The Effect of Brexit on EEA Family Permits

The Effect Of Brexit On EEA Family Permits

With the transition period between the EU and the UK ending in less than six weeks, many EU/EEA nationals living in the UK are wondering what rights they will have to bring their family members to Britain from 1 January 2021. At present, the existing rules surrounding an EEA Family Permit remain. In brief, these are as follows:

What is an EEA Family Permit?

An EEA Family Permit is a document that allows for a non-EU/EEA family member of an EU/EEA national to enter the UK and live and work freely. An example of this includes:

  • An Australian partner of a German national.
  • A Brazilian-born child of a French citizen.
  • A dependent Indian parent of a Dutch national.
  • An Ethiopian mother of a child born in Sweden and now living in the UK (Zambrano carer)

A full definition of ‘family member’ and ‘extended family member’ can be found below.

In theory, an EEA Permit is not required, as family members of an EEA national exercising their Treaty rights can apply for entry clearance at the border. However, some airline carriers will not allow people without an EEA Family Permit or some other type of visa board a flight to the UK for fear of being fined. For peace of mind, it is always preferable to apply for a permit before coming to Britain as a family member of an EU/EEA national.

To qualify for an EEA Family Permit, you must:

  • Be a family member or extended family member of an EEA national who is already in the country or travelling with you to the UK within six months of your application
  • Show evidence that the EU/EEA national who has been living in Britain three months or more is exercising their Treaty rights as an employee, self-employed person, student, or self-sufficient person
  • Prove you will be living in the same house as the EU/EEA national whilst you are in the UK.

A family member is defined as:

  • a spouse
  • civil partner
  • a partner who you have lived within a relationship akin to marriage for at least two years (this includes same-sex partners), a dependent child or grandchild under 21 years, or a dependent parent or grandparent

Extended family members are defined as siblings, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, and cousins who are dependent on you for their day-to-day care.

How does Brexit affect applications for an EEA Family Permit?

Non-EU/EEA family members and extended family members make up a significant, but little talked about group who will be impacted by the end of freedom of movement.

For those who fall into this category who are already in the UK, an application for Settled or Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme needs to be made. Unfortunately, research shows that refusals for this group are disproportionately high, especially for Zambrano carers. Investing in high-quality legal advice from an experienced immigration law Solicitor can greatly reduce the chances of an application for Settled or Pre-Settled Status being refused.

Those non-EEA family members or extended family members of EU/EEA nationals who have attained Pre-Settled Status will be able to apply for an EEA Family Permit after 31 December 2020 until 30 June 2021. And even if you miss this deadline, you may still be able to apply for an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit if all of the following are true:

  • your family member who you are planning to join in the UK has either Settled or Pre-Settled Status
  • your relationship began before 31 December 2020
  • you remain a close family member, for example, a spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, a dependent child or grandchild, or a dependent parent or grandparent

You must register for Pre-Settled Status within three months of arriving on the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit route. After living in the UK for five years, you can apply for Settled Status.

Our immigration lawyers can assist you with all aspects of obtaining an EEA Family Permit, EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit, and any matters concerning the EU Settlement Scheme.

Based in Birmingham and London, UK Migration Lawyers is one of Britain’s premier immigration law firms. Please phone our office on 0121 777 7715 to make an appointment with one of our immigration Solicitors.

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