Immigration Specialists London

EEA Family Permit Requirements, Application Tips & Guidance: This guide offers a comprehensive overview of the EEA Family Permit, a vital document for non-EEA nationals wishing to join their EEA family members in the UK. It details who can apply, covering direct family members (DFM), extended family members (EFM), non-EEA family members of British citizens, and situations involving retained rights of residence. The guide also addresses permanent residence rights and derivative rights under the EEA regulations. Additionally, it provides an essential guide to meeting these requirements, common reasons for refusals, success rates, and answers to frequently asked questions.


EEA Family Permit Requirements

1. EEA Family Permit Eligibility Criteria


The EEA Family Permit serves as an entry clearance visa for non-EEA national family members of EEA nationals, facilitating their admission to the UK under the Free Movement of Persons Directive (2004/38/EC) and EEA Regulations 2016. This section outlines who is eligible to apply for the permit and the necessary legal requirements.

Eligibility Criteria for EEA Family Permit

  • Direct Family Members:
    • Spouses
    • Civil partners
    • Direct descendants under 21
    • Dependents of the EEA national or their spouse/civil partner
  • Ascending Line Relatives:
    • Dependent direct relatives in the ascending line, such as parents and grandparents of an EEA national or their spouse/civil partner
  • ‘Surinder Singh’ Cases:
    • Direct family members of British citizens claiming a right of admission to the UK under the regulation 9 ‘Surinder Singh’ judgment
  • Extended Family Members:
    • Relatives who are not direct family members
    • Unmarried partners in a durable relationship with an EEA national
  • Derivative Rights of Residence:
    • Non-EEA nationals with a derivative right of residence under regulation 16 of EEA Regulations 2016

Admission Requirements and Legal Considerations

  • Admission Requirements:
    • Non-EEA family members must possess a valid passport and an EEA Family Permit for admission to the UK.
    • Demonstrating the right to admission under EU law at the UK border without an EEA family permit is not possible.
  • Legal Requirements:
    • All applicants must meet the criteria outlined in regulation 12 of EEA Regulations 2016 for the issuance of an EEA family permit.
    • This includes proving the familial relationship or partnership with the EEA national and, where applicable, dependency or a durable relationship.

EEA Family Permit Summary and Application Guidance

Non-EEA family members of EEA nationals entering the UK must understand the EEA Family Permit’s eligibility and legal requirements. Correct category identification and compliance with regulation 12 of EEA Regulations 2016 are key to a smooth application process. This permit is vital for maintaining rights under EU law and enabling family members to join or accompany EEA nationals in the UK.

2. Direct Family Members (DFMs)


The EEA Family Permit facilitates the entry of non-EEA direct family members into the UK, allowing them to accompany or join their EEA national relatives. This segment outlines the eligibility criteria, required supporting documents, and guidelines for proving a genuine relationship and dependency.

Eligibility and Supporting Documents

  • Residency Criteria:
    • Non-EEA DFMs are eligible if the EEA national is or will be residing in the UK within 6 months under Regulation 12(1) of EEA Regulations 2016.
  • Accompanying or Joining:
    • DFMs can join or accompany their EEA national family member in the UK.
  • Evidence of Relationship:
    • Required documents include original marriage, birth, or adoption certificates to prove the relationship.
  • Identity of EEA National:
    • Submit the EEA national’s identity card or passport. Certified copies may be used if the original is unavailable.
  • Proof of EEA National’s Status:
    • Evidence such as employment, study, or income details if the EEA national resides in the UK.
  • Travel Plans:
    • For visits, provide evidence like flight and hotel bookings.

Proving a Genuine Relationship and Dependency

  • Genuine Relationship:
    • For spouses or civil partners, evidence like joint tenancy agreements, utility bills, and bank statements can demonstrate an ongoing relationship.
  • Proving Dependency:
    • Dependents over 21 or ascending relatives must show financial dependency on the EEA national through documents like bank statements, fund transfers, or proof of residing together.

