EEA immigration

EEA family permit

An EEA Family Permit is a document issued to non-EEA nationals living outside the European Union who would like to travel to the UK with an EEA national family member or to join an EEA national family member in the UK.

In order to qualify for an EEA Family Permit you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • You are a citizen of a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA);
  • Your family member is an EEA national (but normally not British);
  • You are related to the EEA national in one of the following ways:
    • you are the family member of the EEA national such as their husband, wife, civil or unmarried partner, parent, grandparent, child or grandchild; or
    • you are an extended family member of the EEA national, for example their unmarried partner in a durable relationship, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, cousin, etc.; or
    • you are the main carer of a British citizen or a child who is an EEA national;
    • Your EEA national family member is travelling with you to the UK; or
    • Your family member is in the UK and, if they have lived in the UK for more than three months, is exercising Treaty rights as a worker, self-employed person, student, self-sufficient person, or as a jobseeker.

An EEA Family Permit is valid for six months. EEA Family Permit holders are free to leave and enter the UK as many times as they wish within that six month period.

When you enter the UK with the EEA Family Permit, you may then be eligible to apply for an EEA Residence Card. The Residence Card is issued for a period of 5 years. After 5 years continuous residence as a family member of EEA national you may be able to apply for a document certifying permanent residence in the UK.

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 exercising Treaty rights in the UK. An EEA Residence Card confirms your right of residence in the UK. The Residence Card is issued for a period of 5 years. After 5 years continuous residence as a family member of EEA national, you may be able to apply for a document certifying permanent residence in the UK.

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;
  • 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 (i.e. is a worker, self-employed person, student, self-sufficient person, or as a jobseeker).
  • or has the right of permanent residence.

The following are considered as direct family members:

  • spouse or civil partner
  • direct descendants of the EEA national or their spouse or civil partner who are:
    • under the age of 21
    • dependants of the EEA national or their spouse or civil partner
    • dependent direct relatives in the ascending line of the EEA national or their spouse or civil partner
    • Where the EEA national sponsor is a student and has resided in the UK for more than 3 months, a family member will only have a right to reside if they are either:
    • the dependent child of the EEA national or the EEA national’s spouse or civil partner
    • a qualified person in their own right

Extended family members are those who do not fall under the definition of the direct family member (see above) but who are either:

  • a relative of an EEA national who is residing in a country other than the UK and is dependent on the EEA national
  • a member of their household and either:
    • is accompanying the EEA national to the UK or wishes to join them
    • has joined them in the UK and continues to be dependent on them or to be a member of their household
    • a relative of an EEA national who strictly requires the personal care of the EEA national due to serious health grounds
    • a relative of an EEA national who would meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules for indefinite leave to remain (other than those relating to entry clearance) as a dependent relative of an EEA national as if the EEA national was a person present and settled in the UK (the Adult Dependant Relative visa rules)
    • the unmarried partner or same sex partner of an EEA national who can prove they are in a durable relationship with the EEA national.

NOTE1: There is no limit on the distance of the relationship between the EEA national and the extended family member as long as they can provide valid proof of the relationship between them.

NOTE2: From 1 February 2017 the rights of extended family members only apply to relatives of the EEA national and not to relatives of the EEA national’s spouse or civil partner. This means that an extended family member can no longer rely on their relationship to the EEA national’s spouse or civil partner in order to meet the requirements of regulation 8. Instead, they must show that they are related to the EEA national.

EU Registration certificate

EEA nationals who are exercising Treaty rights in the UK (i.e. as a worker, self-employed person, student, self-sufficient person, or as a jobseeker) currently do not need to apply for any immigration document to confirm their right to live and work in the UK. However, if you are a EEA national and you wish to have evidence of your residence rights, you can apply for an EU Registration Certificate. With your application you need to provide evidence that you are a ‘qualified person’ (e.g. evidence of your employment in the UK if you are employed in the UK).

Your Registration Certificate will be issued for 5 years. After 5 years you may be able to apply for a document certifying permanent residence in the UK.

