EU/EEA Nationals and Their Families

EEA nationals and their family members and extended family members may be able to reside in the UK, and acquire permanent residence and ultimately naturalise as British Citizens.

The EEA national will need to be economically active, ie exercising Treaty rights. This means working, self employed, studying, self sufficient, looking for work. In some situations EEA family and extended family members may have a right to stay in the UK even if the EEA national is no longer in the UK or exercising Treaty rights. These are known as Retained and Derivative rights of residence.

EU/EEA Nationals

EEA nationals and their family members can apply for residence documents as proof that they have the right to reside in the UK. These are residence certificates for EEA nationals, and residence cards for non EEA national family members and extended family members. Extended family members do need a residence card and in the current climate of uncertainty following the Brexit vote it is advisable to have a document even when not strictly necessary.

If outside the UK, non EEA family members and extended family members will need to apply for an EEA family permit.

EEA nationals and their family and extended family members can acquire permanent residence and after a year with permanent residence may be able to naturalise as British Citizens.

We Can Help

Our specialists in EU law can advise you and your family members on your rights to live and work in the UK, on the steps that can be taken to obtain the relevant documents confirming your rights and safeguarding your future.

We frequently assist EEA nationals whose applications for residence documents have been refused and have a great deal of experience in assisting EEA nationals facing deportation. Despite UK Immigration and Visas taking an increasingly tough approach, at Haris Ali Solicitors we continue to have a successful track record for our clients.

The following is a basic overview. Please remember there is no substitute for seeking advice directly from one of our experts, as every case is different and the law and political climate is constantly changing.

Are you a citizen of an EEA country?

If you are a citizen of an EEA country (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and for the purposes of immigration, Switzerland; you have what is known as an initial right of residence for 3 months.

After this you can stay in the United Kingdom and don’t need any kind of documentation to confirm your residence in the United Kingdom as long as you are exercising treaty rights. This means, you must be doing one of the following:-




Self employed




Self Sufficient


Looking for work


Do I need an immigration document – EEA Registration certificate

As a qualified person, you don’t need any documentation to confirm your immigration status in the United Kingdom, because the right of residence exists as a matter of European Union law. However, in some circumstances it may be easier for you to obtain various services if you have a registration certificate, as this document acts as clear confirmation of your right of residence in the UK.

Having a registration certificate can also make it easier to make applications for your family and extended family members to stay in the United Kingdom.

A registration certificate will be valid for 5 years.

British Citizenship

When you have had permanent residence for one year, you will be eligible to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen. If you do this before the UK leaves the EU you won’t need to worry about complying with requirements under a new immigration regime.


In the current climate of uncertainty following the Brexit vote, it may be advisable to have a registration certificate as this may make any future application for a document certifying permanent residence easier.

The government has also confirmed that after the UK leaves the EU, all EU citizens and their families living in the UK will need to apply for new documents under the new immigration regime. Having a registration certificate may make that process easier.

Permanent Residence After 5 Years

When you have lived in the UK continuously for 5 years (have not been absent from the UK for more than 6 months in any one year) and throughout the 5 year period, you have been working, studying, self employed, self sufficient, or looking for work, you will acquire permanent residence and will be able to apply for a document certifying permanent residence.

Permanent residence before 5 years

In some situations, you may be able to get permanent residence in less than 5 years.


If you have to stop working you can get permanent residence immediately if you have to stop working permanently due to permanent incapacity because of a work related accident or illness, that means you are entitled to a UK pension.


After you have been resident in the UK for 2 yearsIf you have lived continuously in the UK for 2 years or more, you could get permanent residence if you have to stop working or being self employed because of an accident or illness resulting in permanent incapacity.


After you have been resident in the UK for 3 years If you have lived continuously in the UK for 3 years or more, you can get permanent residence when you:

  • reach state pension age
  • and you have worked as an employee or self employed continuously in the UK for the previous year
  • retire early having worked continuously in the UK for 1 year
  • start work or self employment in another EEA country or Switzerland

Do I need a document certifying permanent residence?

You don’t need a document to confirm your status. However if you intend to apply for British Citizenship you will need to have a document certifying you have permanent residence.

The government has also confirmed that after the UK leaves the EU, all EU citizens and their families living in the UK will need to apply for new documents under a new immigration regime. Having a document certifying your permanent residence now, may make that process easier.

Family Members of EEA Citizens

Family members of EEA citizens who are qualified ie working, self employed, self sufficient, studying, or looking for work have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom. A family member is:


Their spouse or civil partner


Their (or their spouse/civil partner’s) child or grandchild who is under 21 or a dependent


Their (or their spouse/civil partner’s) dependent parents or grandparents

If the EEA national qualified person is a student, you can only qualify as their family member if you are their spouse or civil partner, or their (or their spouse/civil partner’s) dependent child.

Do I need a residence document?

Family members who are EEA nationals can apply for an EEA residence certificate.

