UK Visa for EU Citizens


EEA applications for EEA nationals and their non-EEA family members

The rights given to EEA nationals under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 are known as free movement rights. Under the 2016 Regulations, direct family members of EEA nationals have an automatic right of residence in the UK for as long as they remain the family member of that EEA national who fulfills any of the following criteria:

  • is entitled to reside in the UK for an initial period of 3 months
  • is a qualified person
  • has the right of permanent residence

Under these Regulations, extended family members are treated as family members if they have been issued with an EEA Family Permit, a Registration Certificate or a Residence Card and continue to satisfy the conditions of the Regulations.

There are several visa routes available to EU nationals and their family members under the 2016 Regulations:

EEA Family Permit
If you are a non-EEA national family member of European Economic Area (EEA) national, to gain an admission to the UK you are required to apply for an EEA Family Permit.
EEA Family Permit is valid for 6 months and you can leave and re-enter the UK multiple times within the period granted under this visa category. You should apply for a Residence Card within the UK before your EEA Family Permit expires.

EEA Registration Certificate
EEA nationals do not need a Registration Certificate to confirm their residence status in the UK. However, if you are a “qualified person” and wish to make an application to prove it, then applying for a Registration Certificate is the way forward.

EEA Residence Card
It is optional for non EEA family members of EEA nationals to apply for an EEA Residence Card. It will help to re-enter the UK more quickly and easily if you travel abroad, evince that you are allowed to work in the UK, or prove that you qualify for certain benefits and services. Extended family members of EEA nationals must apply for a Residence Card in order to lawfully remain in the UK after their EEA Family Permit has expired. A Residence Card is usually issued for up to 5 years.

EEA Permanent Residence
If you are an EU national or a family member of an EU national, you can apply for a permanent residence document (“ILR”/”settlement”) if you have lived in the UK for 5 consecutive years.
When applying, you must prove that you have been a “qualified person” or the family member of a “qualified person” for consecutive 5 years.

EEA Retention of Rights
You can retain your rights of residence in the UK if:

  • Your marriage or civil partnership to EEA national has ended
  • Your family member who is an EEA national has died, and you had lived in the UK for at least 1 year before they died
  • You are the child of an EEA national who has died or left the UK
  • You are the child of an EEA national’s spouse, civil partner, or former spouse or civil partner, and you were undergoing education when that person died or left the UK, and you continue to undergo education
  • You are the parent and have custody of a child who has a retained right of residence because they are undergoing education in the UK

If you require any assistance or legal advice in relation to any of the above-mentioned visa categories, please do not hesitate to contact our Immigration team. We will provide you with tailored advice to your specific case scenario to ensure that the requirements are met.

*Please note that requirements may vary from case to case based on the nuances of your situation, and the information on this page is not intended to replace legal advice.