Immigration – EEA and EU Settlement Scheme Family Permits

What is a Family Permit?

If you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and are the family member of an EEA or Swiss national (excluding UK nationals subject to limited exceptions), you can apply for a family permit to live and work in the UK. There are 2 different types of family permits as follows:

The one which you should apply for depends on your circumstances.

EEA Family Permits will be invalid after 31 December 2020 and you should therefore apply for an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit instead if you’re a ‘close’ family member of an EEA or Swiss national and they have ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Notably, there are categories of ‘extended’ family members that are eligible for the EEA Family Permit, but who are ineligible for the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit including:

  • Unmarried partners
  • Extended family members such as siblings, aunts and uncles
  • Non-EEA and Non-Swiss citizens who have lived in another EEA country with their British family member that wish to return to the UK (Surinder Singh cases)

EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit

Which individuals can apply for an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit?

You can apply for an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit to come to the UK if you are a ‘close’ family member of an EEA or Swiss citizen. All of the following criteria must apply:

  • You’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • You’re the ‘close’ family member of an EEA or Swiss citizen (excluding British nationals subject to a limited exception for dual British and EEA nationals)
  • The EEA or Swiss citizen you’re joining is in the UK already or travelling with you to the UK within 6 months of the date of your application

The person you’re joining in the UK must also either be:

  • An EEA or Swiss citizen with ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • An Irish citizen (Irish citizens do not have to apply for ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status under the EU Settlement Scheme as Irish citizens enjoy a right of residence in the UK that is not reliant on the UK’s membership of the EU)
  • A British citizen who also has EEA or Swiss citizenship and who lived and exercised a treaty right in the UK or had a right of permanent residence in the UK as an EEA or Swiss citizen prior to getting British citizenship and who retained their EEA or Swiss nationality of origin after acquiring British citizenship (Case C-165/16 Lounes)

Who is a ‘close’ family member to qualify for an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit?

You must be the EEA or Swiss citizen’s spouse or civil partner, or related to them (or to their spouse or civil partner) as their:

  • Child or grandchild under 21 years old or dependent child or grandchild of any age
  • Dependent parent or grandparent

How long is an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit valid for?

An EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit is only valid for 6 months. Once in the UK, you must then apply for status under the new EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK.

EEA Family Permit

Which individuals can apply for an EEA Family Permit?

You can apply for an EEA Family Permit to come to the UK if all of the following apply:

  • You’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • You’re a ‘close’ or ‘extended’ family member of an EEA or Swiss national (excluding British nationals subject to limited exceptions)
  • The EEA or Swiss citizen you’re joining is in the UK already or travelling with you to the UK within 6 months of the date of your application

The person you’re joining in the UK must also either be:

  • An EEA or Swiss citizen ‘qualified person’ who is exercising a treaty right in the UK through employment, self-employment, studying, jobseeking or self-sufficiency
  • An EEA or Swiss citizen who holds a permanent residence document for the UK
  • A British citizen who also has EEA or Swiss citizenship and who lived and exercised a treaty right in the UK or had a right of permanent residence in the UK as an EEA or Swiss citizen prior to getting British citizenship and who retained their EEA or Swiss nationality of origin after acquiring British citizenship (Case C-165/16 Lounes)
  • A British citizen who is residing in an EEA State as a worker, self-employed person, self-sufficient person or a student, or so resided immediately before returning to the UK or who held permanent residence in an EEA State and whom you resided genuinely together with in an EEA State (Case C-370/90 Surinder Singh). If the British citizen has been back in the UK for more than 3 months, they must also be working, looking for work, self-employed, self-sufficient or studying in the UK

Who is a ‘close’ family member to qualify for an EEA Family Permit?

You must be the EEA or Swiss citizen’s spouse or civil partner, or related to them (or to their spouse or civil partner) as their:

  • Child or grandchild under 21 years old or dependent child or grandchild of any age
  • Dependent parent or grandparent

Who is an ‘extended’ family member to qualify for an EEA Family Permit?

Unlike the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit, ‘extended’ family members can apply for an EEA Family Permit. ‘Extended’ family members can include:

  • A brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, nephew or niece who is dependent on the EEA or Swiss citizen or on serious health grounds strictly requires the personal care of the EEA or Swiss citizen
  • An unmarried partner who has been in an unmarried partnership which has normally continued for 2 years or more with the EEA or Swiss citizen

How long is an EEA Family Permit valid for?

An EEA Family Permit is only valid for 6 months. Once in the UK, you must then apply for status under the new EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK.

How can Setfords help you?

We are experienced in preparing EU Settlement Scheme and EEA Family Permit applications and are able to provide expert guidance and assistance to you throughout the correct process.

Discuss your EEA or EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit application with our Immigration Experts Now

Nicola Anne Wilkins

Consultant Solicitor – UK Immigration Law

Direct dial: 020 8103 2006
Head office: 0330 058 4012 then dial ext 2752
Email: nwilkins@setfords.co.uk
Form: Complete form now
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Quotes from previous clients

“Nicola assisted me with my EEA Family Permit application to join my partner in the UK. I had quite a complicated case (due to being an unmarried partner), but Nicola was unbelievably helpful and reassuring. She is particularly knowledgeable on the EEA Regulations and was able to recommend a suitable solution for every minor detail. Nicola is very organised and detail oriented. She was quick to respond to all emails and queries, regardless of how ‘silly’ I considered my concerns to be. I truly feel that Nicola cares about all of her clients and understands the difficult situations that some families are placed in, then does her best to help. Above all, Nicola is patient, friendly and very lovely and I cannot recommend her enough”.

“Nicola helped my partner secure her EEA Family Permit to come to the UK. As I had just started a new job here, we were placed in a difficult situation but Nicola definitely gave her all to ensure we had the best possible solution. She provided all the support she could and clarified all the possible outcomes. I find her extremely competent and an expert in her field. The main thing that sets her apart is that she genuinely cares about her clients and their situation, while being extremely professional. Thank you for everything Nicola!”.