The Free Movement of people is one of the founding principles of the European Union (EU) which allows European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of another EEA Member State. This still includes the UK until the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020. EEA nationals and their family members are being urged to make an application to prove their right to be in the UK after 30 June 2021; otherwise they may be liable for removal from the UK.
Our expert team of immigration lawyers routinely assist in the preparation of successful EEA applications for EU nationals and their family members. Our team are ready to meet with you in person or via Skype to consider whether you meet the eligibility requirements. Once our expert lawyers are instructed, we will liaise with you in preparing your EEA application with the requisite supporting documentation in accordance with The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 (“the EEA Regulations”) or the Immigration Rules Appendix EU (for applications made to the EU Settlement Scheme).
Impact of Brexit for EEA Nationals – EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) Applications
The EU Settlement Scheme was launched on 30 March 2019. All EEA nationals and their family members who wish to continue living and working in the UK must make an application for Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme. This applies to individuals who already hold residence documents under the EEA Regulations (i.e. Registration Certificate, Residence Card and Permanent Residence) as these documents will no longer be valid after 31 December 2020. Applicants will also automatically be granted either Pre-Settled Status or Settled Status dependant on their circumstances. Those who have been in the UK for a continuous 5 year period will be granted Settled Status which is equivalent to Permanent Residence. Pre-Settled Status is equivalent to the EEA Registration Certificate or EEA Residence Card and is therefore given to individuals who have been in the UK for less than 5 years. Once an Applicant has acquired 5 years continuous residence in the UK they can then apply for Settled Status.
EU Settlement Scheme applications can be made online. The Home Office will need to verify the Applicant’s identity either by using the mobile app, attending a centre to scan a copy of the ID documents or by ending the original ID documents in the post. Further documentation may then need to be provided to the Home Office depending on the Applicant’s circumstances. For example, non-EEA national family members will definitely need to prove their relationship to the EU national sponsor.
Non-EEA family members currently outside the UK but who wish to come to the UK with or to join their EEA national family member must apply for an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit before 31 December 2020. Once in the UK they will then need to apply for Pre-Settled Status.
Residence documents under the EEA Regulations
Whilst it is still possible to make the following applications under the EEA Regulations, given that these documents will no longer be valid after 31 December 2020, it is advisable that Applicants instead make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme. For specialist advice in relation to the EU Settlement Scheme, please contact our immigration team to arrange a consultation with our solicitors.
EEA Family Permits
An EEA Family Permit is a document issued to a non-EEA family member of an EEA national which allows the EEA Family Permit holder to travel to the UK with their EEA national family member or to join them in the UK. You should apply for an EEA Family Permit ahead of your travel to the UK and it is valid for 6 months.
You can apply for an EEA Family Permit as a direct family member of an EEA national or as an extended family member. Generally, the following may be eligible:
- Spouses or Civil Partners;
- Children or grandchildren (or the children or grandchildren of your Spouse or Civil partner) who are under 21; and
- Parents or grandparents of you and your spouse or Civil Partner (if they are dependant on you).
The EEA Regulations and Immigration Rules also allow for extended family members to apply for EEA Family Permits, proving they can demonstrate a “durable and sustainable relationship” with the EEA national.
EEA Residence Card
Before the expiry of the EEA Family Permit, the family member of the EEA national must then apply for an EEA Residence Card in order to have further leave to remain in the UK for 5 years. The EEA Residence Card will also allow you to work in the UK and help prove you qualify for certain benefits and services.
You can apply for an EEA Residence Card if you from outside the EEA and are a family member or an extended family member of an EEA national who is a permanent resident or ‘qualified person’ (i.e. someone who is exercising their Treaty Rights). You may also be eligible for an EEA Residence Card if you have Retained Rights of Residence (for example, due to divorce or death of your EEA family member).
EEA Permanent Residence for EEA nationals & non-EEA Family Members
EEA nationals and their non-EEA national family members who hold an EEA Residence Card, may be able to apply for EEA Permanent Residence after they have lived in the UK for 5 years. There are a variety of reasons where you may be eligible; for example, you may apply if you are the family member of an EEA national who is a ‘qualified person’ and you are residing with them in the UK or you may apply if you came to the UK as the family member of an EEA national and then you retained a right of residence.
Expert UK Immigration Solicitors for EEA Applicants
Our immigration solicitors are regularly instructed to assist in the preparation of EEA applications. Our expert team offer some of the following services:
- An initial consultation with an experienced immigration solicitor who can advise on whether you meet the eligibility requirements;
- Tailored legal advice which will assist you in collating the documents required for an application; and
- Preparation of online/paper visa application forms and legal representations.
If you wish to have your documents checked by an expert immigration solicitor, please contact us so we can explore your options.
We are an Immigration law firm based in Middle Temple, London and our solicitors are fully authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Contact our specialist immigration team today and we can offer you a consultation in person or via telephone or Skype so we can explore your options. You can leave us a message on our Contact Form or give us a call on 02071830570.