaty rights in the UK and evidence of the same must be submitted with the application. According to EEA Regulations 2006, the Home Office is legally bound to consider and decide an application for residence card within 6 months from the date of receipt of the application. Any delay or negligence in part of the Home Office in not deciding the application within six months can be challenged by way of Judicial Review in High Court.
Appeal Against Refusal Of Residence Card
If your application for residence card is refused by the Home Office, you will have a statutory right of appeal against the refusal of the application unless you did not provide the evidence of your family member’s nationality i.e. the ID card or passport of the EEA national. Appeal against the refusal of residence card application must be filed within 10 working days (5 working days if you are in detention) from the date of receipt of the refusal letter. We can assist you and represent you in relation to your appeal against the refusal of your residence card application.
If you have not been granted right of appeal against the refusal of your application and you disagree with the reasons for refusal, it is also possible to challenge the refusal of your application by way of Judicial Review in High Court.
Registration Certificate As EEA National [Form EEA (QP) Application]
If an EEA national is exercising Treaty rights in the UK then s/he may request that s/he is issued with a registration certificate as confirmation of his/her right of residence under EC law. Application is made to the Home Office, UKBA using application form EEA (QP). Previously such application was submitted using application form EEA1.
The Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006 applies and interprets the UK’s obligations under the Free Movement of Persons Directive 2004/38/EC into domestic law. The right given to EEA nationals under these regulations is commonly known as free movement rights.
Switzerland is not part of the EEA, but Swiss nationals and their family members also have the same free movement rights as EEA nationals.
Right of admission and right of residence
An EEA national has the right to enter the UK. They must show a valid national identity card or passport issued by an EEA state. This right is given under regulation 11 of the regulations. Once admitted to the UK, an EEA national may live here for up to three months under regulation 13 of the 2006 Immigration (EEA) Regulation.
Regulation 14 of the regulations gives an EEA national an extended right to remain in the UK as long as they continue to meet the condition of being a ‘qualified person’. For more information, see link on left: Conditions of free movement rights.
EEA member states
Countries that are part of the EEA are known as member states. Nationals of these countries are known as EEA nationals. The member states include countries in the European Union (EU) and also Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway, who are not part of the EU. The list below shows the EEA member states in alphabetical order.
Austria | Belgium | Bulgaria |Cyprus | Czech Republic | Denmark | Estonia | Finland | France | Germany | Greece | Hungary | Iceland | Irish Republic | Italy | Latvia | Liechtenstein | Lithuania | Luxembourg | Malta | Netherlands | Norway Poland | Portugal | Romania | Slovakia | Slovenia | Spain | Sweden | United Kingdom
Nationals of Gibraltar have full British citizenship and are considered part of the European Economic Community. This means that people from Gibraltar have rights of free movement within EEA member states other than the UK. EEA nationals may also exercise free movement rights within Gibraltar.
On 1 June 2002 the agreement between the European Community, its member states and the Swiss Confederation on free movement rights came into force. The agreement gives Swiss nationals and their family members the same free movement rights as EEA nationals and their family members.
Exercising Treaty Rights As EEA Nationals
Under regulation 6 of the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006, a qualified person is an EEA national who is in the UK and exercising free movement rights in any of the following five categories:
- job seekers
- self-employed person
- self-sufficient person
Exercising Treaty Rights As A Worker
An EEA national may exercise free movement rights in the UK as a qualified person if they are working. The EEA national must be doing genuine and effective paid work, carried out under the direction of someone else, on a full-time or part-time basis.
EEA nationals who are in the UK as a worker are expected to be able to support themselves. They may claim public funds under European Community law without losing their right of residence.
Under regulation 6(2) of the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006, if an EEA national stops working, they may still be considered a qualified person if:
- they are temporarily unable to work because of an illness or accident
- they are involuntarily unemployed and have started vocational training or
- have voluntarily stopped working and started on vocational training related to their previous employment.
