An EEA family permit gives your family member the right to live in the UK. This permit is valid for 5 years. At the end of the 5 years, your family member may be eligible to apply for permanent residence if the relationship between you has remained unchanged.
If you are a non-EEA national coming to the UK to join your partner who is an EEA national and you plan to stay here in the long term, you must apply for this permit.
A resident card is available to non-EEA nationals who are living in the UK with their EEA national family member or extended family member. It provides confirmation of the holder’s right to live and work in the UK. It is not mandatory to hold this card but some employers may require it as proof of your right to work in this country.
A residence card can last up to 5 years. After 5 years, you can apply for a permanent residence card.
If you have been living in the UK for at least five years with your partner who is an EEA national, you can be given confirmation of your right to permanent residence. This is not mandatory and you will not lose this right if you do not apply for confirmation, but it may be required to prove your permanent resident status to employers.
You can only use your permanent residence document to apply for British citizenship after you’ve lived in the UK for 6 years. That means you must wait another 12 months if you’ve only lived in the UK for 5 years when you get your document.
But you can apply immediately if:
- you’ve already lived in the UK for 6 years when you get your document
- your husband, wife or civil partner is a British citizens