What is the European Economic Area (EEA)?
While some countries require visa programs such as in UK the tier one visa UK, UK startup visa, tier 1 business visa to come to the country, the European Economic Area is a list of countries that possess the right of free movement and the right of residence in the area and do not require a visa for work in any of the countries of the EEA. This includes the United Kingdom, implying that members of the EEA can work and stay in the United Kingdom without the need for any UK business visa.
The countries included in the European Economic Area are:
Hasn’t the United Kingdom left the European Union (EU)?
The United Kingdom will officially leave the European Union (EU) on March 29, 2019. The laws and procedures for working and settlement in the United Kingdom still hold until that time. After the United Kingdom has fully left the EU, the EEA nationals will be required to apply for the same visas as non-EEA nationals e.g. tier one visa UK, UK startup visa, tier 1 business visa etc.
What are the application requirements for any EU citizen applying for settlement in the UK?
For Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Limited Leave to Remain (LLR), a valid application would require that the application has followed the due process as required while the applicant is in the UK. The set fee also has to be paid as requirement of the application process.
The applicant is also required to file any form of document to prove his/her identity along with proof of nationality.
EU citizens are required to submit biometric data while applying for ILR or LLR. If an applicant who belongs to the family of a UK citizen, they can also apply to be given Indefinite or Limited Leave to Remain (ILR/LLR).
If the requirements laid out are met, the United Kingdom will have no further grounds for refusal as laid out in paragraph EU9 which lists the above mentioned requirements for settlement. An application cannot be refused on the basis of suitability.
You are first granted Limited Leave to Remain (LLR) in the United Kingdom for a period of 5 years as per law.
What can I do to apply for permanent resident/ILR in the United Kingdom as an EU citizen?
After Limited Leave to Remain (LLR) is granted for a period of 5 years, and the applicant has stayed in the country for that amount of time on a continuous basis, you will become eligible to apply for permanent settlement in the country. For partners of EU citizens who are not themselves citizens of the European Union, they will need to prove the validity of the relationship. You need to have started residency in the United Kingdom before December 31, 2020, to be eligible for permanent residency in the United Kingdom as an EU citizen.
Is there any nationality that is not required to apply for settlement and can stay without any form of permission in the United Kingdom?
Citizens of Ireland are allowed to settle in the United Kingdom without permission from the government, but family members who are not from Ireland will have to apply for settlement through the proper channels. After Brexit, the rights of nationals of countries that include Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland are still being processed and discussed.
After Brexit, how long can citizens of the European Union (EU) exercise their free movement rights?
Citizens of the EU can continue their rights of free movement in the United Kingdom until December 31, 2020. This is known as the implementation period.
Is there any reason the United Kingdom can forcefully remove a citizen of the EU exercising his free movement rights?
The only scenario under which the United Kingdom can forcefully remove an EU citizen from exercising his free movement rights is if the person in question poses as an imminent threat to the public and can potentially harm the country by breaking any UK law.
What is a UK Residence Certificate and how is different from a UK Residence Card?
Members of the European Economic Area (EEA) are given a UK Residence certificate for confirmation of their settlement in the UK. This is required for your application while applying for settlement in the United Kingdom.
For people who are not included in the European Economic Area (EEA), a residence card is given. The residence card is also given to extended family members of an EEA national who has applied for settlement in the United Kingdom and you are applying along with them.
The UK Residence Certificate and the UK Residence Card has been created for the ease of the applicant to show to employers or anyone who demands proof that you have applied for residency in the United Kingdom. It can also help the applicant when he travels abroad.
An 85 page form titled ‘Form EEA (PR)’ that costs GBP 65 is required after residency in the United Kingdom of 5 years has been completed. The residence card is given after the form has been submitted and can be used for up to 5 years.
Can EEA nationals be refused a United Kingdom Residence Certificate?
If a national of the EEA does not have health insurance or a document of evidence of his/her health insurance, such as a EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), the applicant can be refused a UK residence certificate by the UK Home Office.
The Home Office will not deport people of the EEA who do not buy Health Insurance but it will not allow them to apply for permanent residence in the United Kingdom.
My partner is not a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) but I wish to travel to the UK with him/her, what can I do?
If any European Economic Area (EEA) state has not issued the family member of an EEA national a residence certificate, then the family member must apply for a family permit if they wish to enter into the UK with the EEA national.
Can I apply for permanent settlement as a non-EEA family member of an EEA national?
Any form of documented evidence that proves your relationship with the EEA national will be required and submitted online. Documented evidence of your family member’s identity and nationality will also be required to be submitted. The non-EEA must also provide biometric information to an application center that should be located anywhere in the United Kingdom. If the applicant already possesses a biometric residence card, then the biometric information is not required to be submitted.
When the non-EEA family member has continuously resided in the United Kingdom for a minimum period of five years, they are eligible to apply for permanent residence status.
If the non-EEA family member is an extended family member, then they must apply for a residence card to legally reside in the United Kingdom.
The EEA member must provide documentary evidence to prove his/her family relationship with the family member in question that includes any civil partnership certificate, birth or adoption certificate or proof of marriage (marriage certificate).
Financial dependency must also be shown that provide evidence that the family member is dependant on you for a living. This can be done through receipts that show money being transferred or any financial document that proves that the family member is dependant on you. This can include any shared utility bill or a cell phone bill or any document naming you and the family member.
Examples of any documentation that can be provided to prove your relationship is provided as:
What is the form EEA (PR) and how is it important when applying for a Residence card or Certificate?
For non-EEA and EEA nationals, who wish to apply for any documentary proof that they are carrying permanent UK settlement, can apply for form EEA (PR). This is a form of evidence that guarantees your permanent residence in the United Kingdom.
You must have resided in the United Kingdom for a minimum period of five years to be able to apply for this form.
In this five year period, you can have been working as a qualified worker in the UK as an EEA national.
You are only allowed to apply for this form as an extended family member if you have a legitimate residence certificate or any official documentary proof while you were in the qualifying period.
Remember to use a black pen and write any relevant information in capital letters. Leave the parts that do not apply to you blank. Make sure every relevant address that you need to provide are given.
You are not allowed to apply for this form by hand. You can only do so through post.
As mentioned previously, the applicant must provide biometric information at the relevant centre mentioned and pay a fee for the procedure in cash. Swiss nationals are included to apply for this process.
What if I am unable to qualify for the five year period before 2019, when the UK leaves the EU?
You will be given pre-settled status and given a period of further 5 years to stay in the United Kingdom while having the same access to public resources as you did before. Once your 5 years have been completed, you can apply for permanent residence.
What if the applicant has a history of criminal convictions? Can he apply to settle in the United Kingdom as an EEA national?
If the applicant is above the age of 18 and wishes to apply for indefinite stay but has a past of criminal convictions, he/she still can permanently in the United Kingdom depending on the nature of his/her crimes. The applicant is also cross checked on the crime database of the United Kingdom.
Do I have to apply online if I want to settle for permanent residence in the UK?
Yes, applicants must apply online and provide all relevant documentation along with the information required. This was implemented in December 2017 because of an agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
The applicant is judged on three criteria’s that include past criminal convictions, their proof of identity and the status of their residence in the United Kingdom.