EEA Family Permit Application Guidance for Direct Family Members

Non-EEA direct family members must grasp eligibility criteria and gather essential documents for an EEA Family Permit. Proving the relationship’s authenticity and financial dependency is crucial for approval. Comprehensive evidence boosts permit acquisition, easing reunification with EEA nationals in the UK.

3. Extended Family Members (EFMs)


The EEA Family Permit offers a pathway for extended non-EEA family members to enter the UK by joining or accompanying their EEA national family members. This section details eligibility criteria, supporting documentation requirements, and guidelines for proving cohabitation, financial dependency, and meeting ILR requirements for EFMs.

EEA Family Permit Eligibility and Supporting Documents for EFMs

  • Residence Conditions:
    • EFMs are eligible if the EEA national is or will be residing in the UK within 6 months, as outlined in the 2016 regulations.
  • Joining or Accompanying:
    • EFMs must intend to join or accompany the EEA national to the UK, with issuance based on the appropriateness of the circumstances.
  • EEA National’s Identity:
    • Provide the EEA national’s passport or ID, accepting certified copies if originals are unavailable.
  • Proof of Relationship:
  • Status of EEA National:
    • Proof of the EEA national’s status in the UK as per the 2016 regulations is necessary if they are residing in the UK.
  • Travel Plan:

Cohabitation, Dependency, and ILR Requirements

  • Evidence of Cohabitation:
    • Proof of living together for 2 years is required for durable partners, including utility bills, tenancy agreements, or evidence of joint childcare responsibilities, with flexibility in evidence acceptance.
  • Proving Financial Dependency:
    • Dependent EFMs must show financial reliance on the EEA national through bank statements or money transfer records.
  • Household or Personal Care:
    • Household members should submit utility bills or tenancy agreements.
    • Those with personal care needs must provide medical letters evidencing care for the EEA national or their spouse/civil partner.
  • Meeting ILR Requirements:
    • Dependent relatives need to demonstrate financial dependency and how they meet the ILR criteria under Immigration Rules, using documentation such as bank statements or funds transfer records.

EEA Family Permit Application Guidance for EFMs

For extended family members applying for an EEA Family Permit, understanding these detailed eligibility criteria and preparing the necessary documentation is crucial. Demonstrating the relationship’s durability, financial dependency, and, where applicable, meeting ILR criteria are key to a successful application. By providing comprehensive and relevant evidence, EFMs can facilitate their application process, enhancing their chances of joining or accompanying their EEA national family members in the UK.

4. Non-EEA Family of British Citizens


Non-EEA family members of British citizens may be eligible for entry into the UK under specific conditions related to the British citizen’s residence in an EEA member country and the nature of their residence. This section explores the criteria, factors for assessing genuine residence, exclusions, and the applicability of these rules to extended family members.

Criteria and Genuine Residence Assessment

  • British Citizen’s Residence:
    • Must have resided in an EEA member country as a worker, self-employed, self-sufficient person, or student, or have acquired permanent residence there.
    • Joint residence with the non-EEA family member in the EEA country is required.
  • Genuine Residence Factors – Assessment includes:
    • Whether the British citizen’s life center shifted to the EEA country.
    • Duration and nature of residence.
    • Quality of accommodation.
    • Degree of integration.
    • If the non-EEA family member’s first lawful residence with the British citizen was in an EEA country.

Regulation 9 Exclusions and Applicability

  • Exclusions to Regulation 9:
    • Does not apply if residence in the EEA state was solely to circumvent UK immigration rules, indicated by past refusals under the Immigration Rules.
  • Applicability to Extended Family Members:
    • Regulation 9 does not extend to non-EEA extended family members, even with documentation under regulation 7(3).
  • British Citizen as a Qualified Person:
    • Within the first 3 months in the UK, the British citizen is treated as an EEA national without needing to prove qualified person status. For visits, no proof is required.
    • If joining the British citizen who has been in the UK for more than 3 months, evidence that the British citizen is a qualified person (jobseeker, worker, self-employed, self-sufficient, or student) must be provided.

