UK VISAS, IMMIGRATION ADVICE & BRITISH CITIZENSHIP
POINTS-BASED SYSTEM VISAS
VISAS UNDER EUROPEAN LAW
Family members of European EU/EEA citizens
Definition of a family member under the European law is a lot broader than under the national (British) law. In fact, European law is generally more lenient on most matters!
A Family member under the EU law:
- Spouses, civil partners;
- Children or grandchildren under 21 y.o. (not under 18 y.o. as under the British law) of an EEA national or of his/her spouse, so step-children can qualify as well.
- Parents or grandparents 65 y.o. or over who are dependent, financially or emotionally, on an EEA national or his/her spouse.
- Unmarried partners can qualify under the ‘durable relationship’ category, normally if you have lived together for at least 2 years.
- Some extended family members can qualify (sisters, brothers, uncles, sister-in-law etc as well as those ‘living under the same roof’ ) if they lived with you, as dependants, in another EU member state before coming to the UK.
We strongly advise to book our Advice Session to ensure you qualify a residency document under the European law.
Examples on the issues we can advise during the session: can you work in the UK, can you work on a 6 months Family Permit, can you work while waiting for an EEA Residence Card (a process which often takes up to 6 months), what if your relationship/marriage ends, what if your EEA family member leaves the UK or stops working, can you travel outside the UK and come back, can you apply if you are a visitor (tourist) in the UK, does it matter if you are/were in the UK illegally, how much time can I spend outside the UK to qualify for Permanent Residency in the future and many others.
IF YOUR FAMILY MEMBER IS AN EU/EEA NATIONAL (but not Bulgarian/Romanian):
- If you are an EU national yourself you have the same rights.
- If you are a non-EU national and you are already in the UK: you can apply for an EEA Residence Card. It is for 5 years and allows to work. It takes up to 6 months to process an application and your original passports are held for the whole time. Your EEA family member has to be ‘exercising Treaty rights’, such as working or studying or being self-employed or a jobseeker or retired or self-sufficient.
- If you are a non-EU national, you are outside the UK and you would not normally need a visitor visa to come to the UK (if you are from Australia, Brazil, US, Canada and so on): you can come to the UK without a visa. Once here you can apply for a 5 year EEA Residence Card as above.
- If you are a non-EU national, you are outside the UK and you would normally need a visitor visa to come to the UK (if you are from India, Ukraine, Algeria and so on): you have to apply for an EEA Family Permit at a visa application centre (or British Embassy as applicable). It is issued for 6 months. Once in the UK you can apply for an EEA Residence Card as above.
IF YOUR FAMILY MEMBER IS BULGARIAN/ROMANIAN:
Your status would depend on what a Bulgarian/Romanian family member is doing in the UK:
- if he/she is holding a Purple Registration Certificate (Accession Worker Card) then you can apply for a Family Member Residence Stamp. Once he/she has worked for 12 months you can apply for an EEA Residence Card for 5 years.
- If he/she is self-employed, studying or holding a Yellow/Blue Registration Certificate, or has worked for more than 12 months on the Accession Worker Card, you can apply for an EEA Residence Card for 5 years.
You can apply for a permanent visa stamp (Indefinite Leave to Remain) if you meet the following basic requirements:
- you have spent 5 years in the UK as a family member of an EEA national and
- ‘your’ EEA national has been exercising Treaty rights for the whole 5 years (working, studying, being self-employed etc) and
- you have not been absent from the UK for more than the allowed limit of absences.