EEA Residence Card

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 national

Settled Status in the UK refers to the immigration status granted to eligible EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens, as well as their family members, who were living in the UK before the end of the Brexit transition period (December 31, 2020). It allows individuals to continue living and working in the UK without any immigration restrictions. Settled Status is part of the UK government’s EU Settlement Scheme, which was introduced to protect the rights of EU citizens and their family members residing in the UK after Brexit. Once granted Settled Status, individuals are granted the right to stay indefinitely in the UK and enjoy various benefits and services.

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.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK is an immigration status that grants an individual the right to live and work in the country without any time restrictions. ILR is also known as settlement or permanent residency. It allows individuals to stay in the UK for an indefinite period and provides them with a wide range of benefits, such as access to public funds, healthcare, and education.