Overview and Application Insights

For non-EEA family members joining British citizens returning from an EEA country, understanding the genuine residence criteria is vital. The rules ensure that the EEA residence was substantial and not solely to circumvent UK laws. Providing solid evidence of the British citizen’s integration into the EEA country and their status in the UK helps non-EEA relatives effectively manage their application. This emphasizes the importance of genuine EEA residence and integration for eligibility.

5. Retained Rights


The retained right of residence under Regulation 12(3)(a) of the EEA Regulations 2016 enables non-EEA family members to apply for an EEA family permit independently if their relationship with an EEA national ends or in the event of the EEA partner’s death. This segment outlines eligibility, application in a personal capacity, and implications under Regulation 10.

Eligibility and Application Process

  • Eligibility for Retained Right:
    • Non-EEA family members eligible include those separated or divorced from an EEA national, or if the EEA national passes away.
    • Eligibility extends to those who have lost or expired residence cards or have never applied but possess a retained right of residence.
  • Applying in Personal Capacity:
    • Applicants can apply independently, without the need to accompany or join an EEA national, basing their application on their own right.
  • Meeting Regulation 10 Requirements:
    • Applicants must satisfy conditions outlined in Regulation 10, including continued adherence to conditions under which a previous residence card was granted (e.g., as a worker, self-employed, or self-sufficient person).

EEA Family Permit Guidance for Retained Rights

For non-EEA family members with a retained right of residence, grasping eligibility criteria and applying independently is key. This autonomy enables a path to UK residency under certain conditions. Fulfilling Regulation 10’s requirements and maintaining previous status conditions are essential for upholding their UK residency right. This approach highlights the significance of understanding and applying individual rights, ensuring a confident EEA family permit application process.

6. Right of Permanent Residence


The EEA Family Permit, under Regulation 12(3)(b) of the EEA Regulations 2016, provides a pathway for non-EEA family members who have acquired the right of permanent residence in the UK. This section elaborates on eligibility criteria, application requirements, and the nuances of proving right of admission under Regulation 15 and derivative rights of residence.

Eligibility and Application Criteria

  • Eligibility for Permanent Residence:
    • Non-EEA family members with a right of permanent residence can apply, independent of any EEA national.
  • Application Criteria:
    • Applicable to individuals whose previous permanent residence card has expired or been lost.
    • Also for first-time applicants who have yet to apply based on this right.

Regulation 15 and Derivative Rights

  • Meeting Regulation 15 Requirements:
    • Applicants must satisfy the conditions under Regulation 15, including the impact of continuous absence on the right of permanent residence, which is lost after a two-year or more absence from the UK.
  • Derivative Right of Residence:
    • Applicants must prove eligibility for a derivative right of residence, including cases like ‘Zambrano’ where they are the primary carer of a British citizen.
    • Demonstrate they will be accompanying or joining the person from whom they derive their right, including fulfilling conditions in Regulation 16(5).

Overview and Application Insights for Permanent Residence

Non-EEA family members with permanent residence rights can use the EEA Family Permit to formalize their UK status independently, without needing an EEA national. Knowing the application specifics and requirements for admission rights is key to success. This method helps applicants effectively secure their UK residency rights, especially for those with derivative rights or affected by the continuous absence rule. Understanding and meeting these regulations are crucial for maintaining their residency under the EEA Family Permit.

7. Derivative Rights of Residence


The EEA Family Permit can be granted based on derivative rights of residence, offering a unique pathway for individuals who do not fall under the direct family member category but qualify through other specific circumstances. This section breaks down the eligibility for derivative rights of residence, including categories for primary carers and children, as well as the entitlement to entry under Regulation 12(2) of the 2016 Regulations.

Eligibility Based on Derivative Rights

  • As a Primary Carer:
    • For an EEA child in the UK who is self-sufficient.
    • For a child of an EEA former worker while the child is in education.
  • As a Child:
    • Of an EEA former worker, if studying in the UK.
    • Of a primary carer qualifying under the primary carer category.
  • For British Citizens:
    • As a primary carer of a British child or dependent adult.

