- 16 October 2019
Many non-UK national family members are under the false impression that once they have been granted a Family Permit, they have indefinite leave to remain in the UK. This is definitely not the case.
The Family Permit is an entry clearance application and therefore the purpose is to allow the Family Permit holder entry into the UK. The Family Permit is valid for 6 months and the holder can enter and exit the UK as many times as they like as their permit will allow them re-entry into the UK. The key is that this is a time-limited permit and therefore one would need to make an application to secure further leave in the UK.
Another area of confusion is that many believe that you can extend your Family Permit – which you cannot. The usual course of action would be for the non-UK national family member to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme prior to their permit expiring. It is likely that the family member will be granted pre-settled status which means limited leave to remain for 5 years. Once they accrue 5 years of continuous residence in the UK, then will be able apply under the Scheme once again to secure settled status.
It is not ideal to wait until a Family Permit has expired or wait until near expiry until an application under the EU Settlement Scheme is made. If a non-UK national family member intends to reside with their EU family member in the UK, then they should make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme as soon as practicably possible. If the family member can show evidence that they have been residing in the UK, even if it is for a short period of time, then they should apply. For example, if a family member has opened a bank account and can show their bank statements containing recent transactions, this is sufficient evidence of residency.
The Family Permit is an entry clearance application and therefore the purpose is to allow the Family Permit holder entry into the UK.
Non-UK national family members from ‘non-visa’ countries such as EEA countries, Canada, Australia and New Zealand do not need a visa to visit the UK on a short-term basis (up to 6 months). Nevertheless, it is highlighted that there are circumstances in which one will require a visa and this is dependent upon the purpose of the trip and intention of the non-UK national family member. A non-UK national family member must apply for a Family Permit if they intend to join the EU national because their intention is not to visit the EU national (which indicates an intention to return back to their country of origin), but to join them (which indicates an intention to reside in the UK for the long-term). Their intention will be to reside in the UK, and they may also intend to work or study in the UK. If a non-UK national family member came to the UK with such intention, then they would be breaching their visa conditions. Consequently, family members from such countries must ensure they enter the UK following the correct route and should seek legal advice before making arrangements for travel.
If you need advice on the EU Settlement Scheme find out more here.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.
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