We recently received a positive decision in which the First-tier Tribunal allowed our client’s (the Applicant) appeal. The Applicant’s initial EEA Residence Card application as an extended family member was refused. In our initial consultation, we reviewed the Applicant’s application, supporting documents and refusal letter. The EEA Residence card application was refused on the grounds that the Applicant and her partner did not meet the durable relationship requirement. Our immigration team identified flaws in the refusal letter and advised that the decision should be appealed at the First-tier Tribunal as it was evident that the caseworker had incorrectly interpreted The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 (“EU Regulations 2016”).
Background to the EEA Residence Card appeal at the First-tier Tribunal
The Applicant was a national of Singapore and she arrived in the UK on a Tier 4 Student visa. Her partner was residing in the UK with Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Once her studies had finished she decided to submit an extended family member application under the EU regulations 2016. The Applicant had submitted evidence of her relationship and cohabitation with her partner. Unfortunately, the caseworker refused the Applicant’s EEA Residence Card application on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence of a durable relationship because the couple had not been living together for a period of two years at the date of the application. The caseworker negligently disregarded important evidence such as joint bank statements, joint financial responsibility, and evidence of travelling together covering a period of more than the 2 years.
The legal issues in the Applicant’s EEA Residence Card appeal
In this particular case, the key legal issue was the interpretation of Section 8 (5) of the EU Regulations 2016, specifically the interpretation of “Durable Relationship”. Section 8 (5) states:
“The condition in this paragraph is that the person is the partner (other than a civil partner) of, and in a durable relationship with, an EEA national, and is able to prove this to the decision-maker”.
Despite the Applicant submitting an overwhelming amount of evidence of her relationship with her partner the caseworker disregarded the evidence and relied on the fact that the couple did hold joint tenancy agreements covering a minimum period of 2 years. The Applicant provided a valid reason as to why her name was not on the tenancy agreement and argued there was ample documentary evidence to confirm that they were living together for at least two years.
During the hearing, the Judge sitting at the First-tier Tribunal agreed with the Applicant that it was not necessary for the Applicant to hold a joint tenancy agreement as there was sufficient evidence that the relationship was durable. There is a lot of ambiguity around the definition of the term Durable Relationship as there is no strict definition. The Home Office Policy Guidance on Extended Family Members fails to provide a definition instead gives examples of when a relationship may be considered to be durable. The Extended Family Member Policy Guidance also states:
“You must always consider the individual circumstances of the application. For example, there may be instances when the couple has not been in a relationship for 2 years or more, but you are still satisfied that the relationship is subsisting and durable. This may be, for example, where the couple have a child together and a birth certificate showing shared parentage has been provided with evidence of living together”.
The judge also clarified that the EU Regulations 2016 do not require parties to have lived together in order to be in a Durable Relationship. This position has been confirmed in the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and by the Upper Tribunal including in Fetle (partners: two-year requirement 2014 UKUT 00267) (IAC).
How to submit a successful EEA Residence Card application as a partner?
Unlike the Unmarried Partner visa application under the Immigration Rules, the requirements for the Extended Family Member application are more relaxed. There is no financial threshold or English language requirement. However, caseworkers have more flexibility when assessing the application and it could be argued that they have more authority to refuse an application that is not prepared in accordance with the EU Regulations 2016 and relevant Policy Guidance. In order to submit a successful Extended Family Member application, Applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Applicants must be of good character;
- Applicants must demonstrate that they are in a durable relationship;
- Evidence that the EU national partner is exercising Treaty Rights; and
- Whilst it is not mandatory it is recommended that the Applicant provides some evidence of their financial situation (unless this has a detrimental impact).
How to submit successful EEA Residence Card appeals?
The key to submitting a successful appeal at the First-tier Tribunal is selecting the right legal representative who understands and believes in your appeal. Our immigration team has ample experience in appeals at the First-tier and Upper Tribunal as well as the High Court. Our immigration team prepares persuasive Grounds of Appeal with every appeal. Following this, we help gather the necessary evidence and prepare a detailed Appellants bundle. It is also imperative to submit well-prepared witness statements that directly tackle all the issues raised in the witness statements. We also offer mock interviews to help the Applicants prepare for questioning during the hearing.
Can I ask the Home Office to reconsider my case during the appeal process?
Once an Applicant has lodged a Notice of Appeal at the First-tier Tribunal it is possible to submit a Reconsideration Request. The purpose of a Reconsideration Request is to ask the Home Office to reconsider their decision. However, the Reconsideration Request must be well prepared and accompanied by the correct supporting documents. You must clearly outline the applicable legislation and explain why the decision is incorrect. Over the years, we have submitted numerous Reconsideration Requests and our immigration team has a good success rate. There is no fee for submitting a Reconsideration Request.
How our immigration solicitors can help with EEA Residence Card appeals
Our immigration solicitors in London specialise in EEA Residence Card appeals and prepare appeals to the highest standard. We have an impeccable track history of submitting successful appeals for a range of different clients. The key to submitting successful appeals is being aware of the relevant Immigration Rules. Our immigration solicitors in London guide Applicants through the requirements and prepare detailed grounds of appeal, witness statements and in support of the appeal. Our team of solicitors also provides multiple substantial reviews of the appeal hearing bundle to ensure that the correct documentary evidence is submitted. We also prepare and assist with the submission of the Notice of Appeal.
Using our immigration solicitors to submit EEA Residence Card appeals
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit an EEA Residence Card appeal.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications, which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your EEA Residence Card appeal succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided with the appeal hearing bundle.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that EEA Residence Card appeal meets the Immigration Rules.
Successful EEA Residence Card appeals with our immigration solicitors
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your EEA Residence Card appeal before your matter even reaches the First-tier Tribunal. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of your application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. LEXVISA is just minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice, and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to a successful EEA Residence Card appeal. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.