The EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit allows some EEA and non-EEA citizens to travel to and enter the UK to join or accompany an immediate family member who is a relevant citizen of the UK, Northern Ireland or the EEA.
What is the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) family permit?
The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) family permit allows a person resident within the EEA (including the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein) or outside the EEA to come to the UK if they are a family member of someone from the EEA, the United Kingdom or Northern Ireland.
The purpose of the EUSS family permit is to ensure that the holder can travel to the UK, gain entry once they arrive and join their family member. Without an EUSS family permit there is a risk of travel or entry refusal; as the guide states, “Without one, you may not get a boarding pass or may be refused entry to the UK.”
EUSS family permits are issued for up to 6 months and during this period holders can work, study and travel freely in and out of the UK.
Once in the UK, EUSS family permit holders may be able to stay longer, and possibly indefinitely, if they are eligible to apply for pre-settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme.
EU Settlement Regime Family Permit vs EEA Family Permit
EEA family permits are no longer available and have been replaced by the EUSS family permit scheme. Like the EUSS Family Permit, the EEA Family Permit allowed non-EEA citizens to come to the UK by virtue of their close family relationship with an EU/EEA citizen living here.
If you already hold an EEA family permit, it will no longer be valid from 30 June 2021.
Eligible family members should now apply for an EUSS family permit rather than an EEA family permit.
Who can apply for the EUSS family permit?
There are several ways in which you may be eligible for an EUSS family permit, as follows:
- As an eligible family member of a person from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
- To benefit from this route, your family member from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein must have started living in the UK
- This route is also available to family members of people with British citizenship if they also have a) citizenship of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, if they lived in the UK before becoming a British citizen, or b) dual nationality with one country of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. In this case, they must have established themselves in the UK
- Family members of ‘border workers’ can also apply under this route: border workers travel to the UK for work but live in their home country.
As a family member of a person living in the UK (retained right of abode)
With this route you can acquire an EUSS family permit if a family member from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Lichtenstein was living in the UK, but has since died, left the UK or the family relationship has ended. broken down. To qualify, your family member must have resided in the UK by the deadline of 31 December 2020.
As a family member of a British citizen (Surinder Singh route)
This route allows a family member of a British citizen to enter the UK if they lived together in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein before 1 January 2021.
As a family member of an eligible person from Northern IrelandYou will also be able to apply for an EUSS family permit if you can demonstrate that you have an Irish, British or dual British and Irish family member born in Northern Ireland. The rules also state: “When born, they must also have had a parent who held dual British, Irish or nationality (or had no restrictions on length of stay in Northern Ireland).”
Eligible family members
Only eligible family members can apply for an EUSS family permit, including:
- Spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner
- Child or grandchild under 21 years old
- Dependent child or grandchild over the age of 21
- Dependent parent or grandparent
- Family members adopted under an adoption provision recognized by UK law.
- You will be able to request a EUSS Family Permit if you are a family member entitled to:
- An EEA citizen with EUSS status (even if that person is now deceased)
- A person who holds dual EEA and British citizenship
- An Irish citizen who has Settled Status in the UK or has lived in the UK for some time before 1 July 2021;
- A British or Irish citizen born in Northern Ireland.
- Holder of cross-border worker permit
How to apply for the EUSS family permit
- The application process for a EUSS family permit must be completed online
- There is no application fee for a EUSS family permit
- You will not have to pay the immigration health surcharge when applying for a EUSS family permit
- You must be outside the UK to apply for an EUSS family permit
- There is no deadline for applying for a EUSS family permit
- You may need to book an appointment to have your biometric data (i.e. fingerprints and photos) captured at a local application center in your country of residence. How you can provide your biometric data will be explained to you when you complete the application form.
- Your family permit for the EU residency regime will be valid for 4 or 6 months.
Remain in the UK fter EUSS family permit
As a EUSS family permit holder, if you plan to stay in the UK beyond the 4 or 6 month period, you will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). This will allow you to remain in the UK with pre-settled status and, after 5 years, be granted Settled Status.
It is important to plan ahead as you will need to apply to the EUSS within 3 months of arriving in the UK or before your family permit expires. If this time has already passed, you may be able to apply if you have “reasonable grounds” for applying late (for example for medical reasons or if you have been a victim of domestic abuse).