EEA family permit: eligibility requirements

Assessment formAssessment form

In order to qualify for an EEA family permit to live and work in the UK, spouses and unmarried partners of EEA nationals must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • The sponsor must be an EEA national, or a Swiss national, who is exercising or wishes to exercise, rights of free movement under the Treaty of Rome in the UK.
  • EEA nationals who have been in the UK or plan to remain in the UK for more than 3 months, must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) officials that they are “qualified sponsors”, e.g. a jobseeker, worker, self-employed individual, financially self-sufficient, or student.
  • Partners must have personally met each other prior to sponsorship.
  • In case of a de facto (unmarried) partnership, the EEA sponsor and their partner must have been living together in a durable relationship for at least 2 years prior to sponsorship.
  • If you apply for an EEA family permit as a married couple, your marriage must be valid under the laws of the country in which it took place and under UK law.
  • You must be in a genuine relationship and intend to continue living together permanently after an EEA family permit has been granted.

The initial permit is valid for six months (employment authorised). Once in the UK, the EEA family permit holder may apply for a 5-year residence card to confirm their right to live in the UK.

According to the amended immigration Rules (2002), eligible EEA nationals who are present and settled in the UK may sponsor a non-EEA national to immigrate to the United Kingdom on a fiancee or proposed civil partner visa under the settlement visa category. Alternatively, they may choose to marry outside of the UK and apply for an EEA family permit. It should be noted that unlike settlement visa applications, EEA family permit cases are processed by the UK immigration authorities without charge.

You may choose not to use the EEA family permit scheme if your wife, husband or partner is a non-visa national, and will travel to the UK as a temporary visitor, AND will stay in the UK for less than 6 months, AND will not seek to obtain gainful employment while in the UK. Your spouse or partner, however, must apply for an entry clearance if she or he is from a country whose nationals need a visa to travel to the UK.

If you wish to marry in the UK and have no intention to settle in the UK after the marriage, you may want to learn more about the “visit for marriage” visa category.

Please feel free to contact us about our EEA family permit services.

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