EEA Nationals


EEA Nationals and their Family Members


The United Kingdom is a diverse nation and home to Europeans and citizens from all over the world.

As an EEA national, you can bring your non-EEA family member to the UK. They must be joining you or travelling with you and will need to apply for an EEA family permit from outside the UK.

If the family member is not travelling with the EEA national or will not be joining them in the UK, they will not qualify for an EEA permit and would need to apply for entry clearance under the UK Immigration Rules.

An EEA family permit allows entry for a non-EEA family member to the UK as a contracting member of an EEA member State. If the family member wishes to travel to Europe, you will need to check with the consular for that state as the family permit is accepted by some member states.

The EEA family permit is issued under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 and not the Immigration Rules.

Under Part 7 of the EEA Regulations, a person will be classified as an eligible family member if they are related to the EEA national as:

·         Spouse/Civil Partners

·         Children under the age of 21

·         Dependent parents and grandparents/grandchildren

·         Relatives

The definition under European Regulations for a family member is considerably wider than the UK immigration Rules because it also includes extended family members such as unmarried partners of the EEA national in a durable relationship that is similar to a marriage or civil partnership. Relatives of the EEA national which includes brothers, sisters, aunt, uncles, nephews, nieces and cousins also fall within the definition of an extended family member. In order to apply as an extended family, you must be able to show that either you’re dependent on the EEA national or are a member of their household, or have a serious health condition and require care from the EEA national.

Fiancé and proposed civil partners are not recognised as family member or extended family members unless they can show they are in a durable relationship. Extended family members and unmarried partners are not guaranteed for a permit and each individual case will be considered according to their merit.

A relevant advantage of applying for a family permit is that it will enable you to exercise full citizens’ rights whilst living in the UK such as working and claiming government benefits under some circumstances.

The EEA family permit is valid for 6 months and afterwards, the family member should apply for an EEA Residence Card to confirm their right of residence under European Law provided all other criteria are met. The EEA Residence Card is normally valid for 5 years. Subsequently, family members will be able to apply for permanent residence card. This will be subject to Brexit negotiations.


We have extensive experience and knowledge on family reunion applications, please contact us if you have any queries and we would be happy to assist.


EEA citizens received detention letters in error

The Home Office error

The Home Office has sent about 100 letters “in error” to EU citizens living in the UK, telling them they were liable for “detention”.

The mistake came to light after a Finnish academic, who has the right to live in the UK, received a letter claiming he was liable to be detained.

In addition, another EU citizen, who is married to a British citizen, was told she had a month to leave the UK.

A Home Office spokesperson said “the rights of EU nationals living in the UK remain unchanged”.

Everyone who received a letter would be contacted to “clarify that they can disregard it”, they said.

“A limited number of letters were issued in error and we have been urgently looking into why this happened,” the spokesperson added.


Government’s proposals on the rights of EU citizens after Brexit

EU citizens’ rights after Brexit

The Government has published its proposals on the rights and status of EU citizens in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU, after the UK exits the EU.

A Government’s press release confirms “the creation of a new ‘settled status’ for EU citizens who arrive before a cut-off date (also called the specified date), which is yet to be specified and will be agreed as part of the negotiations with the EU.”

“Applicants who already have 5 years’ continuous residence [qualified persons] in the UK will be immediately eligible for settled status. Those who arrived before the cut-off date but do not yet meet the 5-year threshold by exit day will be allowed to stay until they reach that milestone and can also secure settled status.”

The policy paper proposes an online system to process applications that will give applicants the same “indefinite leave to remain” status as many non-European nationals who have also lived in the UK for 5 years.

Key points of the UK’s proposals:

  • Those granted settled status will be able to live, work, study and claim benefits just as they can now.
  • The cut-off date for eligibility is undecided but will be between 29 March 2017 and 29 March 2019.
  • Family members of EU citizens living abroad will be able to return and apply for settled status.
  • EU nationals in the UK for less than 5 years at the cut-off date will be able to continue living and working in the UK. Once resident for 5 years, they can apply for settled status.
  • Those arriving after the cut-off date will be able to stay temporarily. But there should be “no expectation” they will be granted permanent residence.
  • A period of “blanket residence permission” may apply to give officials time to process applications to stay in the UK.
  • The Home Office will no longer require evidence that EU citizens who weren’t working held “comprehensive sickness insurance”.

However, there are several main concerns about the Government’s proposals as the proposals do not cover all situations (e.g. Zambrano rights, Surinder Singh route), there is no details of application process/evidential requirements, there is concerns about family rights etc.

If you have questions about your immigration status or need advice on the matter, please feel free to contact our senior solicitor Pam Barar or our immigration team.


Home Office – whether EEA nationals can apply under the UK Immigration Rules

EEA Nationals: Home Office Interpretation of Paragraph 5 of the Immigration Rules

Questions have been raised regarding the Home Office’s interpretation of paragraph 5: “save where expressly indicated, these Rules do not apply to those persons who are entitled to enter or remain in the United Kingdom by virtue of the provisions of the 2006 EEA Regulations. But any person who is not entitled to rely on the provisions of those Regulations is covered by these Rules.”

It was confirmed that: “paragraph 5 of the Immigration Rules is intended to reflect section 7 of the Immigration Rules 1988, by virtue of which a person with an enforceable EU law right cannot be required to seek leave to enter or remain under the Rules. However, if they wish to apply under the Immigration Rules, and they meet the requirements, there is nothing to prevent them from doing so.

The correspondence between Clive Peckover (Home Office) and Chris confirmed the following facts:

  1. a) Could a person switch from exercise of EU treaty rights as a self-employed to spouse of a British Citizen Under the Immigration Rules? Yes, it is allowed.
  2. b) Can EEA nationals apply under the Immigration Rules? Yes. If an EEA National wishes to apply under the Immigration Rules, they are entitled to do so.
  3. c) Do a family members of EEA nationals have to apply under the EEA regulations? No, they can choose to apply under the Immigration Rules.
Send A Message to Khayrullo Abdullaev

Send A Message to Zareen Haque

Send A Message to Julie Kieffer

Send A Message to Pam Barar