European Economic Area (EEA) and European Union (EU) nationals are allowed to freely travel to the UK to find work, study or retire. Under the Treaty of Rome they are treated in a different manner to visa nationals. Visa nationals are people from a country such as Thailand who would normally need a visa to enter the UK.
European dependents applications are NOT dealt with under the UK's Immigration Rules and cannot be refused under these rules. They are dealt with only under EU legislation. There is no requirement to have previously lived in another EU state before you can apply to come to the UK.
The EEA/EU Countries Are:
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland (Eire), Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
Whilst the United Kingdom is a member state the provisions of the Treaty do NOT apply to British Citizens applying to bring a visa national in to the UK. Under the Treaty Swiss nationals are treated in the same way as other EEA/EU nationals.
WIFE/HUSBAND/OR CHILDREN aged below 21
An EEA/EU national who is exercising a Treaty right to either work in the UK, study or retire in the UK may apply for a Family Permit to allow their visa national spouse or children to live with them in the UK.
A family permit is valid initially for six months and can be post-dated for up to three months after the date of application. If you are working or retired in the UK children over 21 years of age may be admitted if they are not leading a separate family life and are proven to be financially dependent on you.
This applies to the children of the visa national party as the children of the European party normally have the automatic right to be in the UK. If you are not working in the UK you will need to prove that you have sufficient funds available to support your family without recourse to Public Funds.
A Family Permit takes the place of an ordinary UK entry visa and it is a visa under a different name but it does not act in the same way as a visa which is normally issued for a specific time or purpose and comes with restrictions.
If you hold British Citizenship and nationality of another EU country and are living in the UK you can now only apply as a British Citizen.
GROUNDS FOR REFUSAL OF A FAMILY PERMIT
If the Entry Clearance Officer feels that the marriage is purely one of convenience for immigration purposes.
If the EU spouse does not have the right to reside in the UK.
If the EU spouse cannot prove that they are exercising their Treaty Rights in the UK.
If any documents presented are forged, false or deliberately misleading.
If any false statements are made by the EU spouse or the visa national applicant in connection with the application.
If refusal would be in the Public interest.
Refusal cannot be made under the UK Immigration Rules.
SAME SEX PARTNERS OR UNMARRIED PARTNERS
There are currently no family permits available under the Treaty in these categories. There is a proposal under consideration by the EU Parliament that may allow these and details of a change in the law are expected to be announced.
FIANCE or FIANCEE
There are no provisions for a Fiancee under EU regulations. The normal application and fees due for a British Citizen making an application for a fiancee visa apply.
EU students may only apply to have their spouse or dependent children to join them in the UK. A student may take up employment in the UK but may have to register under the Workers Registration Scheme.
The visa national family member is initially allowed to enter the UK for up to six months. During that time an application for a residency permit must be made to the UKBA on form EEA 2. This can take up to six months to process but when the application has been received by the UK Border Agency a letter will be issued stating the permission of the holder to remain and work in the UK.
A residency permit is normally valid for five years but may be less if the person exercising the Treaty right is in the UK for a shorter period or holds a residency permit valid for less than five years.
If the EU/EEA person has not already done so he or she can make an application for a residency permit at the same time as the visa national does so. Once a residency permit has been issued the visa national will not have to apply for a new Family Permit each time they leave the UK and wish to return.
PERMANENT RESIDENCY IN THE UK
The visa national may apply in their own right for permanent residency in the UK after living in the UK for five years. One year after permanent residency has been granted British Citizenship may be applied for and thereafter a British passport. This is an option and is not a requirement.
OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS
Grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters may be allowed entry on a family permit depending on the circumstances. Generally speaking proof will be required that they were either living with you prior to your coming to live in the UK or that they are financially dependent on you.
LIVING AND WORKING IN THE UK
The visa national may study or work in the UK if desired without the need for a work permit but is subject to the normal UK rules regarding taxation and National Health Insurance (NHI) contributions. There is no requirement to register with the Police.
Workers from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia must be registered under the Worker Registration Scheme. After 12 months of working in the UK they can get a residence permit and will have full rights to free movement.
TRAVEL WITHIN EEA/EU COUNTRIES
As a general rule a visa national with a British residency document will be allowed to travel freely within the EEA/EU without the need for a separate visa or Schengen visa.
However this does not confer the right to settle in another EEA/EU country. Normally the residency document and the passport of the visa national are required to be shown at immigration. However each country does have different immigration rules and you should always check the current regulations with the visa section of the UK based embassy of the country you intend to visit well in advance of travelling.
Immigration rules for every country are constantly changing. We can only advise on UK immigration rules. A UK Family Permit does NOT allow entry to another EU country and is valid for ONE entry only in to the UK.
LOSING THE RIGHT TO REMAIN IN THE UK
Unless permanent UK residency status has already been granted to the visa national family members residency status may be lost if the EEA/EU person loses the right to live in the UK, if you leave the UK permanently, if the EEA/EU person or the visa national are not working and cannot live without support from Public Funds, if you divorce.
A Family Permit can be used as a tourist visa if the eligible family member is intending on spending less than six months in the UK.
UK RESIDENTS WORKING IN OTHER EU COUNTRIES
A UK Citizen who is working or otherwise exercising his treaty rights in another European state may bring his wife and/or children to that state using the EU scheme and then later apply under EU regulations to bring his wife and family to the UK without the need to apply for the usual UK visa when he moves back to the UK.
Our service is similar to that outlined on our UK Visas page but with specific reference to Treaty rights. We supply and complete the forms on your behalf, brief the applicant , offer a ‘mock’ interview, and advise you of the full documentation required in your individual case.
We charge for each Family Permit application and all children under 16 years of age who are included at the time of the application for the spouse are free of charge. There is no fee payable to the Embassy.
After arrival in the UK we can apply for a residency document on behalf of the foreign national or the EEA/EU national if they do not have one. There are no further fees payable to the UKBA.
Please contact us for assistance.
For current fees payable please see our Fees Scale page.