Securing the rights of EU nationals

The European Economic Area (EEA) is a group of 30 countries*, whose nationals are allowed to work and live in the UK, by exercising their rights of residence. This means that if you are an EU national, you can reside or seek employment in any EU member state you want, including the UK. You also have the right to ask for immediate family members to join you in the UK, if this is the country you choose to reside and work in.

Family members are considered to be (1) partners, (2) children (including adopted offspring), (3) grandchildren, (4) dependent (to some extent to you or your partner) parents, and (5) dependent (to some extent to you or your partner) grandparents. Unmarried partners are usually considered as extended family members. However, their application could be considered if they are in a lasting and continuous relationship with the individual already residing in the UK, and fulfil certain other criteria.

Extended family members, such as siblings and cousins do not have the automatic right to live in the UK. There are additional requirements that they have to meet first so that they can obtain the right of residence.

Non-EU family members

If your family members are not either EEA or Swiss nationals, you may need to apply for an EEA family permit, which is similar to a visa, so that they can come to the UK. They may also come with you or join you in the UK; however, there are certain restrictions. The only case when a non-EEA national family member need not apply for an EEA family permit is when that person is living in the UK and can provide evidence of residence that proves their right to do so.

In general, a family member of a British citizen that is not an EU national does not enter the country using an EEA family permit, although the UK is a member state of the EEA. Nevertheless, Non-EEA family members of a British citizen that live abroad (for example a Brazilian married to a  British person living in Spain)  can apply for EEA family permit to join their relative in the UK when they decide to return to the UK, as long as the UK relative has been living in an EEA member state either as self-employed individual or worker and that the family member has been living with the British citizen in the EEA country, this particular type of application is known as a ‘Surinder Singh’ case.

*The EEA consists of: Austria, Bulgaria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Greece, Germany, France, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malta, Luxembourg, Poland, Norway, Romania, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Slovenia, and Sweden.

If you need assistance with understanding and exercising your rights as an EU national, kindly contact us. Our immigration solicitors in London possess a wealth of experience in cases like yours and will work with you to find the best solution for you and your family.


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