Top Tips to consider before applying for permanent residence
Family members of EEA nationals who are exercising rights of free movement are entitled to be admitted to and stay in the UK with the EEA national. The definition of family members includes the third country nationals, a term used to describe nationals who are not members of the European Union.
Family members of EU nationals also have the right to reside in the UK and do not need to leave the UK if they have overstayed on their visa.
This is of great advantage to family members, who may have overstayed under the Immigration Rules, and do not have any leave to remain. They are able to regularize their stay in the UK.
Family members issued with a residence permit are also entitled to family reunion, under the EU law and may also qualify under the Immigration Rules. Reunion can be achieved under EU law more effectively, but this needs to be assessed on a case by case basis. It always worth getting immigration advice so one can weigh up the pros and cons. EU law is more generous in allowing family reunion with distant family members, but make sure you check out whether you meet the requirements first.
Family members of EU nationals should note that their rights of residence are dependent on their connections to the EEA national and this can be lost. For instance when the EEA national themselves ceases to be a qualified person, by no longer living and working in the UK. Divorce is another example, unless the family member has retained his or her rights of residence.
The EU law does allow all persons who have been admitted under the various immigration categories including family members of third country nationals to apply for permanent residence after 5 years continuous lawful residence.
Family members of third country nationals considering applying should not assume it’s purely a question of meeting the residence requirements, they need to show connections to the EU national.
The immigration Rules now include provision for applicants wishing to remain in the UK on the basis of their family or private life. These rules are located at Appendix FM and Para 276ADE. But once again applicants should also seek advice on their circumstances before deciding the best way to proceed; as they may find out they do not qualify! In view if the ever increasing uncertainty of the UK continuing to be a member of the European Union, seeking advice over rights of settlement is now increasingly of great importance.