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EU Settlement Scheme family permit to join family in the UK
Apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit to join family in the UK
You may be able to get an EU Settlement Scheme family permit to come to the UK if you're the family member of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. You may also be able to apply if you're the family member of an eligible person of Northern Ireland.
The family members of some British citizens can also get a permit.
You must be outside the UK to apply.

Get in touch with our immigration lawyers to receive professional advice on your EU Settlement Scheme family permit case and learn how you can enter the UK and get leave to remain with your partner if he or she is a EU citizen.
Overview
You may be able to get an EU Settlement Scheme family permit to come to the UK if you're the family member of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. You may also be able to apply if you're the family member of an eligible person of Northern Ireland.

The family members of some British citizens can also get a permit.

You must be outside the UK to apply.
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What family permits are for
A family permit makes it easier to travel with your family member to the UK or to join them there.

It lets you come to the UK for up to 6 months. You can work and study, and come and go as many times as you want before the permit expires.

Without one, you might not get a boarding pass or may be refused entry into the UK.

You can apply to stay longer in the UK if you're eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme.
Applying to the EU Settlement Scheme
You can either:

  • apply for a family permit before you come to the UK, and then apply to the EU Settlement Scheme once you're here
  • apply to the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK, if you're eligible
You can only apply to the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK if you're eligible and either:

  • you're from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and have a valid passport or national identity card with a biometric chip
  • you're from somewhere else and you have a UK-issued biometric residence card (if it has not expired)
Otherwise, you will need to apply for a family permit to come to the UK.
Who can apply
There are different ways you can be eligible for a family permit. How you apply depends on how you're eligible.

If you're the family member of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein

You can apply for the permit if your family member started living in the UK by 31 December 2020. This includes family members who have British citizenship, if they also have:

  • their citizenship from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, and if they lived in the UK using their free movement rights before becoming a British citizen (also known as a 'Lounes' case)
  • dual nationality with an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, and they settled in the UK before 16 July 2012 without using their free movement rights (also known as a 'McCarthy' case)
You can also apply if your family member lives outside the UK but regularly works in the UK (also known as a 'frontier worker').
If you used to have a family member living in the UK
You can apply if you used to have a family member from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein living in the UK but they've died, left the UK or the family relationship has broken down. This is also known as having 'retained the right of residence'.

Your family member must have lived in the UK by 31 December 2020. If they moved to the UK later, you'll usually need a visa to come to the UK.
If you're the family member of a British citizen
You can apply as the family member of a British citizen if you're currently living with them in an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. You must have been living there with your family member by 31 December 2020 to apply.

You must apply for a family permit before you can return to the UK.

This is also known as a 'Surinder Singh' application.
If you're the family member of an eligible person of Northern Ireland
You can apply if you have a family member who is an eligible person of Northern Ireland.

To be eligible, your family member must be an Irish, British or dual British and Irish citizen who was born in Northern Ireland.

When they were born, they must also have had a parent who held British, Irish or dual citizenship (or had no restriction on how long they could stay in Northern Ireland).
Fees
It is free to apply for the permit.
After you've applied
If your application is successful, check how long your permit lasts and when you can apply to stay longer in the UK.
Apply if you're joining a family member from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
You can apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit to come to the UK if all of the following are true:

  • you're the eligible family member of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
  • your family relationship began by 31 December 2020
  • your family member was living in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • your family member is in the UK already or travelling with you to the UK within 6 months of your application
Children who were born or adopted after 31 December 2020 may also be eligible, if they're the child of either:

  • someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • the spouse or civil partner of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020, and where the family relationship began before that date
If your family member is an eligible person of Northern Ireland, there are different rules for applying for a family permit.
Eligible family members
You can apply if you're one of the following family members:

  • spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner
  • child or grandchild under 21
  • dependent child or grandchild over 21
  • dependent parent or grandparent
This includes family members who were adopted under an adoption order that's recognised in UK law.

You can also apply if you're one of the following family members of the spouse or civil partner:

  • their child or grandchild aged under 21
  • their dependent child or grandchild over 21
  • their dependent parent or grandparent
Spouses and civil partners of Swiss citizens
If you're married to or in a civil partnership with an eligible Swiss citizen, the rules are different.

