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An EU national’s right to enter and remain in the United Kingdom was determined by EU legislation before Brexit.

Previously, the European Economic Area Regulations 2016 provided that nationals of EEA member states and Swiss Nationals had an automatic right to enter the UK and remain here for an initial period of 3 months providing valid identity had been shown. In order to remain in the UK for a period exceeding those 3 months, the EU national had to be a ‘Qualified Person’, for example either a “worker”, “self-employed person”, “self-sufficient person” or a “student”. You may also have been considered a qualified person if you were a worker or self-employed person who had ceased activity due to illness or involuntary termination. Following Brexit, the EEA family permit continued to provide a separate entry clearance route to those who qualified for it until its closure on 30th June 2021.

What is the EUSS Family Permit?

Under Appendix EU (Family Permit), family members of EU nationals, or family members of nationals of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, may be able to apply for an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit to travel to the UK with their family member or to join them in the UK for up to 6 months. Family members of nationals of Northern Ireland may also be able to apply for the EUSS Family Permit, if they are eligible. You must apply for an EUSS Family Permit from outside of the UK.

Please click here for the Home Office guidance on EUSS Family Permits.

What can I do with an EUSS Family Permit?

EUSS Family Permit allow for eligible family members to travel or join their family member in the UK for up to 6 months. During this time, you will be permitted to work and study, and visit the UK as many times as you like before the expiry of your permit. You can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to stay in the UK after your EUSS Family Permit expires.

Who can apply for an EUSS Family Permit?

You may be able to apply for an EUSS Family Permit if you are the family member of a person who was living in the UK by 31st December 2020. You may also be able to apply if your family member in the UK has British citizenship, but only if they also have one of the following:

  1. Their citizenship from the EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein, and they were living in the UK and exercising their free movement rights before becoming a British citizen
  2. Dual nationality with an EU country, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein, and they were settled in the UK before 16th July 2012 without exercising their free movement rights

Children who were born or adopted after 31st December 2020 may also be eligible to apply for an EUSS Family Permit, if one of the following applies:

  1. They are the child of a national from the EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein who was living in the UK by 31st December 2020
  2. They are the child of a spouse or civil partner of a national from the EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein who was living in the UK by 31st December 2020 and where the family relationship began before 31st December 2020.

Who is considered to be an eligible family member?

You can apply for an EUSS Family Permit if you are one of the following family members:

As above, you can also apply if you’re one of the following family members of the spouse or civil partner:

  • their child or grandchild aged under 21
  • their dependent child or grandchild over 21
  • their dependent parent or grandparent

Can I apply as the family member of a person of Northern Ireland?

Family members of a ‘specified person’ of Northern Ireland may also be eligible to apply for an EUSS Family Permit, if they are not a national of an EU country, Switzerland, Iceland Norway or Liechtenstein. To apply for an EUSS Family Permit as a family member of a person of Northern Ireland, the person of Northern Ireland must:

  1. Be a British, Irish or dual British and Irish citizen
  2. Have been born in Northern Ireland
  3. At the time of their birth, had at least one parent who held British, Irish or dual British and Irish citizenship. Alternatively, they must not have had a restriction on how long they could stay in Northern Ireland
  4. Have been living in the UK since before 31st December 2020
  5. Have settled or pre-settled status, or be able to show that they are eligible for it if they had applied by 30th June 2021.

What does it mean to have ‘retained the right of residence’?

If you previously had the right to reside in the UK through an eligible member and this family member has died, left the UK, or your relationship has broken down, you may have ‘retained the right of residence’ and as such, be able to apply for an EUSS Family Permit.

You may have ‘retained the right of residence’ if one of the following applies:

  • Your eligible family member in the UK has died
  • You are the child of an eligible family member who has died or left the UK, and you are in education in the UK
  • You have a child with an eligible family member who has died or left the UK, and the child is in education in the UK
  • You and the eligible family member have gotten divorced, or an eligible family member has divorced a member of your family
  • Your relationship with an eligible family member has broken down due to domestic violence or abuse.

Can I apply for an EUSS Family Permit if I lived in the EU with my British family member?

You can no longer apply for an EUSS Family Permit if you are the family member of a British citizen who you were living with in the EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein. If this is the case, you may be eligible to apply for a family visa under the Immigration Rules.

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Danielle invites you to take a look at her blog, where you will see the diverse range of clients that she has helped.

Danielle and her team of Immigration Solicitors in London deal with EU family permit applications on a daily basis and will be able to help you to collate the relevant evidence of residency and complete the lengthy application form with ease. This way you will be able to obtain your documentation as quickly and efficiently as possible.If you would like assistance with your application please call us on 020 7267 4133.

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