If you are a non-EEA national living outside the UK, under certain circumstances, you can join your EU citizen family member, who lives in the UK.
There are two routes for that:
- You can join with a family permit under the EU settlement scheme; or
- You can apply for a family permit under the EEA Regulations.
What is the Difference Between the Two Family Permits?
There are only two crucial and very important differences between the two permits.
Family Permits under the EU settlement scheme are restricted to only close family members. Whereas, family permits under the EEA Regulations include extended family members.
The second, very important distinction is in the fact that if your application is refused the EU settlement applications you will not be able to appeal against the decision. You can only apply for an Administrative Review.
If you make an application for the EEA Regulations Family Permit and it is refused you can appeal against the decision. The appeal option is given to direct (close) family members only. If you are an extended family member (explained below), you can only appeal if you already have a family permit (catch 22!).
Both applications are free.
EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit
Family permits under the EU settlement scheme are only available to close family members. Only four categories are included in the definition of a close family member:
- Spouses and civil partners;
- Children and grandchildren under the age of 21;
- Dependent children and grandchildren children over the age of 21;
- Dependent relatives in the ascending line (parents, grandparents and great-grandparents).
EEA Regulations Family Permits
These types of family permits include all of the above categories and extended family members. There are four types of extended family members:
- Relatives who either resided or were financially dependant on their EU citizen relative. They need to prove that they intend to continue with the same arrangement. In other words that they will either continue residing or being financially dependant on their EU citizen relative when in the UK.
- A relative of an EEA national who, on serious health grounds, strictly requires the personal care of the EEA national or his or her spouse.
- A relative of an EEA national who would meet the requirements in the immigration rules for indefinite leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom as a dependent relative of the EEA national. These rules are complex. The threshold for these rules under the UK immigration Rules is high. In essence, a person will need to prove that they need care and attention of their relative in the UK. In addition, he will need to prove that such care is either not available or not affordable in his or her country of origin.
- Partners in a durable relationship. According to the Home Office guidance, these are those who lived together in the relationship akin to marriage for at least two years. The 2-year rule is arguable. There is nothing in the EU regulations, which indicates that the parties need to show that they lived a certain period of time before applying. However, there should be a strong basis for you challenging this. For example, where these partners have a child together or a partner is pregnant.
What Happens if Your Application is Successful?
If your application is successful you’ll be given a family permit valid for 6 months. You’ll need to make a pre-settled status application under the EU settlement scheme before it expires.