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EEA Family Permit and UK Residence Card

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The EEA Family Permit allows family members, including extended family members, of European Economic Area nationals to join them in the UK, or travel to the UK with them at a later date.

The UK Residence Card has similar eligibility conditions, but your family meber must already be in the UK to apply. The UK Residence Card lasts for up to 5 years, and is significantly harder to obtain than an EEA Family Permit: applications are considered at the UK Home Office's discretion, and there is no guarantee of being granted a visa even if you meet the conditions.

Length of stay

The EEA Family Permit is valid for 6 months. The Uk Residence Card lasts for 5 years.

Family member conditions

You must be related to the family member who you are applying to join in the UK as their:

  • Spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner, OR:

Related to them, or their spouse or civil partner as a:

  • Dependent child or grandchild

  • Dependent parent or grandparent

  • Dependent extended family member

The family member must also either already be in the UK, or planning to travel with you to the UK within 6 months of your EEA Family Permit application. If your family member has been in the UK for 3 months or more, or yu are applyinf got a UK Residence Card, they must either:

  • Have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, or

  • Be a 'qualified person', which means they must be in work, study*, self employment, be self sufficient due to savings or other income, or be actively looking for work in the UK

If the family member is a student you can only qualify as a family member if you are their spouse or civil partner, or their/their spouse or civil partner's dependent child. Otherwise you must apply as an extended family member.

Further information, help, and advice

The laws on UK immigration and nationality are highly complex for obtaining a UK family visa, with different family visa types for different family members, and different conditions depending on your status in the UK.'s team of specialists has over 25 years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to bring their family members to the UK. We work with OISC registered advisers who can submit your UK visa application to the Home Office to be dealt with on the same day.

For more information on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at