EU Settlement Scheme family permit: join an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
You can apply for EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit (EUSS FP) to come to the UK if all of the following are true:
- You’re the eligible family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, or a ‘person of Northern Ireland’. ‘Eligible family members‘ definition is explained further below. You will see that only close family members are eligible to apply as ‘Joining Family Members‘ under the EU Settlement Scheme.
- 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 traveling with you to the UK within 6 months of your application
The relevant EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit immigration rules are here.
joining family members – EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit
If you meet the requirements listed above, you can apply as a ‘Joining Family Member’ for either EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit (EUSS FP) or Pre-Settled Status. Only in certain circumstances you can apply for Pre-Settled Status from abroad without first being granted the EUSS FP. EUSS FP is only issued with 6 months validity and once you arrive in the UK with the EUSS FP, you would have to apply for Pre-Settled Status. Pre-Settled Status is issued with 5 years validity. After 5 years continuous residence, you can then apply for Settled Status (Indefinite Leave to Remain – ILR).
In certain circumstances, you may straightaway apply as a ‘Joining Family Member’ for Pre-Settled Status from outside the UK. This option allows for just one application without the need for an earlier Family Permit application, but not all applicants can use this option.
Only those ‘Joining Family Members’ who are EU nationals themselves, and hold EU passports with a chip, can apply for Pre-Settled Status from outside the UK. Furthermore, those ‘Joining Family Members’ who rely on their relationship with EU national who was in the UK before 31st December 2020 but who obtained British citizenship and is now a dual British and EU citizen, must first apply for EUSS Family Permit and only once they arrive in the UK they can apply for Pre-Settled Status on a paper application form (not the standard online form).
Children who were born or adopted after 31 December 2020 may also be eligible, if they’re the child of either:
- an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
- an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen’s spouse or civil partner
Eligible family members under EU Settlement Scheme
You can apply as a ‘Joining Family Member’ only if your family relationship with the EU national is one of the following:
- spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner
- child or grandchild aged under 21
- dependent child or grandchild of any age
- dependent parent or grandparent
This includes family members who were adopted under an adoption order that’s recognised in UK law.
As an example, siblings are not included in the above list and they do NOT qualify as ‘Joining Family Member’. It is therefore crucial to consider the family relationship first before submitting the EU Family Permit or Pre-Settled Status applications as a ‘Joining Family Member’. Frequently, we see applicants who applied for the permits themselves and they got refused for the reason of not meeting the family relationship requirement.
Definition of Dependency under EU Settlement Scheme
When submitting first application under the EU Settlement Scheme, applicants who apply as children or grandchildren over the age of 21 OR parents and grandparents, must provide evidence of their dependency on the relevant EU national or their spouse or civil partner. Definition of ‘Dependent’ is in the EU Settlement Scheme immigration rules, and we cite this definition further below.
In a nutshell, to assess if dependency exists, according to their guidance the Home Office should take into account of the following:
- financial and social situation of the applicant, or applicant’s health, and
- whether the applicant can meet their essential living needs (in whole or in part) without the financial or other material support of the relevant EU citizen or their spouse or civil partner, and
- whether such support is provided to the applicant by the relevant EU citizen or their spouse or civil partner.
Extract from the Home Office immigration rules: ‘dependent’ means here that:
(a) having regard to their financial and social conditions, or health, the applicant cannot meet their essential living needs (in whole or in part) without the financial or other material support of the relevant EEA citizen (or, as the case may be, of the qualifying British citizen) or of their spouse or civil partner; and
(b) such support is being provided to the applicant by the relevant EEA citizen (or, as the case may be, by the qualifying British citizen) or by their spouse or civil partner; and
(c) there is no need to determine the reasons for that dependence or for the recourse to that support
For the definition of ‘Dependency’ it is useful to look for caselaw that provides some practical insight into how the ‘Dependency’ is interpreted in real life scenarios. As an example, there is a recent Court of Appeal SHAWINDER SINGH -v- SSHD case https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2022/1054.html
EU Settlement Scheme Settled Status
After 5 years continuous residence in the UK in line with the Pre-Settled Status, the ‘Joining Family Members’ can apply for Settled Status that will give them Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK. Subsequently, they can apply for British citizenship subject to meeting all the requirements for Naturalisation. You can read more about British citizenship by Naturalisation for EU nationals on our page here.