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European Nationals

Who is an EEA national?

The term ‘EEA’ means ‘European Economic Area’, this refers to all members of the European Union (EU) plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Swiss nationals also have the same right to live and work in the UK as EU and EEA nationals but are not in the EU or the EEA.

European immigration law permits all EEA nationals to move freely between EEA countries in order to seek employment. Thus, any EEA national has the right to live and work in the UK without any restrictions or having to apply for entry clearance or leave to remain.

EEA family Permits

If you are a Non-EEA national of a partner or family member of an EEA national you may be eligible to apply for a European Economic Area family permit.

You may apply as the wife, husband, civil or unmarried partner, child, grandchild, parent or grandparent of the EEA national you’ll be joining or accompanying to the UK. You can also apply for a family permit as a sibling or cousin of an EEA national.

You may also apply for an EEA family permit if you are the main carer of a self-sufficient child who is an EEA national, the child of an EEA national who was a worker or a British Citizen.

When applying for an EEA family permit you will be required to submit evidence relating to your financial status and your accommodation arrangements in the UK.

An EEA family permit is valid for six months; you are permitted to leave and enter the UK as many times as you need within the 6 month period. You can only use a family permit once but you can stay for longer than this 6 month period if you are:

  • related to an EEA national as their spouse or civil partner, child or grandchild, or their spouse or civil partner’s child or grandchild, and under 21 years old;
  • a dependent child or grandchild, or their spouse or civil partner’s child or grandchild, and over 21 years old;
  • a dependant parent or grandparent, or their spouse or civil partner’s parent or grandparent

An EEA family permit is most suited to individuals who only wish to stay in the UK with their EEA family member for short period of time. If you plan on staying in the UK for more than 6 months it would be best to apply for a residence card.

EEA residence card

As an EEA national are not required to apply for a residence card to be able to live and work in the UK. If you are a partner or family member of an EEA national you can apply for a residence card to show employers and other authorities that you have the right to live and work in the UK. Having a residence card is useful if you need to prove to employers that you have the right to work or if you would like to travel abroad without any hassle.

EEA Retained Rights of Residence

If you are in the UK as a family member of an EEA national and your relationship breaks down or your spouse dies, you can still make an application to stay in the UK under Regulation 10 Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006.

To qualify for continued permission to stay in the UK, you will be require to supply evidence demonstrating that your former spouse was a ‘Qualified person’ under Regulation 6 of The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006. You must show that they were working, self employed or self sufficient at the time of your relationship breakdown or immediately prior to their death.

Difficulties arise in cases where your relationship has completely broken down and your ex-spouse is unwilling to supply information relating to their status as a qualified person at the time of the breakdown. In very rare cases, the court is willing to issue directions stating that the HMRC must release information on the ex-spouse’s employment at the time of the breakdown.

Our immigration lawyers have successfully made an application for the court to issue directions asking the HMRC to provide the Home Office with information regarding the spouse’s employment status at the time of the relationship breakdown. With this information, we can secure leave to remain under the EEA Retained Rights of Residence provisions.

Permanent Residence Card

If you have been living in the UK with your partner or family member for a continuous period of 5 years you may apply for a permanent residence card under Regulation 15 of the Immigration (European Economic AreaRegulations 2006.

When applying for permanent residency your are required to provide payslips and bank statements showing that your EEA partner or family member has been a ‘Qualified person’ (worker, self-employed, self-sufficient, or student) for the 5 year period.

To be eligible for permanent residency, you must have not been absent from the UK for a period exceedingly 6 months during the 5 year period on which you wish to rely. There are a limited number of exceptions to this rule, for example, if you were completing military service the 6 month limit will not apply.

Croatian Nationals

If you are a Croatian national panning to live and work in the UK you can apply for what is known as a ‘registration certificate’, there are 3 types of certifications;

Purple registration certificates

If you would like to work in the UK you will need to be sponsored by an employer and then apply for a purple registration certificate from Croatia.

Blue registration certificates

If you hold a degree from a UK educational institution you can apply for a blue certificate from inside the UK. You will then be free to work in the UK.

If you have an endorsement from an approved organisation such as the Arts Council or Royal Academy you won’t need to be sponsored but you will still need to apply for a blue registration certificate.

Yellow registration certificates

If you are self employed you will need to apply for a yellow certificate.

If you are planning on working whilst you study in the UK, you must apply for a yellow registration certificate from inside the UK.

If you are a family member of a Croatian national you may be permitted to work in the UK

An additional requirement for Croatian nationals is that they must show that they will be employed for at least 3 months before relying on public funds.

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