EEA Family and Residence Permit
What is an EEA Family and Residence Permit?
Under European Law, citizens of EEA countries have the right to live and work at their will in the UK. Family members or spouses of the EEA National also have the right to live and work in the UK like the an EEA national even if they do not belong to an EEA nation themselves.
A citizen of an EEA country taking up residency in the UK is also permitted to bring their dependent family. Those nationals of any EEA country can enter the UK with minimum documentation and need not apply for entry clearance but may be asked to provide some evidence such as their passport or national identity card for verification. The EEA Family permit is also known as the EU Family Permit, while the Residence Card is also known as an EEA Residence Card.
Conditions of the EEA Family Permit and EEA Residence Permit
Holders of an EEA Family Permit and their dependents are entitled to the right of residence and employment in the UK. The permit enables them to accept any job offers, take up any type of employment, allows them to start their own business, permits them to set up a local branch of a company or manage a company of the UK. No work permit is required for these employment opportunities.
In order to qualify, the applicant should be able to support themselves and their dependents while staying in the UK, and this enables them to live and work here permanently.
The EEA Family Residence Permit is granted for a period of 5 years and the permit holder is entitled to the aforementioned employment opportunities without any restriction. An EEA national has to spend 4 years and 11 months in the UK on the permit provided to him/her. After expiry of 5 years stay in the UK, permit holders are eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
Any EEA/EU citizen who does not have a residence permit and is coming from outside the UK is issued with a 6-month Family Permit. During that period (6 months) they are permitted to undertake unrestricted employment in the UK. The concerned individual may apply for a residence permit within these 6 months along with their dependents for the EEA Family Permit. After completion of five years, the candidate becomes eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Successful applicants after obtaining ILR become eligible to apply for British naturalisation.
Eligibility for a EEA Family and Residence Permit
EEA Residence Permit is offered only to:
Individuals belonging to the EEA member countries. They can get their spouses or dependents to live in the UK if the EEA national is exercising treaty rights that are being a qualified person.
Those EEA nationals who do not have sufficient funds to support themselves and the dependents while in the UK without recourse to public funds for staying for more than three months are not entitled for the residence permit.
Dependents/Family Members of the EEA candidate include:
The spouse or civil partner and parents of the any EEA National, children or grandchildren of any EEA national or their spouse or civil partner, under the age of 21 are all classed as dependent.
Relatives of an EEA national or their family members may also come under the definition of a family member, provided they can prove that they are financially self-sufficient and will not take recourse to the Public Funds in any eventuality.
If the candidate is a student, only his or her spouse or civil partner or any dependent children will be entitled to a right of residence in the United Kingdom.
Anyone residing in the UK Illegally or anyone who has overstayed his/her visa can apply.
The Surinder Singh Route
The ‘Surinder Singh’ route enables British citizens to bring their non-EEA dependant family members to the UK under regulations of the EEA. The strict UK Immigration Rules do not apply to this route. Under Surinder Singh, the British citizen must exercise their treaty right in their capacity as a worker or a self-employed person in another EEA member state. They are then allowed to bring their non-EEA dependent relative to the UK under the EEA Regulations.
This route’s advantage is that one does not have to meet the strict financial requirements under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules affecting applicants and their families.
Under Regulation 9 the centre of the British citizen’s life has transferred to the EEA member state where he/she resided as a worker or self-employed individual. Whether the centre of the British citizen’s life has transferred to another EEA member state will depend on the following factors:
the period of stay in the EEA State as a worker or self-employed person;
the location of the British citizen’s principal residence;
the degree of integration of the British citizen into the EEA State.
O v The Netherlands (Case C-456/12)
This case creates fresh guidelines to the ‘Surinder Singh’ route and has become applicable law for all future cases under the this route. The new guidance now entails that:
There should be at least three months of residence in the EEA state.
The citizen of the Union should potentially benefit and not just workers and self-employed as previously before the guidance were promulgated;
During the period of residence in the EEA state, family life must have been ‘created or strengthened’ and it should not just be via media. Abuse of this rule is not allowed.