Residence Card Application
EEA Residence Card
An EEA Residence Card is a residence document issued to non-EEA national family members and extended family members of EEA nationals who are exercising Treaty rights in the United Kingdom. An EEA Residence Card confirms a right of residence in the UK.
What are the main eligibility requirements for an EEA Residence Card?
In order to qualify for an EEA Residence Card, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:
- Your family member is an EEA national in the UK (but not a British citizen);
- You are the ‘family member’ or an ‘extended family member’ of an EEA national;
- The EEA national is a qualified person – someone who is exercising Treaty rights or has the right of permanent residence.
You must be a family member or extended family member of the EEA national:
A ‘family member’ includes:
- A spouse or civil partner of an EEA national;
- A child of an EEA national or his/her spouse or civil partner who is under 21;
- A child of an EEA national or his/her spouse or civil partner, aged over 21 and who is dependent on the EEA national or his/her spouse or civil partner;
- A parent or grandparent who is dependent on the EEA national or his/her spouse;
An ‘extended family member’ is someone who does not fall within the above, and includes:
- An unmarried partner who is in a ‘durable relationship’;
- Other family members, such as brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins who are dependent on the EEA national or his/her spouse or civil partner. Dependency can be established by showing that you were dependent on the EEA national in their country before moving to the UK, or you formed part of the EEA national’s household in that country before moving to the UK and you continue to be dependent on the EEA national or continue to form part of the EEA national’s household in the UK;
- A relative of an EEA national or his/her spouse or civil partner who requires personal care from the EEA national on serious health grounds;
The EEA national must be exercising Treaty rights:
- As a jobseeker;
- As a worker;
- As a self-employed person;
- As a self-sufficient person with health insurance;
- As a student with health insurance (please note that if your family member is exercising Treaty rights as a student then you must be their child or their spouse or civil partner).
Or be someone who has already acquired the right of permanent residence.
You may also apply for an EEA Residence Card on the basis of having a ‘retained right of residence’ if your relationship with the EEA national has ended.
It is possible for a non-EEA national to retain a right of residence where:
- The relationship with your EEA national spouse or civil partner has ended with a divorce, dissolution or annulment. You must have been married for at least three years and have spent at least one year in the UK (if you separate but do not divorce, then under EEA law you remain a family member of an EEA national and therefore your right of residence may continue on this basis);
- Your EEA national family member has died;
- You are a non-EEA national parent with custody of a child who has a right of residence in the UK;
- You are the child of an EEA national who has died or left the UK;
What else do I need to know about the EEA Residence Card?
There is no legal requirement to obtain an EEA Residence Card because the right of residence exists as a matter of European Union law. However, an EEA Residence Card acts as confirmation of your right of residence in the UK and this will make it easier to re-enter the UK, prove your right to work and obtain various services.
An EEA Residence Card application can only be made from within the UK, and decisions are supposed to be made within six months.
If your EEA Sponsor is applying at the same time, it may be possible for you to apply online.
If you are applying as a family member of an EEA national then the Home Office must issue you with an EEA Residence Card once you have provided the necessary supporting documentary evidence to establish your right of residence.
If you are applying as the extended family member of an EEA national then the Home Office retains discretion as to whether to issue an EEA Residence Card.
An EEA Residence Card is normally valid for five years. After five years you may be eligible to apply for an EEA Permanent Residence Card as confirmation of your right of permanent residence in the UK.