A residence card was issued to residents from non-EU/EEA countries when they were granted permission to live, work, and study in the UK. However, you can no longer apply for a UK EEA residence card.

Apply for an EEA Residence Card if you are a non-EEA national residing in the UK as a family member of an EEA resident exercising treaty rights.

You can apply for a residence card if you already live in the UK. Apply for an EEA family permit if you are using from outside the UK to join a family member who is a national of another EEA country.

Family members of EEA or Swiss nationals are now not required to apply for an EEA Residence Card (form EEA (FM)). However, it might be helpful to demonstrate rights to employment and qualify for certain benefits and services in the UK.

Are UK EEA Residence Cards Valid?

UK EEA Residence cards are no longer valid. Therefore, if you wish to continue living, working, or studying in the UK as a citizen of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, you must obtain another type of permission to stay, such as settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. The only cases in which you can still use your residence card at the border are if:

  • You have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • You have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme 

What is the EU Settlement Scheme?

The EU settlement scheme was initially designed to offer EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens living in the UK (before the end of the transition period) and their eligible family members the opportunity to protect their residence in the UK after the transition period.

The main difference between pre-settled and settled status is that if granted settled status, you can leave the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man for five years (4 years for Swiss citizens) and not lose your status. At the same time, pre-settled status is usually limited to only two years.

Your residence card will remain valid if you maintain a settled or pre-settled status. For example, you prove you are qualified for certain benefits and services if you travel overseas and return to the country. You can also use the online service if you need to check your status or prove it to someone else.

Getting an EU Settlement Scheme

Get an EU Settlement Scheme BRC before leaving the UK if you are not a citizen of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein and your residence card has expired, been lost, or been stolen.

If you need to replace your card but are currently outside of the UK, you must apply for a travel permit through the EU Settlement Scheme to enter the country. You can only use your UK residence card to enter the UK if you have settled or pre-settled status and have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme.

You may still be able to apply even if you have yet to use the EU Settlement Scheme. If your application is approved, you will be granted either pre-settled or settled status, allowing you to stay in the UK for five years or indefinitely, respectively.

Applying for the EU Settlement Scheme

When applying for the EU Settlement Scheme, you can use your valid UK residence card as proof of identity as long as it expires. Most persons' deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme was June 30, 2021. If you or a member of your immediate family were a UK resident as of December 31, 2020, you can still apply if one of the following is true:

  • You have reasonable grounds for being unable to apply before June 30 2021 - for example, you had an illness or were the victim of domestic abuse - and you have a later deadline (for example, you're joining a family member in the UK)
  • A family permit under the EU Settlement Scheme will allow you to enter the UK to join a family member, and then you can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme after you've arrived.

You will be granted pre-settled or settled status once you apply to the EU Settlement scheme. You won't get to decide which one to use. Which status you will get depends on how long you've been living in the UK when you apply.

Pre-Settled status

If you get pre-settled status, you can remain in the country for up to five years from the day you get your status. You must have started living in the UK to be eligible to apply.

The pre-settled status allows you to live, work and study in the UK. If you wish to remain in the UK indefinitely, you must apply for settled status.

Settled Status

After living in the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man for five years in a row, a continuous residence, you can apply to switch to settled status. The five years are counted from the day you started your continuous residence, not the day you were issued a pre-settled status.

Who Can Apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?

To be considered to stay in the UK with lawful status by the Home Office, you must have immigration permission. Immigration permission is possible through the Settlement Scheme or another category of the UK'S Immigration Rules.

Eligibility Criteria: 

  • EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein citizens
  • Eligible family members of these groups

Most people's deadline for applying to the EU Settlement scheme was June 30, 2021.

If you missed the deadline, you can still apply only in such cases that you have reasonable grounds for not making the deadline and using it in time.

Examples of reasonable grounds include:

  • Children (including children in care and care leavers).
  • Physical or mental capacity and care or support needs.
  • Serious medical condition or significant medical treatment.
  • Victim of modern slavery.
  • Abusive or controlling relationship or situation.
  • Other compelling practical or compassionate reasons.

Other Ways You Qualify for EU Settlement Scheme

The 'Surinder Singh Application' and 'Retained rights of residence' allow foreign nationals to apply for an EU Settlement Scheme permit as long as they qualify under the two.

Surinder Singh Application:

The Surinder Singh application applies to individuals with a British family member. You might be eligible to apply to the Settlement scheme if you lived in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein with your family member. You must have lived there with them by December 31 2020, and returned with them to the UK. Your family member must have been working, studying, or self-sufficient while in the country with you. If this is how you qualify, you cannot apply online. Therefore, you must contact The EU Settlement Resolution Centre.

Retained Rights of Residence:

You can apply if you used to have a family member from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein who was living in the UK by December 31 2020. It is known as "Retained Rights of Residence". If this is how you qualify for the scheme, you can use the online service to apply.

A list of EU members:

Member states are: 

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. 

Even though Switzerland isn't on the list of EU member states, its citizens have the same privileges as others. Suppose you are a family member or extended family member of a citizen or permanent resident of the European Economic Area (EEA). In that case, you may be eligible to apply for a residence card even if you are not a citizen or permanent resident yourself.

Procedure Lengths

As stated on the Home Office's website, a Residence card application can take up to six months to process. Depending on the complexity of the application, most are decided within two to three months.

Required Paperwork

If you want your application for an EEA residence card approved, you'll need to provide several different kinds of documentation and proof. Among the most vital records are:

  • Your current passport and your EEA family member sponsor's passport or national identity card are required as proof of identity and nationality.
  • Photographs two of the applicant and one of the sponsor, both in passport size
  • Connection verification or proof of your long-term connection with an EEA national
  • Proof that your UK sponsor is an EEA national exercising their Treaty rights
  • Other Documents and Evidence

Why Hire Us

In addition to the EEA (FM) or EEA (EFM) application forms, a valid application requires additional documentation and papers based on your specific circumstances.

At "TMC Solicitors", our EU immigration lawyers are experts in handling applications to the European Economic Area (EEA). If you need help with your application for an EEA residence card, don't hesitate to contact one of our London immigration lawyers.


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