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EEA citizens and Swiss nationals are free to live, work and study in the UK without needing permission from the Home Office. The rights of dependants are more complicated, and recent changes in the way that the UK implements EEA law have made it far less straightforward than in previous times to make a successful application.
Once an EEA or Swiss national has exercised Treaty rights in the UK for five years he or she acquires the right of permanent residence, and can apply for British citizenship one year after that.
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Get help with your application.
Before you can live with an EEA family member in the UK you need to demonstrate that he or she is a ‘qualified person’ – that is, that they are exercising Treaty rights in the UK through employment or self employment, studying, as a retired or self-sufficient person, or as a jobseeker.
If your EEA family member is settled in the UK through having exercised Treaty rights for five continuous years you can also live with them in the UK, regardless of whether or not they are currently exercising Treaty rights.
Family members are entitled to live in the UK with an EEA national. In EEA law, only the following are family members:
- The spouse of the EEA national
- Children and grandchildren below the age of 21 of either the EEA national or the spouse
- Dependent parents or grandparents of either the EEA national or the spouse
Just because there is an entitlement in law does not mean that proving your entitlement is always straightforward or easy – the Home Office have to be satisfied about the relationship and the genuineness of any claimed dependence.
Overage children and other relatives, including unmarried partners, are called ‘extended family members’. Unmarried partners have to satisfy the Home Office that they are in a genuine relationship (which should generally have lasted for at least two years) and other relatives need to show that they are dependent upon the EEA national.
You can apply even if you are in the UK illegally, but it is generally more difficult.
In some circumstances you may retain a right of residence in the UK independent of your EEA family member.
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 your EEA family member.
If you are the primary carer of an EEA or British child, or if you are the child of an EEA national who has died, you may be able to apply for a residence card on this basis.
A derivative right of residence does not lead to settlement in the UK.
The families of EEA nationals who are also British citizens cannot rely on EEA law, but have to meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules – please see our page on Family Visas.
If, however, a British citizen has lived and worked in Europe, and has moved ‘the centre of life’ to another country in the EEA, then it is possible for the family to apply under EEA law.
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 pageRead More
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.