Regulation 12(2) Entry Entitlement

  • For Previous Residents with Derived Rights:
    • Non-EEA family members can obtain an EEA family permit if they prove entitlement to enter the UK by virtue of regulation 11(5), relating to prior residence in the UK under a derived right of residence.
  • Accompanying or Joining in the UK:
    • Applicants must be accompanying or joining any person in the UK from whom they derive the right to be admitted, except for children of an EEA national worker entitled under regulation 11(5)(a).

Overview and Application Guidance for Derivative Rights

Applicants for an EEA Family Permit via derivative rights need to meet specific criteria, such as being primary carers or children of EEA workers. Understanding these criteria and proving entitlement are vital for application success. Demonstrating the derivative right, especially for those with prior UK residence or planning to join someone in the UK, is crucial. Properly aligning the application with regulations and presenting solid evidence allows applicants to secure their EEA Family Permit and their residency rights in the UK.

8. EEA Family Permit Guidance Notes


The EEA Family Permit facilitates entry into the UK for non-EEA family members of EEA nationals, outlining specific requirements regarding duration, documentation, and application procedures. This guide provides an overview of the vital requirements and processes involved.

Duration, Documentation, and Fees

  • Validity & Entries:
    • The permit is valid for 6 months, allowing multiple entries within this timeframe.
  • Parental Responsibility:
  • Mandatory Documents:
    • For Non-EEA Family Member: A valid passport.
    • For EEA National Sponsor: A valid passport or ID card, with photocopies accepted.
    • Proof of Family Relationship: Documentation evidencing the relationship with the family member.
  • Application Charge:

Processing Time and Further Steps

  • Standard & Extended Processing:
  • Reasons for Delays:
  • Vignette Endorsement:
    • Issued as a Category D Vignette, indicating if the non-EEA national will accompany or join the EEA national.
  • Residence Card Application:
    • After entering the UK, an application for a residence card is possible, which is valid for five years and confirms the right of residence, though not mandatory.
    • Direct family members have no application time limit; extended family must apply before permit expiry.

Eligibility Beyond EUSS Family Permit

  • Applicable Individuals:
    • Extended family members, individuals with derivative rights (Chen, Ibrahim, Teixeira, Zambrano), and those covered under Surinder Singh cases are eligible.
  • Exclusions:
    • Persons not covered by the EUSS family permit are excluded from this application process.

Understanding EEA Family Permit requirements, including validity, documentation, fees, and processing times, is crucial. Applicants should also know post-entry steps, like applying for a residence card and the eligibility of extended family members with derivative rights. Following these guidelines and preparing necessary documents smoothens the application, easing UK entry and residence.

9. EEA Family Permit Refusal Reasons


The EEA Family Permit application process involves a thorough examination of the evidence provided to establish eligibility. Refusals often result from insufficient evidence, concerns under public policy, security, or health grounds, and issues identified during interviews or due to non-compliance. This section highlights the primary reasons for refusal and the appeal process.

EEA Family Permit Refusal Reasons and Appeal Rights

  1. Insufficient Evidence:
    • Common issues include lack of proof for family status, doubts about the EEA national’s UK travel intentions, over-21 children not being genuinely dependent, inadequate evidence for durable relationships, and failure to prove the EEA national’s qualified status.
  2. Public Policy, Security, and Health:
    • Includes British citizens not exercising Treaty rights, and spouses not cohabiting with British nationals in the EEA State.
  3. Interviews and Additional Evidence:
    • The process may involve interviews to verify relationships, dependency, and the EEA national’s status in the UK.
  4. Procedure for Suspected Non-Genuineness:
    • Additional evidence requests and interviews are conducted to address doubts about relationships, dependency, or the EEA national’s intentions.
  5. Non-Compliance:
    • Refusal may occur due to the applicant’s failure to provide requested evidence or attend interviews, with factual inferences drawn from this non-compliance.
  6. Decision Post-Interview:
  7. Public Policy Grounds:
  8. Deportation or Exclusion Order:

EEA Family Permit: Right to Appeal

  • Applicants have the right to appeal against the refusal based on possessing a valid passport and proof of being an EEA family member.
  • The appeal must be filed within 28 days of the refusal notice.

