Under European law, National Member States within the European Economic Area (EEA) are able to enjoy freedom of movement across Member States. In general terms this means that EEA or Swiss nationals have the right to live and work in the UK. Their family is also able to join them.
Once in the UK EEA nationals are entitled to (but not required to) apply for a document known as a Registration Certificate. This is issued to EEA nationals confirming the holder’s right of residence under European law. Importantly, EEA nationals do not need a Registration Certificate to be able to enter, live, or work in the UK.
However, if an EEA national wishes to support an application for a Residence Card by a family member who is not an EEA national, s/he must be able to demonstrate that s/he is residing in the UK in accordance with the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 and is exercising European Treaty rights here, that is, s/he is:
- employed or self-employed; or
- studying; or
- economically self-sufficient; or
- a jobseeker; or
- retired; or
- someone who has had to cease working in the UK owing to permanent incapacity.
If your family members are not EEA or Swiss nationals, they may need to apply for an EEA family permit before they can come to the UK. This permit is similar to a visa.
Upon entering the UK family members of EEA nationals who are not EEA nationals themselves should apply for a Residence Card confirming their right of residence in the UK under European law. This is normally valid for 5 years.
After living in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years in accordance with the European Regulations, an application for a document certifying permanent residency may be made.
Our immigration solicitors can provide specialist legal advice in this area of law. Our Lawyer will assist EEA nationals and their non EEA national family members secure entry and residence in the United Kingdom. Please complete our enquiry form.