An EEA Family Permit is a formal document issued to non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006. An EEA Family Permit grants non-EEA family members permission to join their EEA family members in the UK. If you are granted an EEA Family Permit it will be valid for up to 6 months and you will then be able to submit an EEA Residence Card application to extend your stay in the UK. EEA nationals can apply for an EEA Registration Certificate to certify their residence in the UK.Legal advice on EEA Family Permit Applications from LEXVISA London Immigration Solicitors
EEA Family Permit: What is it and who is it for?
Normally, non-EEA nationals who are family members of EEA nationals can apply for a EEA family permit, such that they may travel to the UK freely with their EEA national family member. Once you have been granted an EEA family permit, it will be valid for 6 months and you will be allowed to live and work in the UK.
After the 6 months validity, you may apply for a Residence Card such that it makes it easier to prove your right to work and live in the UK. A direct family member of an EEA national will not necessarily need to apply for a Residence Card after the family permit expires, however, extended family members will be required to apply for one or else they will be considered as an overstayer.
EEA Family Permit: What is the ‘Surinder Singh’ Route?
The rules governing EEA family permits is the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, instead of the Immigration Rules. Generally, an EEA national will not be considered as excersing Treaty rights in their own country. Hence, the family memebrs of British citizens do not qualify for a EEA family permit under EEA Regulations.
However, if a British national has excercised treaty rights in another Member State and wishes to return to their own State, their non-EEA family members may qualify for entry clearance under EEA Regulations.
EEA Family Permit: The case of Surinder Singh
The case of Surinder Singh concerns an Indian national who was married to a British national. The couple was employed and working in Germany for a long period of time before they decided to return to the UK. The case in point arose was that whether the spouse of a national of a Member State, who has exercised Treaty rights in another Member State, is entitled to enter and remain in the EEA national’s home State.
The judgement was that a non EEA family member of a British national will be entitled to join their British national family member under European Community law, if and only if, they satisfy the criteria establised in the Surinder Singh case.
The first criteria is that the British national must be exercising an economic Treaty right in another Member State. Hence, they must have been residing in another Member State as a worker or self-employed person or have been doing so before retunring to the UK. Further, if the non EEA family member is a applying as a spouse or partner, they must be living together in the EEA country or must have entered into a marriage or civil partnership and have been living in the relevant EEA country before the Birish national returned to the UK.
EEA Family Permit: New Regulations of Surinder Singh cases
The new Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 will mostly be coming into force from 1 February 2017. However, Regulation 44 and Schedule 5, in relation to Surinder Singh cases has come into force on 25 November 2016.
The new Regulations provide a reason of refusal and will not apply to:
(a) where the purpose of the residence in the EEA State was as a means for circumventing any immigration laws applying to non-EEA nationals to which family members would otherwise be subject (such as any applicable requirement under the 1971 Act to have leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom); or
(b)to a person who is only eligible to be treated as a family member as a result of regulation 7(3) (extended family members treated as family members).
This essentially puts a higher threshold of evidential burden on the applicant to prove that they are in a genuine relationship with the British national in question. Further, the genuieness of theie residency with the British national in a Member State will be stricter scrutinised. If you are unsure as to whether you meet the requirements, please always contact our immigration team for specialist advice.
Brexit Impact on EEA Family Permit Applications
The UK will continue to be a party to the European Union until prime minister Theresa May officially initiates separation proceedings by summoning Article 50. Following the aftermath of Brexit, it is clear there are considerable concerns for EEA nationals and their family members in relation to their future in the UK.
However, it is important to note that there have been no immediate changes to the current UK immigration laws but as a direct consequence of the referendum, there has been an unprecedented increase of Family Permit and Residence Card applications causing excessive delays in the processing times. Whilst there are no immediate changes it is evident that there will be some changes to the current UK immigration rules.
Successful EEA Family Permit Applications
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 applications before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration or visa 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. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. 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.