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EEA Family Permit

An EEA Family Permit is a document issued to non-EEA nationals living outside the European Union who would like to travel to the UK with an EEA national family member or join an EEA national family member in the UK. It has its legal basis from the Free Movement Directive 2004/38/EC (the Directive).

The aim of the Directive is to enable nationals of member states of the European Community to move freely from one member state to another in order to live, study or work with their families to support the ‘common market’ or in other words, to promote 'Freedom of Movement' between member states, where the Directive is engaged, in pursuance of the economic aim to establish the market.

An EEA family permit is a form of 'entry clearance' to the UK (similar to a visa). It is for nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who are family members of EEA nationals.

The EEA Regulations 2006 permits EEA nationals and their families to enter the UK for up to 3 months. If an EEA national intends to stay for more than 3 months he must either seek work, or work (through both employment or self employment), study or be ‘economically self sufficient’ – these are commonly referred to as pursing an ‘EEA Treaty Right’. If an EEA national pursues an EEA Treaty Right, then his spouse and other family members have the ‘Right’ under EEA law to also live and work in the UK.

The EEA Family Permit should be applied for to a designated British mission overseas. The EEA Family Permit will normally be issued where the non EEA national can show that they are a family member of the EEA national, and that the EEA national is exercising an EEA Treaty Right. Once issued, the EEA Family Permit is valid for 6 months. Obviously if the non EEA national has an EEA Family Permit they should be admitted to the UK. If the non EEA national travels to the UK without an EEA Family Permit then he will have to satisfy an Immigration Officer of his right to enter the UK and therefore risks non admission to the UK


In order to qualify for an EEA Family Permit you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You are a citizen of a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA);

  • Your family member is an EEA national (but normally not British);

  • You are related to the EEA national in one of the following ways:

    • you are the family member of the EEA national such as their husband, wife, civil or unmarried partner, parent, grandparent, child or grandchild; or

    • you are an extended family member of the EEA national, for example their unmarried partner in a durable relationship, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, cousin, etc.; or

    • you are the main carer of a British citizen or a child who is an EEA national;

  • Your EEA national family member is travelling with you to the UK; or

  • Your family member is in the UK and, if they have lived in the UK for more than three months, is exercising Treaty rights as a worker, self-employed person, student, self-sufficient person, or as a jobseeker.

Duration of Visa:

An EEA Family Permit is valid for six months.  EEA Family Permit holders are free to leave and enter the UK as many times as they wish within that six month period.

There is no fee payable to apply for an EEA Family Permit and the application will be given priority by UK Visas & Immigration.

At the end of the six month period as an EEA Family Permit holder, you may be eligible to apply for an EEA Residence Card as confirmation of your right of residence in the UK.

If you wish to obtain advice or legal assistance in respect of your immigration matter, we offer an affordable and confidential consultation at a fixed fee with and experienced immigration lawyer where we can answer your questions and explain the processes that will apply. Your consultation fees will be set off against your instructions to the firm if you go on to instruct us.

For more information or to book an initial consultation, please contact us

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