The Right of EU & EEA nationals and their family members in United Kingdom:
– Citizens of countries in the EEA (European Economic Area) can move freely between the member states and live where they choose. EEA Nationals have the right to take a job, seek employment, or set up a business in the United Kingdom, just like British Citizens.
– Swiss nationals and EEA nationals have a right to live and work in the United Kingdom. This is called a right of residence.
– If you are an EEA national, you can generally enter the UK to study, work, establish a business or reside in the UK as a self-sufficient EU national.
– EEA Nationals are allowed to bring their family members to any EEA country. Family members can apply for a family permit that proves they have the right to live in the UK. If a non-EEA family member is accompanying the EEA member they must have an EEA Family Permit. In the UK non-EEA family members can apply for a Residence Document that proves their right to live with their family in the UK.
All EEA nationals have a right to continue to reside in the UK as long as they are a ‘qualified person’ and exercising their Treaty rights in the UK. Treaty rights refer to any of the following circumstances:
– Employment (including job seeking)
– Economic Self-Sufficiency
You’re usually eligible for a
– Registration Certificate: if you’ve lived in the UK for less than 5 years as a qualified person.
– Permanent Residence Document: if you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years as a qualified person.
Retaining a Right of Residence
It is possible for a family member to ‘retain’ a right of residence in the UK where the European national dies or leaves the UK, or where the family member is a spouse or civil partner, if the relationship breaks down.
Divorce from an EEA citizen
– If you are a non-EEA citizen and you are married to an EEA citizen, you may be allowed to stay in the UK in case of the divorce.
– If a non-EEA citizen has been married to an EEA citizen for at least 3 years and they resided in the UK for at least 12 months and both of them were economically active in the UK during the divorce proceedings, then a non-EEA citizen may be granted further leave to stay in the UK.
Continued right of residence during separation / Marital breakdown
– A non-EEA national who is the spouse / civil partner of an EEA national does not cease to be a family member in the event of marital breakdown / separation as long as the EEA national continues to exercise Treaty rights in the United Kingdom.
– The non-EEA national continues to have a right of residence until such time as a divorce is finalized, (a Decree Absolute is obtained) / the civil partnership is dissolved.
– However, a non-EEA national spouse / civil partner will lose their right of residence if the EEA national leaves the United Kingdom, unless the non-EEA qualifies for a retention right of residence as detailed above.