In certain cases, if you are not an EEA national but you are a family member of an EEA national, you enjoy the same rights of residence of a EEA national.

Family Permit

However, to enter the UK you need to apply online for a EEA Family Permit from outside the UK. It is free and valid for 6 months and it allows you leave and enter the UK as many times as you need within that time.

Residence Card

You can also live longer in the UK as a family member of an EEA national that has the right to reside in the UK for more than 3 months or the right to permanent residence (see above). However, you might need to apply for a Residence Card to confirm your right of residence in the UK. It will normally be valid for 5 years but it won’t be valid when the UK leaves the UE. To apply for the residence card you need to fill in form EEA(FM) for family members or form EEA(EFM) for extended family members. The cost of the application is £65.

Permanent Residence Card

After 5 years of continuous residence in the UK in accordance with the regulations, you will also acquire the right to permanent residence and you will be issued a Permanent Residence Card. However, this it won’t be valid anymore when the UK leaves the UE.

You enjoy these rights if you are either:

  1. A family member of the EEA national, which are defined as:
  • spouse (husband or wife) or civil partner;
  • direct descendants of yours or your spouse/civil partner’s who are under 21 years of age or are dependent (this includes stepchildren or adopted children provided that the adoption is recognised by UK law);
  • dependents in the ascending line (parents or grandparents) of yours or your spouse/civil partner’s
  • more distant family members of yours or your spouse/civil partner’s who can demonstrate that they are dependent
  • partners who are not in a civil partnership, but who can show that they are in a ‘durable relationship’ with you.

As a family member you don’t need to apply for a Residence Card, but you can if you wish to as it will help you to prove your rights and to access benefits and services. You also don’t need to apply for a Permanent Residence Card, but this is necessary if in the future you want to apply for British Citizenship.

  1. An extended family member, defined as:
  • the unmarried partner of the EEA national and you’re in a lasting relationship with them that’s similar to a marriage or civil partnership
  • a relative of the EEA national (or of their spouse or civil partner) but you don’t qualify as their family member. Relatives include brothers or sisters, aunts or uncles, nephews or nieces and cousins. Relatives can also include grandchildren, parents and grandparents if the EEA national only has the right to reside as a student. As well as being a relative of the EEA national, you must also either:
  • before coming to the UK you were dependent on the EEA national, or were a member of the EEA national’s household, and you’re still dependent on them or are still a member of their household
  • you need the personal care of the EEA national (or of their spouse or civil partner) on serious health grounds.
  1. You have a “derivative right of residence” as the:
  • primary carer of an EEA child in the UK who is financially independent.
  • child of an EEA former worker and you’re currently in education in the UK
  • primary carer of a child of an EEA former worker and the child is currently in education in the UK
  • primary carer of a British child
  • primary carer of a British dependent adult
  • child of a primary carer who qualifies through one of these categories

You are considered a “primary carer” if you have responsibility for the day to day care of a person, including making decisions about their education, health, and finances. You must be a family member or their legal guardian, and can be their main carer or share that responsibility with someone else.

  1. You meet the conditions for a “Surinder Singh application” because:
  • You have lived regularly and integrated in another EEA country together with a British national who is either:
    • Your spouse or civil partner; or
    • Your parent or grandparent (or their spouse or civil partner) and you are under 21 years old and dependent on them; or
    • Your child or grandchild (or their spouse or civil partner) and you are dependent on them.
  1. You have a “retained right of residence” when you previously had a right of residence as a family member of a EEA national, and either:
    • Your marriage or civil partnership to that person has ended when you were in the UK, and either:
  • the marriage or civil partnership lasted at least 3 years before legal proceedings began and the couple lived in the UK for at least 1 year before the divorce, annulment or dissolution was finalised; or
  • you have custody of a child of the EEA national;
  • you have access rights to a child of the EEA national, provided the child is under 18 and a judge has ordered that access must take place in the UK; or
      • you, or a family member, have been a victim of domestic violence during the marriage or civil partnership, or there are other particularly difficult circumstances which justify retaining the right of residence; or
    • that person has died and you had lived in the UK for at least 1 year before they died; or
    • you’re the child of an EEA national who has died or left the UK, or the child of their spouse or civil partner, or former spouse or civil partner, you were in education when that person died or left the UK, and you continue to be in education; or
    • you’re the parent and have custody of a child who has a retained right of residence because they’re in education in the UK.