Non-EEA nationals living in the UK as family members of EEA national exercising treaty rights can apply for an EEA Residence Card.

The application for a residence card can be made if you are already in the UK. If you are applying from outside the UK to join your EEA national family member, you should instead apply for an EEA family permit.

EEA Residence Card applications (form EEA (FM)) are currently optional for family members of EEA or Swiss nationals but it can be helpful to prove rights for employment and qualify for certain benefits and services in the UK.

The EEA Residence Card applications are however compulsory for extended family members (form EEA(EFM)) of EEA or Swiss nationals.

Learn more about EEA Residence Card application, eligibility criteria, and documents requirements for the application in this complete guide.

EEA Residence Card General Overview

A non-EEA family member of an EEA national exercising Treaty rights in the UK may be able to apply for an EEA Residence Card if they are already in the UK. They might have originally come to the UK on an EEA Family Permit or on some other kind of visa. The application can be made even if the applicant’s visa has expired or while they are in the UK on a visitor’s visa.

You can apply for an EEA Residence Card if you are a family member or an extended family member of an EEA national. Family members include:

  • spouses/civil partners of an EEA national,
  • their (or their spouse or civil partner’s) children or grandchildren under the age of 21,
  • their (or their spouse or civil partner’s) dependant parents or grandparents.

Extended family members are unmarried partners in a “durable” relationship with an EEA national or other relatives of EEA national or their spouse/civil partner that satisfy a number of additional conditions. While there is no definition of “durable” relationship in the Regulations, Home Office implements their own guidance to assess whether the relationship is “durable”, which must be shown through a cohabitation of at least 2 years. Since EEA Regulations 2016 have been introduced in February 2017, there is no longer a right for appeal for extended family members.

EEA Regulations 2016 introduced another important change to the appeal rights. New regulations will restrict the right to appeal for EEA applications where the Home Office considers that the marriage is one of convenience.

Non-EEA family members who then wish to appeal that decision will have to leave the UK and lodge an appeal from overseas. Considering that appeals can take up to 15 months to be heard, this change could be quite significant for genuine applicants whose applications were incorrectly refused.

There is not an absolute legal requirement for a qualifying non-EEA family member to hold an EEA Residence Card but it can be very useful for proving their immigration status, especially when they have left the UK and are attempting to re-enter or to prove to employers their right to work in the UK.

An EEA Residence Card is granted for a period of five years and the visa holder is entitled to work in the UK.

Who Can Apply for EEA residence card?

To be eligible for UK residence card, the applicant should fulfil the following criteria;

  • Applicant should be from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Applicant should be a family member, or extended family member of an EEA national “qualified person” or with EEA Permanent Residence

Some applicants are also eligible for UK residence card application based on their retained rights of residence status or can apply using Surinder Singh route.

EEA Residence Card Application and Fees

Depending on whether you are a family member or extended family member of an EEA national, you will be required to fill an appropriate form.

  • Application for a residence card as the family member of an EEA or Swiss national: form EEA (FM)
  • Application for a residence card as the ‘extended’ family member of an EEA or Swiss national: form EEA (EFM)

EEA Residence Card Fees

It costs £65 per each applicant to make an application for EEA residence card.

Additionally, you might have to pay £19.20 if you need to provide your biometric information.

Processing Times

In accordance with the Home Office’s website, standard processing times for a Residence card application are up to 6 months. Most applications are decided in 2-3 months on average, depending on any complexities.

Documents Required

There are several documents and supporting evidences that you need to submit for a successful EEA residence card application. Some of the most important documents include;

  • Proof of identity and nationality (Your current passport, and passport or national identity card of your EEA family member sponsor)
  • Photographs (Two passport sized photographs of Applicant, One passport-sized photograph of your sponsor)
  • Proof of relationship (Evidence of your durable relationship evidence with the EEA national)
  • Evidence of your EEA national sponsor exercising Treaty rights in the UK
  • Other relevant evidence and documents

Applying for EEA Residence Card

Based on your situation, there are several pieces of evidence and documents that you need to submit for a valid application, in addition to the EEA (FM) or EEA (EFM) application forms.

At Edmans & Co, we have an experienced team of EU immigration lawyers that specialises in EEA applications. Contact one of our London immigration lawyers today for assistance regarding your EEA residence card application.

Our EEA Residence Card Services Review
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Contact our London Immigration Lawyers if you need any help with your EEA Residence Card application. Call us on 020 7439 3000 or use our contact form to get in touch with us regarding your application.

You can start by booking a consultation with one of our EEA immigration experts so that we can assess your case and help you make a valid EEA Residence card application.