This week, a landmark ruling which took place at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) held that non-EU nationals who hold EEA Residence cards from other countries cannot be denied entry into the UK. Under the current UK Immigration Rules, non-EU nationals who is a ‘family member’ of an EEA national is advised to obtain an EEA Family Permit in order to enter the UK.
EU Nationals ‘Family Member’ can Enter the UK without Visa
Helena Patricia McCarthy Rodriguez, is a Colombian national who is married to dual British and Irish national Sean Ambrose McCarthy. The couple who have a daughter together have resided in Spain since 2010 and Ms McCarthy holds an EEA Residence Card issued by the Spanish authorities. The family of three regularly visit the UK where they own a home and under the UK Immigration Rules Ms McCarthy is required to apply for an EEA Family Permit which is valid for 6 months, in order to enter the UK.
In 2012, the McCarthys decided to take action against the UK Government infringing their rights under the EU’s freedom of movement. Ms McCarthy argued that she should not have to obtain a UK visa every 6 months to travel to the UK as she has been issued a Residence Card by the Spanish authorities.
The ECJ ruled in favour of the McCarthys stating that the UK cannot demand a non-EU national, who is a resident in the EU and ‘family member’ of an EEA national to obtain an EEA Family Permit to enter the UK.
EEA Family Permits & EEA Residence Cards
It is not clear how the case will be interpreted by UK Visa and Immigration and it is reported that a related case in the UK High Court is currently pending due to the Judges awaiting for the decision in McCarthy. As a result of the ruling of the ECJ it is not clear as to whether individuals from outside the EU who are ‘family members’ of an EEA national are still required to obtain an EEA Family Permit. Currently non-EU national ‘family member’ must demonstrate the following:
- The EEA national is living in the UK;
- The EEA national is travelling and residing in the UK within 6 months of submitting the application;
- The ‘family member’ will be traveling with the EEA national to the UK or joining the EEA national in the UK.
Furthermore, non-EU family members of EEA or Swiss nationals can apply for a Residence Card which confirms their right of residence under European law.
Contact us for a Successful EEA Residence Cards & Family Permits Applications:
Our team of experienced and professionally qualified solicitors and barristers (regulated by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority) will be able to guide you through the application process step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of the law. Please always call us for a telephone consultation even if you wish to consider other advisers.
Our Immigration Experts are able to give specialist legal information and advice in this area of law. To contact one of our Immigration Solicitors or Immigration Barristers please complete our legal case assessment form and we will get in touch or call us now on 0845 8622 529.