EEA family permit

A non-EEA family member of an EEA national may be able to apply outside the UK for an EEA Family Permit to join their EEA family member in the UK if their EEA family member is exercising Treaty rights.

Or they may be able to apply to come to the UK with their EEA family member if their EEA family member is coming to the UK for the purpose of exercising Treaty rights.

There is no requirement to apply for an EEA Family Permit to enter the UK, it can, for example, be issued at the UK border.

However, applying for Family Permit in advance will simplify entry and avoid the conflict with the airline, where they may not allow a passenger to board the plane in the absence of a valid visa.

An EEA Family Permit is granted for a period of six months and the visa holder is entitled to work in the UK.

After arriving in the UK, a non-EEA national family member will have to prepare and submit the application for an EEA Residence Card, which will be issued for a period of 5 years.

After 5 years the person may be eligible to apply for an EEA Permanent Residence in the UK.

Who can apply for an EEA Family Permit?

The requirements for those who are eligible to apply for an EEA family permit are very similar to a Residence Card application. In order to apply, you must be one of the following:

  • Direct family member of an EEA national, i.e. spouse / civil partner.
  • Dependant parent or grandparent of an EEA national or their spouse / civil partner.
  • Extended family member, i.e. unmarried partner or other dependant relatives. 
  • Applicant with a derivative right of residence. 

Processing Times for EU Family Permit

The processing times will vary depending on where the application for an EEA family permit is submitted. Standard processing times are up to 6 months. Most application are however decided in 1-3 months. 

What to do if Your Application is Refused?

If your family permit application is refused, you will normally get a full right of appeal. Please refer to our page on appealing UK visa refusal. However, before decided on how to proceed, it is strongly advisable to speak to an immigration lawyer. 

Applying for a Family Permit

The application process will differ depending on where the application for an EEA family permit is submitted from and on what basis you will be submitting an application. Supporting documentary for a family permit evidence may also vary depending on your personal circumstances.

FAQs

What documents do I need for EEA Family Permit?

The required documentary evidence will differ depending on what basis the application is submitted. The mandatory evidence includes, proof of ID of the EEA national and the non-EEA national applicant, evidence of relationship, and evidence off EEA national being “qualified person” (if in the UK).
How long is an EEA Family Permit valid for?

The family permit is issued for a period of 6 months and allows the holder to travel to the UK.
Can I travel to Europe with an EEA Family Permit?

Certain EU countries accept an EU residence document issued in a member state as proof of required visa. However, it is always advisable to confirm with the embassy of the country you wish to travel to.
Can I extend an EEA Family Permit?

It is not possible to extend a family permit, once in the UK, you will need to submit an application for a Residence Card. It is always possible, of course, to apply again for a Family Permit from overseas if needed.
Can I work on EEA Family Permit?

It is possible to start work on a family permit, as long as your EU sponsor is in the UK exercising treaty rights or has permanent residence.

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