A European Economic Area (EEA) family permit is an immigration document that makes it faster and easier for you to enter the UK as a family member of a citizen of an EEA agreement.
It is issued by UK immigration under the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006.
Without an EEA family permit, you may not be given a boarding pass and it is possible that you could experience significant delays. You may even be refused entry to the UK.
Who is eligible to apply for an EEA family permit?
You can apply for an EEA family permit to enter the UK provided you are both:
- From outside the EEA
- The immediate or extended family member of an EEA national.
You may also be eligible to apply in other ways:
- With a ‘derivative right of residence’: you are the carer of someone who has the right to be in the UK, the carer’s child or the child of an EEA national who previously worked in the UK
- Under the ‘Surinder Singh’ judgment: you are the family member of a British citizen who has lived and worked in another EEA country
- With a ‘retained right of residence’: you have the right to stay in the UK as the family member of an EEA national who has died, left the UK or is no longer your spouse or civil partner.
How long is an EEA family permit valid for?
An EEA family permit lasts for six months.
During its period of validity, you can leave and re-enter the UK as many times as you wish.
Can you stay in the UK after your EEA family permit expires?
After your EEA family permit expires, you can stay in the UK if you meet any of the following conditions. You:
- Are the family member of an EEA national
- Qualify under the Surinder Singh judgment
- Have a retained right of residence
- Have a derivative right of residence.
Unless you are an ‘extended’ EEA family member, it is not mandatory to apply for a residence card (or derivative residence card) in order to confirm your right to live and work in the UK.
How do you apply for an EEA family permit?
To apply for an EEA family permit, you must:
- be outside the UK
- apply online (You cannot apply if you are North Korean and living in North Korea. In this case, you should download the form and send it to your local visa application centre).
What documents must you provide to apply for an EEA family permit?
You must provide the following documents to apply for an EEA family permit:
- a valid passport
- one passport-sized colour photograph
- evidence of your relationship to your EEA family member – for example, marriage or civil partnership certificate
- your family member’s passport or national identity card (or a certified copy if this cannot be provided)
- proof of your dependency (if you are dependent on your EEA family member).
You must demonstrate that your EEA family member has a permanent right of residence or falls into one of the following categories if they have been in the UK for more than three months:
- in employment (for instance, an employment contract or wage slips)
- self-employed (such as contracts or invoices)
- studying (for example, a letter from the learning institution)
- financially independent (such as bank statements).
In addition, your EEA family member must possess full health insurance cover if they are studying or financially independent.
How much does an EEA family permit cost?
There is no charge for an EEA family permit.
If you need help applying for an EEA family permit you can contact an immigration solicitor through our solicitor directory here.
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