EEA Family Permit

September 12, 2018

Muldoon Britton were recently successful in obtaining an EEA Family Permit for a client. The client was a US National, married to a Dutch National who had been working and living in the UK for several years. The client was unaware of their rights as the spouse of a citizen of a contracting state to the European Economic Area agreement, and Muldoon Britton advised the client of their right to join their spouse in the UK.

An EEA Family Permit is an immigration document that assists the holder to enter the United Kingdom. The permit must be applied for from outside the UK, in the applicant’s country of legal residency.

You may be able to apply for an EEA permit to come to the UK if you’re both:

  • From outside the EEA and;

  • The family member or ‘extended’ family member of an EEA national.

There is no fee – an EEA family permit is free, and there is no immigration health surcharge attached to the application, making it vastly different from a family settlement visa.

An EEA Family Permit will be valid for 6 months only. You can leave and enter the UK as many times as you need within that timeframe.

You are permitted to work in the UK as soon as you are granted the permit and you can stay in the UK after your family permit expires if you are the family member of an EEA national, and meet certain eligibility criteria:

    1. The EEA citizen you’re joining must either:

      1. Be in the UK already, or

      2. Be travelling with you to the UK within 6 months of the date of your application.

    2. If they’ve been in the UK for more than 3 months they must either:

      1. Be a qualified person (working, looking for work, self-employed, studying or self-sufficient) or;

      2. Have a permanent right of residence.

    3. You are encouraged to apply for a UK residence card at the end of the 6-month period to confirm your eligibility to live and work in the UK.

    4. The EEA National must have comprehensive sickness insurance if they are studying or self-sufficient.

The client’s spouse had been living and working in the UK for several years, making them a ‘qualified person’. Muldoon Britton compiled a bundle of documents for the client, which included the following documents; a letter from the EEA National’s employer, payslips, bank statements, evidence of available accommodation, and relationship evidence. This list is not exhaustive, and applicants should read the guidance carefully to ascertain which documents they will need to include with their application.

Once the client was issued the vignette sticker in their passport, they travelled to the UK to join their spouse and intended to commence employment in the UK immediately. The client then faced difficulty when their employer demanded they produce a UK Residence Card, confirming entitlement to live and work in the UK. Our client had already applied for a National Insurance Number, which would not have been granted if they could not legally work in the UK, but the employer was adamant that a UK Residence Card must be produced. Muldoon Britton advised the client that direct family members of EEA Nationals are not required to produce a residence card as per Article 25 of Directive 2004/38/EC which states the following:

Article 25

General provisions concerning residence documents

  1. Possession of a registration certificate as referred to in Article 8, of a document certifying permanent residence, of a certificate attesting submission of an application for a family member residence card, of a residence card or of a permanent residence card, may under no circumstances be made a precondition for the exercise of a right or the completion of an administrative formality, as entitlement to rights may be attested by any other means of proof.
  2. All documents mentioned in paragraph 1 shall be issued free of charge or for a charge not exceeding that imposed on nationals for the issuing of similar documents.

Despite informing their employer of the above, the client was unable to secure a position within the company’s London office due to the company’s policies concerning foreign nationals.

You do not need to apply for a residence card as a family member of an EEA or Swiss national, but it can:

a. help you re-enter the country more quickly and easily if you travel abroad

b. show employers you’re allowed to work in the UK

c. help prove you qualify for certain benefits and services

A residence card usually lasts up to 5 years. However, UK residence cards will not be valid after 31 December 2020. A new ‘scheme’ is set to be put in place in March 2019 that will allow EEA Nationals and their family members to apply for ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status, however policy guidance has yet to be released for the new scheme.

Should you wish to discuss the requirements for an EEA Family Permit, please contact Muldoon Britton on +44 161 826 6922 or +1 212 653 0677.

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