Citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) enjoy the freedom of traveling, living, working, founding a business, studying in any other member country within the area. The agreement between the EEA countries includes also mutual recognition of the professional qualifications and coordination amongst members as regards of social security.
What is a UK EEA Residence Card?
The EEA residence card is a multipurpose instrument that is useful in several other occasions in addition to a UK residence permit, such as:
- to travel across other EEA countries.
- to get a quicker and less bureaucratic entrance in the UK from abroad.
- to show the eligibility to work in the UK.
- to get an easier access to certain benefits and services.
Who needs an EEA Residence Card?
Your non-EEA family members can receive an EEA Residence Card from the UK, if they’re ‘direct family members’ or ‘extended family members’ already living here with you. This is possible only if you’re either a ‘qualified person’ or a ‘UK Permanent Resident’.
Non-EEA citizens who’re also eligible to get an EEA Residence Card are those living here as a ‘Retained Rights of Residence’ or a ‘Surinder Singh’ case.
Your family members will need the EEA card in several occasions. They’ll be able to re-enter the UK border quicker and easier, simply confirm their eligibility to work and access benefits and services here.
Note: Due to Brexit, since January 1, 2021 the EEA Residence Card will not be valid in the UK. After 31 December 2020, you and your EEA family member must get the status of settled or pre-settled foreigners here, beforehand such date.
What is a qualified person?
A qualified person is considered anyone living in the UK and exercising treaty rights as a worker, as a student with a health insurance, as a job-seeker, as a self-employed person (conditional circumstances), or as a self-sufficient person with a health insurance.
Who is considered a direct family member?
Recognized as family members of EEA citizens are the following non-EEA citizens:
- Your spouse/civil partner.
- Your/your spouse’s or civil partner’s child/grandchild of age 21 or a dependent.
- Your/your spouse’s or civil partner’s parent/grandparent.
If you’re an EEA student in the UK, here is who qualifies as your non-EEA ‘direct family members’:
- Your spouse or civil partner.
- Your/ your spouse’s or civil partner’s dependent child.
Who is considered an extended family member?
Recognized as extended family members of EEA citizens are the following non-EEA citizens:
- Your unmarried partner from a long-lasting relationship.
- Your/your spouse’s or civil partner’s relative. Relatives can be brothers or sisters, aunts or uncles, nephews or nieces and cousins. They can also be grandchildren, parents/grandparents if you’re an EEA student. They must hold an EEA permit. They must have been living with you or been your dependent before coming here. Otherwise, they must be your dependent or living with you now. Or else, they must need your/your spouse’s or civil partner’s personal care, as they’re seriously ill.
Retained Rights of Residence
As a non-EEA citizen, you can get an EEA Residence Card as ‘retained right of residence’ case, if you’re someone whose EEA sponsor has died, left the UK, or whose marriage/civil partnership with such sponsor has officially ended. Your EEA family member must have been a ‘qualified person’ or ‘permanent resident’ here, right before stopped being your sponsor.
You’ll qualify for an EEA Residence Card as a ‘retained rights of residence’ case if you are:
- Divorced spouse/civil partner of an EEA national.
- Family member of a dead EEA national. You must have lived together with the sponsor for at least 1 year before their death.
- Student and a child of an EEA national/their spouse or civil partner/their ex-spouse or ex-civil partner. Your sponsor must have either died or left the UK to live elsewhere.
- Parent of a non-EEA student in the UK with custody rights over such child.
Derivative Rights of Residence
The EEA residence permit under the Derivative Rights of Residence is issued to EEA citizens who are care-givers to UK citizens.
Surinder Singh Route
You’ll be eligible for an EEA Residence Card under the Surinder Singh Route if you’re a non-EEA citizen having lived before in another EEA country (despite the UK), with a British citizen family member. Your British sponsor must have been a British citizen even before returning to the UK from such EEA member state.
Relationship of the British sponsor with you must be any of the following:
- Their married/civil partner.
- Their/their spouse’s or civil partner’s child/grandchild who is their dependent.
- Their/their spouse’s or civil partner’s parent/grandparent who is younger than 21 or their dependent.
You must have lived in the same house with the sponsor in the foreign EEA state. During such time your British sponsor must have had the right of permanent residence there. If not, they must have been employed, self-employed, self-sufficient or studying there.
Your sponsor must be currently either working, job-seeking, self-employed, self-sufficient or studying here in the UK.
How to Apply for an EEA Residence Card?
The application process for an EEA Residence Card includes submitting the application documents and the biometric information, such as your digital photograph, fingerprints and signature.
When you’re applying same time with a qualified person, they’re allowed to include you in their online application form.
Other cases than that, you’ll need to download and complete the application form for EEA Residence Card and address it to the Home Office using postal services.
EEA Residence Card Requirements
The required documents to apply for an EEA residence card are:
- Duly completed application form for an EEA Residence Card. Form EEA (FM) for family members. Use form EEA (EFM) if you’re an extended family member.
- The applicants’ valid passport.
- Two recently made passport size color photo of the applicant.
- One recently made passport size color photo of the sponsor. Of the EEA or of British citizen.
- EEA nationals’ valid passport/their national ID card.
- The application fee.
- Documents endorsing the relationship of the non-EEA with the EEA national (sponsor).
- Certificate of marriage.
- Certificate of civil partnership.
- Certificate of birth.
- Evidence of a joint life with your EEA sponsor for at least 2 years. For a relationship that is not matrimony or a civil partnership.
- Documents to confirm any of the residence status of a sponsor or the applicant (as the case may be).
- Evidence that your EEA sponsor has the permanent right of residence in the UK.
- Evidence that your EEA sponsor is a qualified person.
- Evidence that you’re a ‘retained right of residence’ If relevant.
- Evidence that you’re a ‘Surinder Singh’ case. If relevant.
- For ‘Surinder Singh’ applications only: documents confirm a shared life and household between the British citizen and the non-EEA national in another EEA country.
- Evidence showing your home address in the foreign EEA state.
- The renting contract.
- Purchasing contract.
- Other formal documents showing the home address.
- Evidence of integration in the foreign EEA state.
- Proof of speaking any of the official languages of such state.
- Proof of having children born there.
- Proof of having children still living there.
- Previous travel itinerary to and from the foreign EEA state. Must show all arrival and departure dates to/from and from/to the foreign EEA state.
- The immigration history to the UK and other countries. (If any).
- The complete visa applications for UK or other country’s visas.
- Rejections, cancellations, deportations or similar immigration fines in the UK.
EEA Residence Card Validity
The maximum period you’re getting through the EEA Residence Card is 5 years. After this of continuously living in the UK, you’ll be able to require the UK permanent residence card.
Despite this, your EEA residence card cannot be used after 31 December 2020, as it must be replaced with the settled or pre-settled status by applying at the scheme which opens in March 2019.
The application and related fees
The fee you’ll need paying to apply for EEA Residence Card is 65£, while the fee to offer the biometric information is about 19.20£ and is done in one of the post offices.
If you’re younger than 16 you’ll have to be accompanied by your parent/guardian/officially responsible person during the application process. If you’re under the age of 6, you’ll not be required to submit your fingerprints data, only a digital photo.