You'll still be eligible if:

  • you got married or formed your civil partnership between 31 December 2020 and 1 January 2026
  • you're still married or in a civil partnership when you apply
Who you can join
The person you're joining must be from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. This includes if they:

  • are exempt from immigration control (for example, they're a foreign diplomat posted in the UK)
  • travel regularly to work in the UK but live outside of the UK (also known as a 'frontier worker')
  • are a British citizen who has dual citizenship with an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, and they settled in the UK before 16 July 2012 without using their free movement rights (also known as a 'McCarthy' case)
  • are a British citizen who is also a citizen of an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, and they were working, self-employed, studying or living self-sufficiently in the UK before becoming a British citizen (also known as a 'Lounes' case)
Your family member must usually have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or have applied and they're waiting for a decision.
If your family member does not have settled or pre-settled status
If your family member did not need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, or could not apply because they're a British citizen, you can apply for a family permit. Your family member must meet the eligibility criteria for the scheme.
If you were living in the UK by 31 December 2020
You can apply for a family permit to return to the UK to join your family member, even if they have not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme.

You must not have broken your 'continuous residence'. This usually means you must have not left the UK for more than 6 months in any 12 month period, unless you have an important reason. For example, this could be because of childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training, an overseas work posting or coronavirus (COVID-19).

You will have to provide evidence to show that:

  • your family member is a citizen of an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein - by providing their valid passport or national identity card
  • your family member was living in the UK by 31 December 2020, and that they still are
  • you're their family member, and have been since before 31 December 2020
Documents you must provide
You must provide proof of your identity, which can be either:

  • a valid passport
  • a valid national identity card, if you're from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
You may be able to use other proof of your identity and nationality if you cannot provide either of these because of a 'compelling practical or compassionate' reason. For example, you cannot travel to get this document because of an illness or COVID-19 restrictions.

When you apply, you will need to explain why you cannot provide a passport or national identity card, and provide supporting evidence.

You must provide your family member's application number to the EU Settlement Scheme, unless they did not need to apply or could not apply because they're a British citizen. This is a 16 digit number - for example, '1234-5678-1234-5678' - in the email your family member got confirming their settled or pre-settled status.

Where your family member did not need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, or could not apply because they're a British citizen, you'll need to provide evidence that shows they meet the eligibility criteria.

You need evidence that shows they:

  • were resident in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • have not broken their continuous residence in the UK
  • pass criminal record checks
Evidence if you're a spouse or civil partner
You must show that you're currently married to or in a civil partnership with the person you're joining and that the relationship began by 31 December 2020. To do this, you must provide either:

  • a marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • a document issued under the EEA regulations showing you're their spouse or civil partner - for example a family permit or residence card
If you're married to or in civil partnership with a Swiss citizen who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020, the rules are different. You may be eligible if you got married or entered into your partnership any time before 1 January 2026, and the relationship still exists when you apply.


If you got married or formed your civil partnership after 31 December 2020, you'll also need evidence that you were their unmarried partner before that date.
Evidence if you're an unmarried partner
If you're an unmarried partner, you'll need to provide evidence that you were in your long-term relationship by 31 December 2020.

This usually means showing that you had been living together for 2 years. Evidence could include:

  • bank statements, utility bills, a tenancy or mortgage agreement, or other official correspondence that shows you and your partner at the same address
  • documents showing joint finances, like a tax return
  • documents showing joint business ventures or commitments, like business contracts or investments you've made together
  • birth certificates or custody agreements showing that you shared responsibility for children while living together
You'll also need to provide evidence that:

  • you're still in the relationship when you apply
  • if you were living in the UK by 31 December 2020, you were legally living here during that time
Evidence if you're a dependent child, grandchild, parent or grandparent
You'll have to provide evidence that you're related to your family member, such as a birth certificate. Depending on your circumstances you may also need to provide evidence that shows your dependency.

Examples of the evidence you can provide include:

  • bank statements or money transfers that show you depend on them financially
  • evidence that you depend on them for health care, for example a letter from a hospital consultant
You need to provide evidence you're dependent on them if:

  • you're over 21 and a dependent child or grandchild of your family member
  • you're their dependent parent or grandparent and your family member is under 18 (or was under 18 on 31 December 2020 and you were living in the UK by then)
  • you're their dependent parent or grandparent and your family member is over 18 and you were not living in the UK by 31 December 2020
If you're a dependent parent or grandparent, you will not need to show dependency if your spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner has successfully applied for either:

  • an EU Settlement Scheme family permit, as the dependent parent or grandparent of your family member
  • the EU Settlement Scheme, as the dependent parent or grandparent of your family member
Evidence if you're joining a person who is exempt from immigration control
You'll need to provide evidence showing that they're from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein - for example, their valid passport or valid national identity card.

