EEA nationals exercising treaty rights in the UK can sponsor their family members.  But those who have lived in the UK for longer than 5 years might already have permanent residence.  This allows them to sponsor family members whether or not they are still exercising treaty rights

by Alexander Finch | | Blog

EEA nationals exercising treaty rights in the UK can sponsor their family members.  But those who have lived in the UK for longer than 5 years might already have permanent residence.  This allows them to sponsor family members whether or not they are still exercising treaty rights. 

Exercising Treaty Rights

An EEA nationals can exercise treaty rights in these ways.

  • As a worker (including part-time work if it is 'genuine and effective').
  • As a student (if they have adequate financial resources and sickness insurance).
  • As a self-employed person.
  • As a self-sufficient person (with sickness insurance).
  • As a jobseeker.

If an EEA national is exercising treaty rights, they can sponsor their family members 'They do not need to satisfy a minimum income threshold.'  The family members of an EEA national include:

  • their spouse or civil partner;
  • their children (or the children of their partner) under 21, or still dependent;
  • dependent parents or grandparents of the EEA national or their partner; and
  • extended family members.

 

Permanent Residence

If an EEA national exercises treaty rights in the UK for 5-year period, they acquire permanent residence in the UK. This means that they can sponsor a family member without the need to continue exercising treaty rights.  The 5-year period can be at any time, including before the UK even joined the European Community in 1973.  

Loss of Permanent Residence

In practice, loss of the status of permanent residence usually occurs in these two ways.

  1. Leaving the UK for 2 years.
  2. Becoming a British citizen (by applying for naturalisation).

As a matter of European law, becoming a British citizen should not result in the status of permanent residence being lost, unless the person also gives up their nationality of the other EEA state.  However, in practice, the UK's implementation of European law is governed by the EEA Regulations 2006.'  These prevent nationals of other EEA states who are also British citizens from sponsoring their family members on easier terms.   Alexander Finch Senior Adviser, Passportia © Passportia Limited


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