If you are a family member of an EEA citizen, your rights are generally attached to the rights of your EEA citizen family member. In other words, you’ll have a right to remain in the UK for as long as you remain a close family member of an EEA national.
However, there are limited circumstances where family members of EEA citizens can remain in the UK even though their relationship with an EEA citizen broke down or the EEA citizen left the UK. These rights are legally known as ‘retained rights of residence’.
There are four types of retained rights of residence. In this article, I’ll explain the one which you can get if you become a victim of domestic violence.
It is important to understand that this article describes only the rules relating to family members of EEA citizens when applying under the EU Settlement scheme. Family members of British citizens will need to apply under different Immigration rules.
Changes from 4 June 2020
Before 4 June 2020, only former spouses or civil partners of EEA citizens could apply to confirm their retained right of residence as a victim of domestic violence. To succeed in their application, they needed to provide evidence to prove that their marriage or civil partnership has been legally terminated and they became a victim of domestic violence or abuse while the marriage or civil partnership was subsisting.
Consistent with the Government’s wider commitment to tackling domestic violence or abuse and protecting victims of it, the Secretary of State has recently changed the Immigration Rules. From 4 June 2020, these changes will mean that any family member within the scope of the EU Settlement Scheme could apply for their retained right of residence. The EU Settlement Scheme is a scheme, which allows family members to make an application to remain in the UK after the end of the Brexit transitional period, after 31 December 2020.
Are You Included?
Who is now included in the ‘any family member’ definition? A spouse, civil partner, durable partner, child, dependent parent or dependent relative whose family relationship with a relevant EEA citizen (or with a qualifying British citizen) has broken down permanently as a result of domestic violence or abuse.
They will have a continued right of residence where this is warranted by domestic violence or abuse against them or another family member. They will be able to rely on this, together with their continuous residence in the UK, in applying for status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
What do You Need to Prove?
- The person who claims retained rights of residence (the applicant) is an EEA citizen or a non-EEA citizen; and
- The applicant ceased to be a family member of a relevant EEA citizen on the termination of the marriage or civil partnership of that relevant EEA citizen;
- The applicant was resident in the UK at the date of the termination of the marriage or civil partnership;
- the continued right of residence in the UK of the Applicant was warranted by particularly difficult circumstances, such as where A or another family member has been a victim of domestic violence or abuse whilst the marriage or civil partnership was subsisting; OR
- The applicant provides evidence that a relevant family relationship with a relevant EEA citizen has broken down permanently as a result of domestic violence or abuse; and
- The applicant was resident in the UK when the relevant family relationship broke down permanently as a result of domestic violence or abuse, and the continued right of residence in the UK of the Applicant is warranted where the applicant or another family member has been a victim of domestic violence or abuse before the relevant family relationship broke down permanently.
What Does This Mean?
It means that you can make an application in two circumstances: when there was marriage termination or where you permanently separated. Official termination of the marriage or civil partnership is the date on which the order finally terminating the marriage, or civil partnership is made by a court.
From the wording of the rules, it is also clear that domestic violence or abuse should have occurred BEFORE the break down of the relationship.
What Documents Can You Gather in Support of Your Application?
The Home Office subdivides all evidence into four categories: Conclusive, Strong, Moderate and Weak. The more conclusive and strong evidence you submit in support of your case, the more chances you have of winning the case.
If you CLICK HERE I’ve downloaded a very helpful Home Office table of documents, you may consider gathering in support of your application.