Permanent residence (PR)

EEA nationals acquire permanent residence status in the UK after 5 years of continuous residence as a ‘qualified person’. The permanent residence status is acquired automatically. The document certifying Permanent Residence (PR) can be obtained to evidence your already acquired permanent resident status. However, if you intend to apply for UK citizenship it is mandatory for you to first obtain the Permanent Residence document and only then submit your citizenship application.

You usually are a ‘qualified person’ if you are a citizen of a EEA citizen and you are one of the following:

  • Working
  • Studying
  • Self-employed
  • Self-sufficient
  • Looking for work

Your family members who are EEA nationals or non-EEA nationals can also apply after 5 years residence in the UK.

The Home Office fee for PR applications is £65 per person. If an EEA national qualified person is applying on their own OR together with his/her family members, an online application form can be used instead of the paper application form. The advantage of using the online application form is that applicants can keep their original passports/national ID card when the applications are in process. The processing time can be up to 6 months.

Brexit: EU Settlement Scheme - Settled and Pre-Settled status

Currently there is freedom of movement within the EU, which allows EU nationals to move to the UK, for work, to run a business, to study or to live as a self-sufficient person.

Following the two-year negotiation period triggered in 2017, Britain was due to leave the EU on 29th March 2019, although this planned exit date may be postponed.

If Brexit deal is agreed there will be a two year transition during which the free movement rights for EU nationals will continue. On 31st December 2020 the free movement would end and EU nationals arriving from 1st January 2021 would be subject to the new immigration regime. Before the end of the transition period EU nationals would need to register under the EU Settlement Scheme to be able to stay in the UK after the end of the transition. The deadline to apply for the Settlement scheme would be 30th June 2021. The EU Settlement Scheme is due to be fully open for applications on 30th March 2019. The UK Home Office announced that the applications will be free of charge.

If there is no Brexit deal agreed, the recently published Home Office guidance explains the position of EU nationals as follows:

  • The guarantee to remain in the UK after Brexit would only apply to EU citizens who are resident in the UK by 29 March 2019.
  • EU citizens and their family members resident in the UK by 29 March 2019 would have until 31 December 2020 to apply for a status under the EU Settlement Scheme. The new UK immigration system would be implemented from 1st January 2021 as planned.
  • EU citizens would have the right to challenge a refusal of UK immigration status under the EU Settlement Scheme by way of administrative review and judicial review, in line with the remedies generally available to non-EEA nationals refused leave to remain in the UK. There would be no preliminary reference procedure to the Court of Justice of the European Union, as it would not have any jurisdiction in the UK.
  • The EU deportation threshold would continue to apply to crimes committed before Brexit. However, the Home Office would apply the UK deportation threshold to crimes committed after 29 March 2019.

EU Settlement Scheme - Settled and Pre-Settled status

The EU Settlement Scheme is due to open to EU nationals and their family members from 30th March 2019. The application process will be digital and free of charge. If Brexit deal is agreed it will be mandatory to register under the scheme by June 2021, and in case of no deal the registration deadline will be 31st December 2020. EU citizens and family members who have resided continuously in the UK for 5 years will receive a permanent residence (settled status) and those who have less than 5 years residence will be granted a leave to remain (pre-settled status) allowing them to complete 5 years in the UK to qualify for permanent residence. The status will be evidenced only digitally as there will be no physical document issued.

What steps EU nationals can take at present

Those EU nationals and family members who have 5 years or more residence in the UK should consider applying for Permanent Residence (PR) under the current free movement law and those already holding PR should consider applying for UK citizenship. The PR holders do not need to wait for 1 year to apply for UK citizenship if their permanent residence status was acquired at least 1 year before citizenship application. Those who do not qualify for PR or UK citizenship should prepare for registering under the EU Settlement Scheme as soon as it is open. The registration would be particularly important in case of no deal Brexit as it will evidence residence in the UK before 30th March 2019.