Non EEA family members can apply for a residence card. Residence documents are usually valid for 5 years

You don’t need to apply for a residence card as a family member of an EEA national, but it can:


Help you re-enter the country more quickly and easily if you travelled overseas


Show employers you are allowed to work in the UK


Help you prove you qualify for certain benefits and services


A residence certificate or residence card may make it easier when applying for permanent residence

Extended Family Members

You can reside in the UK as an extended family member if you are either:


The unmarried partner of the EEA national and you are in a lasting relationship with them that is similar to a marriage or civil partnership – durable relationship.


A relative of the EEA national (or their spouse or civil partner) but you do not qualify as their family member


Relatives include brothers or sisters, aunts or uncles, nephews or nieces and cousins.

Relatives can also include grandchildren, parents and grandparents if the EEA national only has the right to residence as a student. One of the following must also apply:


Before coming to the UK, you were dependent on the EEA national or were a member of the EEA national’s household, and you are still dependent on them or are still a member of their household.


You need the personal care of the EEA national (or of their spouse or civil partner) on serious health grounds.

Do I need a residence document? – YES

Extended families to do not have an inherent right to reside in the UK. You need to apply either for an EEA permit if you are outside the United Kingdom, or a residence card if you are already in the UK. The application will be considered based on your individual circumstances. The Home Office retains a discretion as to whether to issue an EEA permit or residence card.

 020 8570 7300

Put simply, our immigration solicitors will provide guidance throughout the process,
liaising with all relevant government bodies, including UK Visas and Immigration,
British Consulate, overseas agents and where necessary the courts.

Haris Ali Solicitors can help

EU Immigration Solicitors

Sophia Zaman

Mavelyn Vidal

Experts In All Areas of Immigration

Whatever your legal requirements, our Immigration Law solicitors are on hand to provide you with clear, informed and professional advice.

Why not call us today on 020 8570 7300 to arrange your no obligation consultation?

Haris Ali Solicitors
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Tahira Chaudry
Tahira Chaudry
00:30 09 Mar 20
The team at Haris Ali are compassionate, supportive and very professional. They handled my case to the highest... standards of professionalism and always in a competent and approachable manner. I would not hesitate to recommend this legal firm to others especially when it comes to family more
Nabeeha Latif
Nabeeha Latif
17:22 05 Mar 20
Yasmin and Waleed have been very co operative and supportive to us throughout our visa process for my husband. We had... a couple of hurdles but at every stage they had managed to overcome them. Every time we contacted the office they were always prompt and accommodating to our needs. They were also very understanding when it came to us paying agreed fees as they didn’t constantly bug us to pay them and gave us good time. Highly recommended as we were given a great service! 👍🏽Thank you 🙏🏽 guys...😊read more
ty haq
ty haq
22:40 02 Mar 20
I would like to thank Amaka Olateju  and Yasmeen Ali for all the hard work you have put in dealing with a... challenging and very sensitive housing issue. Your support and dedication even with time constraints has been outstanding.You have gone beyond the call of duty and achieved a very good outcome in this matter and this is greatly appreciated.I highly recommend Amaka, Yasmeen and Haris Ali more
Phi Ngoc Le
Phi Ngoc Le
19:45 24 Feb 20
It’s been an extremely difficult journey for us to get our Visas. 2 other solicitors before had ruined our case.... Only when come to Haris Ali Solicitor things started to go in the right direction. I love that they always have options and back up plan. The way they prepare application is second to none, really thorough. Home Office love that they do extra copies cause it saves them lots of time.Apart from their professionalism and competitive price, I am really appreciate Amar, Yasmeen, Mavelyn and other guys who have been there with me through the emotionally tough times. Highly recommend more
Sha Aaz
Sha Aaz
23:14 09 Jan 20
Great solicitors! Supported me throughout my case and got me a win. Highly recommend.
F Parveen
F Parveen
22:12 03 Nov 19
Hairs Ali solicitors have got me a win. I had very little chances of winning yet Yasmeen has put hard work to getting... me a win. She has been very supportive throughout the process. I have booked numerous appointments with Yasmeen and she has always been reassuring and patient. I have always received satisfaction. Would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a solicitor. Yasmeen is highly experienced, intelligent and a friendly solicitor, would highly recommend Haris Ali more
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We Support You All The Way


We will advise you on your EU/EEA rights for you and all your family members


We will advise on whether you should apply for an EEA family permit if outside the UK or a residence document if you are already in the UK


We will ensure that you have the correct documentation that proves you fulfil all requirements


We will advise and assist you in completing the application forms including the on-line process where appropriate


We will guide you throughout the application process liaising with UK Immigration and Visas


We will make detailed representations in support of any application setting out clearly why the application should succeed, highlighting the documentation we are submitting, your specific circumstances and how this proves you meet all the requirements and have the right to reside in the UK

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Covid-19 Update

In light of the current situation our teams are now working on a remote basis. We remain fully operational, however our offices are not available for client meetings. Your usual contacts can be reached by email and mobile phone.

We are open for business as normal, working remotely. We remain able to take new enquiries.

Read about our Covid-19 continuity process here

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