EEA Family Permit

The EEA family permit enables the Non-EEA nationals to join their family in the UK.A European Economic Area Family Permit is an immigration document that assists the holder to enter the United Kingdom as a family member of a citizen of a contracting state to the European Economic Area agreement or a Swiss citizen.

The European nationals who intend to bring their family members to the UK must be exercising “Treaty Rights”, meaning European nationals must either have a job, be self-employed or self-sufficient or a student and they or their family members must not be receiving any public funds. Hence, European nations as long as they sustain their Treaty rights, their family members can stay with them in the UK.

You can apply for an EEA family permit to come to the UK if you’re both from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or the family member or ‘extended’ family member of an EEA national.

Eligibility Requirements:

In order to qualify for an EEA Family Permit you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You are a citizen of a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA);
  • Your family member is an EEA national (but normally not British);
  • You are related to the EEA national in one of the following ways:
    • you are the family member of the EEA national such as their husband, wife, civil or unmarried partner, parent, grandparent, child or grandchild; or
    • you are an extended family member of the EEA national, for example their unmarried partner in a durable relationship, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, cousin, etc.; or
    • you are the main carer of a British citizen or a child who is an EEA national;
  • Your EEA national family member is travelling with you to the UK; or
  • Your family member is in the UK and, if they have lived in the UK for more than three months, is exercising Treaty rights as a worker, self-employed person, self-sufficient person, or as a jobseeker.


Under the EU Regulations on Free Movement of people, The Surinder Singh route enables British Citizens to reunite with their family members who are Non-EU nationals .The Surinder Singh rule involves living and working elsewhere in the EEA for a period of three months or more and the non- EEA spouse must be living with them in the particular country.

It is pertinent to mention that the Surinder Singh route is helpful for the low income group citizens who are unable to meet the financial requirement of £18,600.However the new EU rules could tighten the Surinder Singh Route for the foreign born spouse which means it will be even more difficult for the families to be reunited.

1) A British citizen must go and work in another EU member state (or be self-employed) before returning to the UK.

2) For a minimum period of 3 months but the longer the better.

3) ‘Centre of life’ must be transferred to that EU member state.

4) In case of spouses and civil partners, UK and non-EU spouse/civil partner must have lived together in that EU member state and been married before returning to the UK.


In some circumstances it is possible for a Non-EEA family member to retain their right of residence. Such family members are usually allowed to live and work in the UK without restrictions.  Under the Immigration (EEA) Regulations, certain family members of EEA nationals who are exercising free movement rights in the UK are allowed to live in the UK when :

  1. The EEA national dies
  2. Leaves the UK
  3. Divorces their spouse or ends the civil partnership.
  4. The family member is a parent of a child who retains the right of residence.

Status of the non-EEA national

To be eligible to retain the right of residence, the non-EEA national must be undertaking activities similar to those of a qualified person. This means they must be either:

  • a worker
  • a self-employed person, or
  • a self-sufficient person.

An EEA Family Permit is valid for six months.  EEA Family Permit holders are free to leave and enter the UK as many times as they wish within that six month period. There is no fee payable to apply for an EEA Family Permit and the application will be given priority by UK Visas & Immigration. At the end of the six month period as an EEA Family Permit holder, you may be eligible to apply for an EEA Residence Card as confirmation of your right of residence in the UK.

Please contact one of our expert Immigration lawyers on 0330 058 3929 to discuss more.