Residence for relatives of EEA citizens
At the moment, in connection with the Brexit, there are two schemes for obtaining residence for EU citizens: EEA Regulations 2016 (European Immigration Rules 2016) and the EU Settlement scheme (under the UK immigration rules).
Both schemes are very similar in their structure. To begin with, the applicant applies for a Family Permit. This is the initial entry clearance visa for relatives of EEA citizens. This visa is issued for 6 months and placed in a passport. It allows multiple entries to the UK. After entering the UK it is possible switch to a five-year residence card with the right to reside and work in the UK.This structure is applicable for both schemes.
However, these immigration schemes have significant differences which we will discuss below.
• EEA Regulations 2016 (European Immigration Rules 2016)
Spouses, children (under 21 years old) and grandchildren (also under 21 years old) are considered as close relatives (direct relatives) of EEA citizens. Also, EEA national’s spouses can bring their close relatives.
According to these rules, there is no need to show financial dependence in order to bring spouses, children / grandchildren under 21 years old.
Extended family members such as grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and other distant relatives of an EEA citizen or his spouse will need to prove their financial dependence on an EEA citizen. It is very important to prove that without financial assistance from an EEA national (sponsor), the applicant would not be able to support himself and the sponsor covers most of the vital expenses of the applicant.
The advantage of this scheme is that unmarried partners who have lived together for 2 years (in some cases even less than 2 years) can apply for a family permit/residence card. Persons with past convictions can also apply for an entry clearance under these rules.
In order for an EEA national to be a sponsor and have the right to bring the dependants he must prove that he is a “Qualified person”. This means that the EU citizen is working and staying in the UK at the time the application is submitted.
Alternatively, if the EEA citizen is not yet in the UK he will have the right of initial residence for the first 3 months after the entry, and the right to bring close family members with him. After this period the sponsor (EEA citizen) will need to find a job in order not to lose this right.
The definition of a “Qualified person”
“Qualified person” is an EEA citizen in one of the following categories:
– an employee
– self-employed person
– financially independent person (with private health insurance) or a
– person looking for a job (this status can last no more than 6 months).
EEA Regulations 2016 will remain in effect until 31 December 2020, 11.00 PM. All applications which were submitted before the deadline will still be considered under the EEA Regulations and will have a right of appeal.
• EU Settlement scheme (UK immigration rules)
According to these rules close relatives (direct relatives) of EEA citizens are grandparents, parents, spouses, children (under 21 years old) and grandchildren (also under 21 years old), as well as relatives of wife / husband of an EEA citizen.
Extended family members are brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, unmarried partners and other distant relatives of an EEA citizen or his spouse.
The advantage of these scheme is that parents do not need to show their financial dependence from an EEA national. This dependence is accepted by the Home Office by default which allows you to obtain a family permit without unnecessary time, costs and additional documents to prove the financial sponsorship of the applicant.
If the applicant has criminal records or other problems with law in any country, the visa may be refused. Unmarried partners can apply under the EU Settlement Scheme only if the applicant has a Residence card or Family Permit an an unmarried partner issued under the European rules (EEA Regulations 2016).
To obtain a status under the new scheme, an EEA citizen must have a Settled or Pre-Settled status. Then a non-EEA national applications will be linked to the sponsor’s (an EEA national) status. Thereby, the list of required documents in relation to the sponsor’s work and stay in the UK is significantly reduced.