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EEA nationals and Family Members Visas UK

Nationals of countries that are part of the European Economic Area (which is the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Switzerland are allowed to live and work in the UK under less stringent rules than apply to those from outside of Europe.  People from those countries can move to the UK for up to three months and can continue to stay provided that they are conducting certain activities, which include working, studying, living as a self-sufficient person, receiving services, seeking work or accompanying an EEA family member, among many other categories.

It is also possible to stay in the UK permanently, and later obtain British citizenship, if you are from the EEA or Switzerland and have been working in the UK for five years or more. At Skilled Migration, our specialist immigration barristers can advise you about your right to live and work in the UK, and help you and your family prepare and apply for a visit or a longer stay.

UK Residency for EEA Nationals and Family Members

If you are from the EEA or Switzerland you have the right to stay in the UK for longer than three months if you are working, self-employed, studying or self-sufficient, among other categories. Once you have been in the UK for a certain period, usually five years, carrying out one of those activities, you then have the right to stay in the UK permanently and may be able to apply for British citizenship.

British and European Citizens may be able to rely on these rights for their family members and so avoid the harsh criteria of the UK’s Immigration Rules (Appendix FM) for spouses, partners and children.  This may include situations where the British citizen has lived and worked abroad for a significant period, has regularly commuted to a workplace in another EEA country, or where they offer cross-border services.

Although there is no need to apply for a visa to exercise this right, it is possible to apply for a UK residence card or a certificate to prove you have a right to stay in the UK. These documents are particularly useful for reassuring employers that you have the right to work and makes re-entering the UK quicker and easier.

If you are from the EEA and would like family members from outside the EEA to join you, they will need to apply for an EEA family permit. Dependent extended family members such as brothers, sisters or cousins can apply as well as close family members such as married or civil partners, children, grandchildren or parents. The permit must be obtained before travelling to the UK and is valid for six months. If you would like to stay for longer than six months it will be necessary to apply for a UK residence card.

Advice on EEA Residency and Rights in the UK

For professional and expert advice about residency in the UK for you or your EEA national family, contact our immigration law specialists.

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