Summary and Guidance on EEA Family Permit Refusal Reasons

Understanding the common reasons for EEA Family Permit refusals helps applicants preempt issues. Submitting detailed evidence, quickly responding to information requests, and cooperating in interviews can prevent refusal. For refusals, appealing is an option, highlighting the need for prompt and precise compliance with application criteria.

By addressing these potential pitfalls, applicants can enhance their chances of a successful application, ensuring they meet all requirements and provide sufficient evidence to support their eligibility.

10. EEA Family Permit Statistics 2005-2017


The EEA Family Permit has been a crucial mechanism for family members from outside the UK to join their EEA national relatives. This section analyzes the success and refusal rates from 2005 to 2017, highlighting trends influenced by application volumes and changing immigration policies.

  • Total Applications (2005-2017):
    • 396,939 entry clearance applications were made for EEA family permits.
  • Applications Resolved:
    • 392,464 applications were resolved.
      • 310,011 permits granted
      • 77,156 refused
      • 4,340 withdrawn
      • 957 lapsed
    • Resulting in:
      • 78.99% success rate
      • 19.66% refusal rate
  • Surge in Applications:
    • 2016 saw the peak with 49,590 applications and 49,009 grants. The surge, especially post-2013, is largely attributed to Brexit.
  • Declining Success Rates:
    • Post-2015, success rates have fallen below the average, hitting the lowest at 66.48% in 2017.
  • Refusal Rate Trends:
    • The refusal rate peaked at 32.13% in 2016, with the lowest at 4.28% in 2005.
    • Post-2015, rates have been above the 19.66% average, indicating increased scrutiny and policy changes.

Yearly Refusal Rate Breakdown

A more detailed look at the refusal rates over the years reveals significant fluctuations, with rates increasing notably in the years leading up to and following Brexit.

  • 2005: 4.28%
  • 2006-2014: Gradually increasing from 8.57% to 18.98%
  • 2015: 23.81%
  • 2016: 32.13%
  • 2017: 30.96%

Implications and Context

The data shows rising EEA Family Permit refusal rates, especially post-Brexit and due to stricter application reviews. The 2016 surge in applications and subsequent rise in refusals highlight the effect of immigration policy changes. For applicants, it’s crucial to understand these trends, prepare thoroughly, and stay informed on policy updates for a successful application process.

By analyzing these trends, applicants can better understand the evolving landscape of the EEA Family Permit applications and the importance of submitting comprehensive and accurate documentation to improve their chances of approval.

11. FAQs: EEA Family Permit Requirements and Guidance


  1. What are the EEA Family Permit requirements?

    The requirements for an EEA Family Permit include evidence of the relationship to the EEA national, proof of dependency if applicable, and evidence that the EEA national is exercising treaty rights in the UK, such as working or studying.

  2. Who is eligible to apply for an EEA Family Permit?

    Direct family members of EEA nationals, extended family members who are financially dependent, and non-EEA family members of British Citizens under specific circumstances may be eligible.

  3. Can Extended Family Members apply for an EEA Family Permit?

    Yes, extended family members can apply if they can prove their dependency on the EEA national or demonstrate a durable relationship with them.

  4. What rights do Non-EEA Family Members of British Citizens have?

    They may apply for an EEA Family Permit if the British Citizen has exercised treaty rights in another EEA country and meets specific criteria.

  5. What does ‘Retained a Right of Residence’ mean?

    This refers to the right to stay in the UK after a change in circumstances, such as the divorce or death of the EEA national.

  6. How does Derivative Rights of Residence apply to the EEA Family Permit?

    Derivative rights might apply to individuals who do not qualify under other rules but have a unique relationship with an EEA national, like being a primary caregiver.

  7. Why was my EEA Family Permit refused, and can I appeal?

    Common refusal reasons might include insufficient evidence of relationship or dependency. Appeals can typically be made within a specific timeframe after the refusal.