EEA Residence Card

The Residence card is the evidence of right to live which already exits. It is issued to family members who are not members of the European Union or the European Economic Area but who are living in a family with an EEA citizen who exercises his Treaty rights. A residence card allows right of entry and is usually issued for a period of 5 years and grants employment and self-employment.

Non EEA nationals living in the UK as a family member of EEA national exercising the treaty rights can apply for the EEA Residence Card. The application for EEA residence card can be made if you are already in the UK. If you are applying from outside the UK to join your EEA national family member, you should instead apply for an EEA family permit. EEA Residence Card applications are currently optional for family members of an EEA or Swiss national but it can be helpful to prove rights for employment and qualify for certain benefits and services in the UK. The EEA Residence Card applications are however compulsory for extended family members of EEA or Swiss nationals.

You can apply for a residence card if you’re both:

  • From outside theEuropean Economic Area (EEA)
  • The family member, or extended family member, of anEEA national who is a permanent resident or a qualified person.
  • You may also be eligible for a residence card if you have a ‘retained right of residence’ or apply as a ‘Surinder Singh’ case.

You can apply for an EEA Residence Card if you are a family member or an extended family member of an EEA national. Family members include:

  • spouses/civil partners of an EEA national,
  • their (or their spouse or civil partner’s) children or grandchildren under the age of 21,
  • their (or their spouse or civil partner’s) dependant parents or grandparents.

Extended family members are unmarried partners in a “durable” relationship with an EEA national or other relatives of EEA national or their spouse/civil partner that satisfy a number of additional conditions. While there is no definition of “durable” relationship in the Regulations, Home Office implements their own guidance to assess whether the relationship is “durable”, which must be shown through a cohabitation of at least 2 years. Since EEA Regulations 2016 have been introduced in February 2017, there is no longer a right for appeal for extended family members.

EEA Regulations 2016 introduced another important change to the appeal rights. New regulations will restrict the right to appeal for EEA applications where the Home Office considers that the marriage is one of convenience.

Non-EEA family members who then wish to appeal that decision will have to leave the UK and lodge an appeal from overseas. Considering that appeals can take up to 15 months to be heard, this change could be quite significant for genuine applicants whose applications were incorrectly refused.

There is not an absolute legal requirement for a qualifying non-EEA family member to hold an EEA Residence Card but it can be very useful for proving their immigration status, especially when they have left the UK and are attempting to re-enter or to prove to employers their right to work in the UK.

An EEA Residence Card is granted for a period of five years and the visa holder is entitled to work in the UK.

Our team of experts at City Legal Services deals with resident card applications on a day to day basis and we make sure that our clients are able to exercise their rights without interruptions. At City Legal, our expert EEA Immigration advisers can assist you in preparing your case and making a successful application. For more details, please give us a call on 0330 058 3929.