You also need to provide evidence that either they:

  • have settled or pre-settled status
  • are exempt from immigration control - for example a letter from a UK or foreign ministry - and that they would have met the other eligibility criteria for the EU Settlement Scheme if they had applied by 30 June 2021
Evidence if you're joining a frontier worker
You'll need to provide their frontier worker permit, or evidence that shows that they would be issued one if they applied.
Evidence if you're joining a person with dual citizenship
You'll need to provide evidence that shows:

  • your family member is a British citizen - for example a copy of their passport
  • they would have met the other eligibility criteria for the EU Settlement Scheme if they had applied by 30 June 2021 (even though they could not actually apply)
If you're applying on the grounds that your family member was settled in the UK before 16 July 2012 without using their free movement rights (also known as a 'McCarthy' case), you'll have to show that on 16 July 2012 they had either:

  • a right of permanent residence in the UK
  • a document issued under EEA regulations, for example a residence card
Apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit
You must apply online for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit.

You must be outside the UK to apply.

There's no deadline for applications.
Apply if you're living outside the UK with a British citizen
You can apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit to come to the UK with an eligible family member if both of the following apply:

  • they're a British citizen
  • you have lived with them in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein since before 31 December 2020
This is also known as a 'Surinder Singh' application.

If your relationship with the eligible family member started before 1 February 2020, you have until 29 March 2022 to apply for a family permit to come back to the UK. The same deadline applies to children born to or adopted by them on or after 1 February 2020.

You can apply after 29 March 2022 if you can show evidence of 'reasonable grounds' for not returning to the UK by then, such as medical reasons or coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.

You will need to have 'reasonable grounds' for not returning to the UK by 31 December 2020 if one of the following applies:

  • your relationship with them started on or after 1 February 2020
  • you're a dependent relative (other than a dependent child or grandchild over 21 or a dependent parent or grandparent)
You will need to show evidence of why you did not return by then when you apply for your family permit.
Eligible family members
You must be:

  • their spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner
  • their child or grandchild under 21
  • their dependent child or grandchild over 21
  • their dependent parent or grandparent
  • another type of dependent relative
This includes family members who were adopted under an adoption order that's recognised in UK law.

You can also apply if you're one of the following family members of the spouse or civil partner:

  • their child or grandchild aged under 21
  • their dependent child or grandchild over 21
  • their dependent parent or grandparent
  • another type of dependent relative
The country that you've been living in together must be your main residence. Your British family member must have been working (including on a posting with HM Armed Forces), self-employed, studying or living self-sufficiently in the country while there.
Documents you'll need to apply
You must provide proof of your identity, which can be either:

  • a valid passport
  • a valid national identity card, if you're from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
You may be able to use other proof of your identity and nationality if you cannot provide either of these because of a 'compelling practical or compassionate' reason. For example, you cannot travel to get this document because of an illness or coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.

When you apply, you will need to explain why you cannot provide a passport or national identity card, and provide supporting evidence.

You must also provide:

  • your British family member's valid passport
  • evidence of your relationship to them, such as a marriage certificate, civil partnership certificate or birth certificate
Evidence of where you are living together
You and your British family member must give evidence showing that you are living together in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein as your main residence. The documents must show:

  • that you are living together in that country
  • your address - if you've lived at more than one, you must include them
  • time spent living at each address
  • any proof of renting or buying a home
You must also provide proof that your British family member has been working, self-employed, studying or living self-sufficiently in the country while you've been there.

Examples of proof include employer's letters, wage slips, contracts, bank statements, proof of tax registration, or proof of enrolment and attendance for study.
If you're a dependent child, grandchild, parent or grandparent or relative
You'll also need evidence of your dependency on your British family member, or their spouse or civil partner, if you're:

  • a dependent child or grandchild, and you're over 21 - you must show you were dependent on them by 31 December 2020
  • a dependent parent or grandparent, and your eligible family member was under 18 on 31 December 2020 - you must show you were dependent on them by 31 December 2020
  • another dependent relative - you must show you were dependent on them by 31 December 2020 and still are when you apply
Apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit
You must apply online for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit.

You must be outside the UK to apply.

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