On 1st June 2009, the UK Border Agency brought an important change into effect regarding the processing of a range of visa-related applications.
The core change is that applications for registration certificates, residence cards, family member residence stamps and confirmation of permanent residence in the United Kingdome by European nationals and their families will now be checked for accurate completion as soon as they are received by the UK Border Agency.
The implication of this immediate analysis is that applications that are not considered to be correctly completed and with all the relevant, required documentation will be returned to the applicant, with the application rejected. This can mean that applications submitted for families will be rejected in their entirety, if one or more pieces of supporting evidence are not supplied.
Under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, the applications for individuals and families will only be considered full and complete if they adhere to the following rules:
- Applications must be submitted on the latest appropriate form;
- All required photographs of individuals and family members, as appropriate, must be included and within the photograph rules;
- All original documents, as required, must be included with the application;
- All appropriate sections of the application form must be completed; and
- The declaration section on the application form must be signed and dated.
For individuals and families wishing to apply for a registration certificate, residence card, family member residence stamp or confirmation of permanent residence in the United Kingdom, it is worth noting that, as a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you are entitled to apply, as long as you complete the application within the above rules.
A registration certificate confirms individuals and families right of residence in the UK under European law, although you are not required to have this document in order to enter, live in or work in the UK. For your application to be considered complete, you must have a valid identity card or passport, issued by an EEA country or Switzerland and have evidence that you are a qualified person, details of which are available on the UK Border Agency website.
Residence cards are given to those family members that are not themselves nationals of an EEA country or Switzerland, but came to the UK with a family member that is a national of one or other of these options. The residence card is valid for five years and confirms right of residence. In order to obtain this card, you must be able to prove the EEA or Swiss national status of your family member and have a valid passport.
Residence cards are not immediately available to family members of nationals of certain EEA countries (primarily recently-joined EEA countries) who are yet to have worked in the UK for a continuous period of 12-months. Therefore, those non-EEA family members of EEA nationals who are not eligible for a residence card may instead apply for family member residence stamps (FMRS) to confirm their right of residence in the UK.
Permanent residence can be applied for following a period of five years of continually living in the UK, with solid employment, self-employment, studying or self-sufficiency throughout this time. Further information is available on what constitutes continual living. For EEA or Swiss nationals, the document has no expiry date and a valid passport and evidence of your right to permanent residence is required to complete your application.
Please note that in all the above cases, if your passport is already with the Home Office and, consequently, you are unable to include it in your application, you must provide full details of this, including your Home Office reference number, to avoid your application being rejected.