An EEA national who provides sufficient evidence to show that they are exercising free movement rights in the UK as a worker may apply for a registration certificate.
Exercising Treaty Rights As A Job Seeker
An EEA national may exercise free movement rights in the UK as a job seeker if they are seeking work. Under regulation 6(4) of the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006, they must show they are actively seeking work and have a realistic chance of finding work.
The EEA nationals may also exercise treaty rights if:
- they have registered as a job seeker and were employed for at least a year before becoming unemployed; and
- have been unemployed for no more than six months, or
- can provide evidence that they are seeking employment in the UK and have a genuine chance of being engaged.
Exercising Treaty Rights As A Self-employed Person
An EEA national may exercise free movement rights in the UK as a qualified person if they work for themselves in a self-employed capacity. Anyone who claims to be exercising free movement rights as a qualified person in this category must be self-employed and registered for income tax and national insurance purposes as a self-employed person with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). To prove that you are exercising treaty rights as a self-employed person you may have to provide various documents including proof of registration with HMRC, invoices for work done, a copy of business accounts, an accountant’s letter, bank statements or other similar documents.
Under regulation 6(3) of the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006, if an EEA national exercising free movement rights as a self-employed person is temporarily unable to work because of illness or accident, they may still be classed as self-employed.
An EEA national exercising free movement rights as a self-employed person may claim public funds like ‘top up’ benefits for low paid workers or benefits for the involuntarily unemployed without their right of residence being affected.
An EEA national who provides sufficient evidence to show that they are exercising free movement rights in the UK as a self-employed person may apply for a registration certificate.
Exercising Treaty Rights As A Self-sufficient Person
An EEA national may exercise free movement rights in the UK as a qualified person if they are self-sufficient. A self-sufficient person is someone who has:
- enough money to cover their living expenses without needing to claim benefits in the UK, and
- comprehensive sickness insurance in the UK for themselves and any family members.
EEA nationals who are in the UK in a self-sufficient capacity are expected to be able to support themselves. They may lose their right of residence if they claim certain public funds and become a burden on the social assistance system in the UK. A retired person may qualify as self-sufficient if they can show that they receive a pension or have enough income from other sources for example, investments, to cover their living expenses without needing to claim benefits in the UK.
An EEA national who can provide sufficient evidence to show that they are exercising free movement rights in the UK in a self-sufficient capacity may apply for a registration certificate.
An EEA national doing charity work may qualify as self-sufficient if they can show they have enough funds to support themselves, or that a charity is meeting their living costs. For example, a volunteer may qualify as self-sufficient if their living costs are being met by the charity organisation they work for.
Exercising Treaty Rights As A Student
An EEA national may exercise free movement rights in the UK as a qualified person if they are a student. Anyone who claims to be exercising free movement rights as a qualified person in this category must be:
Enrolled to follow a course of study at a private or public educational establishment recognised as an education or training provider that complies with the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006. You can download the register of sponsors under the points-based system which shows organisations that are licensed under Tier 4 students using the related link.
Able to show they have enough money to meet their living expenses. You may accept evidence such as:
- bank statements
- other evidence of the award of a grant or sponsorship, or
- a written declaration by the student that they have enough money
- Registered on a course of study that has started.
- Able to show they have comprehensive sickness insurance.
EEA nationals who are in the UK as a student are expected to be able to support themselves. They may lose their right of residence if they claim certain public funds and become a burden on the social assistance system in the UK.
An EEA national who provides sufficient evidence to show that they are exercising free movement rights in the UK as a student may apply for a registration certificate
Permanent Residence Card Application As An EEA National Or A Family Member Of An EEA National
An EEA national and his/her family members who have resided in the UK for five years continuously in accordance with the EEA Regulations 2006 can apply for Permanent Residence in the UK. Such application is made under Regulation 15 of the EEA Regulations 2006. The application form EEA (PR) is completed to submit an application for permanent residence as an EEA national or as a family member of an EEA national.
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