Meet the team

Partner - Employment

Andrew Firman is a partner in our corporate & commercial team. His employment practice covers both contentious and non-contentious work for both employers and employees. His corporate and banking practice concentrates on contractual and advice work given mainly to SMEs and charities. Additionally, he advises both individuals and businesses on a range of immigration matters.


In his work, Andrew looks for proactive and pragmatic solutions derived from a proper understanding of the client’s perspective and against the background of the commercial constraints.

Career highlights include

  • running a David v Goliath style battle for a former employee of a US based bank related to the late vesting of share options following that employee’s termination at a time when the US markets were in freefall
  • negotiating, finalising and drawing down for an off-shore SPV borrower at £310M facility to buy a group of companies which owned, as an investment, the London HQ of a multinational corporation

More recently, Andrew has advised upon

  • the sale of a leading clinician–led healthcare consulting and IT services group to a global technology and services company specialising in the healthcare field
  • the restructuring and relocation of a nutritional supplements business within the UK
  • settlement of a long running shareholders dispute concerning a company running a niche members’ gym in a close knit area of London
  • finalisation of the UK legal aspects to a cross border merger with an Italian company
  • the negotiation of departure terms for the CEO of a leading interdealer broker

Andrew has over the years enjoyed advising many owner-managed SMEs on the range of their needs for commercial, employment and dispute related legal advice.  He is delighted that the firm has recently received recognition through the award by Acquisitions International of “UK Most Trusted Law Firm of the Year to SMEs 2013” because it goes to the depth of the relationships the firm has with its clients and its target market in terms of size of business clients.

Andrew was educated at Nailsea School and holds degrees in law from Manchester and Leicester Universities.  He qualified as a solicitor in 1995. He is a co-author of a Practical Guide to Drone Law.

Away from the office Andrew, married to a local GP and of occasional use to his three teenage children, runs and is heavily involved in his local church.

020 7406 1000 -
Partner - Corporate

The Legal 500: Recommended lawyer 2020Katarzyna (Kate) Boguslawska is a Partner in our corporate and commercial department.

Kate’s clients range from start-up owners through to SMEs and some global main-players who need advice on business-related matters. These range from advice on employment and company matters to contract drafting and disputes. Kate understands her clients, their needs and goals. Her clients often praise her pragmatic approach and tailored practical advice.


In her employment practice Kate:

  • drafts contracts, handbooks and company policies
  • provides regular Employment/HR Advice
  • negotiates contracts
  • drafts and negotiate settlement agreements
  • helps to navigate through TUPE, restructure and redundancies
  • advises and represents in claims for unfair dismissal, discrimination, breach of contract, unlawful deduction from wages, etc
  • advises on injunctive relief and restrictive covenants

Notable employment work included:

  • advising a well-known English designer in company restructure and redundancies;
  • advising employers and high net worth individuals on settlement agreements and severance packages;
  • regular HR advice to a number of company clients;
  • advising media company on contracts and issues relating to confidentiality, IP and restrictive covenants;
  • representing high earning claimants in ‘Stress at Work’ personal injury matters.


In her commercial and company practice Kate:

  • advises on suitable business entities and company formation;
  • advises on company and directors’ duties;
  • drafts necessary company documents including amended articles and resolutions;
  • drafts and negotiates contracts and shareholders’ agreements;
  • advises on shareholders disputes.

Notable commercial work included:

  • advising and representing foreign companies establishing business in the UK;
  • advising companies on matters involving directors’ duties and shareholders’ disputes;
  • advising a Polish PLC on contract matters and negotiating on its behalf with an English PLC;
  • representing an international cosmetics company in injunctive relief and restraint of trade matters;
  • representing hauliers in representations against Border Force and HMRC in excise duty matters;
  • advising EU nationals on immigration issues, residency and citizenship applications in the UK.


Kate has strong links in the Polish community and is recommended by the Polish Embassy in London, having co-written a Guide for Polish Investors in the UK that was published by the Embassy. She has a broad network of international connections and has been instructed by law firms in Poland to assist their clients in matters involving English jurisdiction.

020 7406 1000 -

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