European Economic Area (EEA) and European Union (EU) nationals are permitted to freely travel to the UK to find work, study or retire. Under the Treaty of Rome they are treated in a different manner to visa nationals. Visa nationals may be person from another country who would normally need a visa to enter the UK.

European dependents applications are NOT dealt with under the UK's Immigration Rules and may not be refused under these rules. They are covered only under EU legislation. There is no requirement to have previously lived in another EU state before you may apply to come to the UK.

The EEA/EU Countries Are:

Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland (Eire), Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

While the UK is a member state the provisions of the Treaty do NOT apply to British Citizens wanting to bring a visa national into the UK. Under the Treaty Swiss nationals are treated in the same regards as other EEA/EU nationals.


An EEA/EU national who would like to either work in the UK, study or retire in the UK may apply for a Family Permit to allow their visa national spouse or children to live with them in the UK.

A family permit is valid for 6 months and may be post-dated for up to 3 months following the date of application. If you are working or retired in the UK, children over 21 years of age can be admitted if they do not have a separate family life and is proven they are financially dependent on you.

This applies to the children of the visa national party as the children of the European party usually have the automatic right to be in the UK. If you are not employed in the UK you will be required to prove that you have sufficient funds available to support your family without use of Public Funds.

A Family Permit replaces an ordinary UK entry visa and it is a visa under a different name however it does not act the same way as a visa which is normally issued for a specific time or reasonand comes with restrictions.


If you are a British Citizen and nationality of another EU country, for example Ireland, you may choose to make an application as a British Citizen or as an Irish Citizen. There are many advantages and disadvantages in both cases. Please contact us regarding your personal circumstances.


  • Entry Clearance Officer feels that the marriage is purely one of convenience for immigration purposes.
  • IEU spouse is not permitted to reside in the UK.
  • EU spouse is unable to prove that they are exercising their Treaty Rights in the UK.
  • In the event that documents presented are forged, false or deliberately misleading.
  • - False statements are made by the EU spouse or the visa national applicant regarding their application
  • Refusal is in the best case of the public interest.
  • Refusal cannot be made under the UK Immigration Rules.

Currently there are no family permits available under the Treaty in these situations. There is currently a proposal under review by the EU Parliament that may allow for these situations. Details of a change in the law are expected to be announced.


There are no current provisions regarding a Fiancee under EU regulations. The normal application and fees for a British Citizen making an application for a fiancee visa apply.


EU students may only apply to have their spouse or dependent children join them in the UK. A student may take up employment in the UK however they may have to register under the Workers Registration program.


The visa national family member is allowed to enter the UK for a maximum of 6 months. During that time an application for a residency permit must be submitted to the UKBA on form EEA 2.

A residency permit is usually valid for 5 years however may be less if the individual exercising the Treaty right is in the UK for a shorter period or has a residency permit valid for less than 5 years.

If the EU/EEA person has not already done so he or she may make an application for a residency permit at the same time as the visa national. Once a residency permit has been issued the visa national will not be required to apply for a new Family Permit each time they leave the UK and would like to return.


The visa national may apply for permanent residency in the UK after residing in the UK for 5 years. 1 year after permanent residency has been given British Citizenship may be applied for and following that a British passport. This is an option and is not required.


Grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters may be allowed entry on a family permit depending on circumstances. Most cases you will be required to prove that they were either living with you before coming to the UK or that they are financially dependent on you.


The visa national may study or work in the UK if they would like without the need for a work permit however is subject to the normal UK rules regarding taxation and National Health Insurance (NHI) contributions. You are not required to register with the police.

Workers from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia must be registered under the Worker Registration program. Following 12 months of working in the UK they may get a residence permit and will be given full rights to free movement.


It is commonly know that a visa national with a British residency document will be permitted to travel freely within the EEA/EU without needing a separate visa or Schengen visa.

This however does not give the right to settle in another EEA/EU country. Under normal circumstances the residency document and the passport of the visa national are required to be shown at immigration. Each country does have different immigration rules and you encouraged to always check the current regulations with the visa section of the UK based embassy in the country you intend to visit a great deal in advance prior to travelling.

Immigration rules for every country are constantly changing.

Please note a UK Family Permit does NOT permit entry to another EU country and is valid for ONE entry only in to the UK.


Unless permanent UK residency status has already been given to the visa national family members, residency status may be lost if:

  • EEA/EU person loses the right to live in the UK,
  • If you leave the UK permanentlyI
  • If the EEA/EU individual or the visa national are not working and cannot live without support from Public Funds
  • If you divorce.

A Family Permit may be used as a tourist visa in the event the eligible family members intention is on spending less than six months in the UK.


A UK Citizen who is working or otherwise exercising his treaty rights in another European state can bring his wife and/or children to that state under the EU program and then later apply under EU regulations to bring his wife and family to the UK without having to apply for the usual UK visa when he relocates back to the UK.

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