An EEA family permit is a permit used for nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who are family members of EEA nationals.
Who is a family member?
The range of family members entitled to join the EEA citizen depends on whether the EEA citizen is exercising the right of residence. The EC Directive provides that the general right of residence for less than 3 months extends to family members regardless of whether they themselves are nationals of an EU member state or not. Family members are categorized as follows:
Article 3 further provides for entry and residence to be facilitated for:
The main limitation for family members is that for a EU citizen who is studying, the right of residence can be extended only to a spouse, a registered partner and dependent children, although it may be possible to facilitate under Article 3 the relatives in the directly ascending line of the EU citizen, his spouse or registered partner. It is important to note that the rights of the non-EEA family member are derived from their relationship with a qualified family member and if the EEA national is not a qualified person under the Directive, the family member loses their secondary rights.
Who is a qualified EEA national?
Under the provisions of the Directive, all EEA nationals have an initial right of residence in the UK for a period of 3 months without any conditions or formalities other than the requirement to hold a valid passport. The right exists where people are moving from one state to another but if they seek to establish a right of residence for more than 3 months they must then fall into one of the categories of persons set out in the Directive who are permitted to reside. The categories of those who can have a right of residence for longer than 3 months are:
The term worker is broadly interpreted to include not only full-time employment but part-time job employment provided it satisfies the test of employment propounded by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The ECJ has emphasised in a series of decisions that the proper test in determining qualifying employment was whether the employed activity was effective and genuine and not merely marginal and ancillary. The Directive further provides that a person can stay on as a “worker” after having been employed if they are:
On the production of evidence of employment, this person must be issued with a registration certificate as confirmation that they have the right of residence.
A person who claims to be a qualified person under this category must be self-employed and registered for income tax and national insurance purposes as a self-employed with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). A self-employed person who is temporarily unable to continue self-employment owing to accident or illness will not lose their status as qualified person.
To qualify as a student, the person must:
A person is self-sufficient if they have enough money to pay for their living expenses without being reliant on public funds in the UK and has comprehensive sickness insurance cover in the UK. To qualify under this category, the person must be able to show more than the maximum level of resources which a UK national and their family members can have in order to qualify for social assistance under the UK benefits system.
Applying for EEA family permit
A non-EEA family member who applies for a EEA family permit on the basis of a qualifying EEA relative must provide documents in proof of the claimed relationship. These may include:
Evidence that the EEA national is a qualified person
If the EEA national has lived in the UK for more than 3 months, they must provide evidence that they are a qualified person. This evidence could include:
An application for an EEA family permit may be refused on any of the following if: