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UK Immigration Services

EEA Family Permit

An EEA family permit allows nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who are family members of EEA nationals to join their respective EEA family member in the UK.

Who Is Defined as an EEA Family Member?

An EEA ‘Family’ member includes a spouse, children under 21 years and any other family members who are part of the same household and remain dependent upon the EU citizen.

Do You Need An EEA Family Permit?

A non-EEA family member of an EEA national will need to obtain an EEA family permit before travelling to the UK if they are:

  • a ‘visa national’; or
  • coming to live with the EEA national in the UK permanently or on a long-term basis.

However, the non-EEA family member must be travelling to the UK:

  • with the EEA national; or
  • to join the EEA national here.

If the EEA national is outside the UK and is not travelling with them, the non-EEA family member must instead apply for a visa (if they need one) before they can come to the UK.


In order to remain in the UK as a Family Member of a European national, the European national must be exercising a ‘Treaty Right’. The following is a brief list of the activities that may be considered to be ‘exercising a Treaty Right’:

  • Employment;
  • The process of seeking employment;
  • Self-employment;
  • Self sufficiency; or
  • Study.

Length Of Stay And Right To Work

The EEA Residence permit is granted for up to five years and there are no work restrictions on the holders of the EEA family visa.

Indefinite Leave To Remain In The UK

An application for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK can be made after five years of continued residence by the applicant providing he or she can demonstrate that the EU national upon who they are dependant has continued to exercise his or Treaty rights throughout this period.