If you are an EEA or Swiss citizen you can live, work and study in the UK without needing permission from the Home Office.  The rights of your family members are more complicated.

Once you have exercised Treaty rights in the UK for five years you become ‘settled’ in the UK – that is, have a right of permanent residence. If you plan to apply to be naturalised as a British citizen you will need to apply for a Permanent Residence Card once you have completed five years of Treaty rights.

EEA family members

If you are the family member of an EEA national you can live in the UK as long as the EEA national is exercising Treaty rights here.  EEA law gives you powerful rights, but it is still for you to prove that you are entitled to claim those rights.

Under EEA law you will only be a family member if you are one of the following:

  • Married or in a civil partnership with an EEA national
  • The child or grandchild under the age of 21 of an EEA national, or of the EEA national’s spouse or civil partner
  • The dependent parent or grandparent of either the EEA national or their spouse or civil partner

Extended family members

If you are related to an EEA national in any way other than as set out above, or if you are the unmarried partner of an EEA national, you are called an ‘extended family member’.  Your rights are far fewer than those of family members.

You can apply for a Residence Card even if you are in the UK illegally, but it is generally more difficult.

Retained right of residence

In some circumstances you may be able to stay in the UK on your own, without being sponsored by an EEA national.  This is called a retained right of residence.

The most common way is after divorce, but it can also be if you are a victim of domestic violence, or on the death of the EEA national.

Derivative right

If your child is an EEA or British national and you are the child’s main carer you may be able to apply for a Residence Card on this basis.  This is called a ‘derivative’ right.

A derivative right of residence does not lead to settlement in the UK, and will end when the child turns 18.  If your child is British a different application would probably be better for you.

Families of British citizens

If your EEA sponsor also has British nationality you will have to meet the requirements of the UK Immigration Rules – please see our page on Family Visas.

You may be able to apply under EEA law if your sponsor is British and has been living and working in Europe.


Can an EEA national who doesn't live in the UK be a qualified person?


Out of time application as an extended family member

Questions?  Ask us!

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EEA law - know your rights

The Global Advantage:

  • Free initial assessment by phone or email
  • No call centres – speak directly to a specialist immigration lawyer
  • Fixed fees and unlimited support
  • Complete list of all documents needed
  • Professionally prepared applications
  • Experienced specialist immigration lawyers

We have clients across the UK and the rest of the world.
With phone, email and Skype, we can act for you wherever you are.

Has your EEA application been refused?

If your application has been refused you have a right to appeal to an independent Immigration Judge.  There are very strict time limits to lodge the appeal.

All appeals are heard in the UK, even if the refusal was overseas.  The judge will make a decision based on all the papers that are presented to support the case, and also what is said at the hearing by you and your lawyer.

Sometimes it can be easier, cheaper and quicker to lodge a new application instead of going for an appeal – we advise you on all the options, so that you can make the decision that is best for you.

You can find more information about appeals, and how we can help you, on our Appeals page

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How we can help you

Here at Global Immigration Solutions, we are experts at European law. When you instruct us, we will:

Advise you on the law

We will advise you on what your rights are under European law, and how the Home Office interprets those rights.

Make sure you present the right evidence

It is for you to show that you have rights under EEA law.  We know what documents are needed to show this.

Check your documents

We review your documents so that any problems can be dealt with before your application is lodged.

Prepare the application to a very high standard

We will complete all the paperwork, and draft detailed legal representations that set out your case, showing how you meet the requirements of EEA law and addressing any issues that may be problematic.

Provide unlimited advice and support

We will work with you for as long as it takes to get your paperwork perfect.  And because we charge a fixed fee, you can call or email us at any time that your have a question without any extra charge, no matter how many times that is.


globe-75x75We have clients all over the UK and the rest of the world.  With phone, Skype, email and post, we can act for you wherever in the world you are.

Call 08448 044 128 or email us today to get your Residence Card.

Call 08448 044 128 or email us today

Completely confidential and realistic advice about your case