EEA residence card

If you wish to apply for a visa in this category then our team at Hunter Stone Law will be able to guide and assist you throughout every step of the process. In order to qualify for this visa you would have to meet the requirement of the relevant section of the Immigration Rules. However we have attempted to simplify the requirements below.

You can apply for a residence card if you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and living with a European partner or family member.

You don’t need a residence card to live in the UK, but it can:

  • help you re-enter the country more quickly and easily if you travel abroad
  • show employers you’re allowed to work in the UK
  • help prove you qualify for certain benefits and services

Please note that if you’re the carer of an EEA citizen, the carer’s child, or the child of an EEA worker and currently in education then it may be more appropriate for you to apply for a derivative right of residence card

If successful in your application then you will be granted a residence card.  A residence card can last up to 5 years. After 5 years, you can apply for a permanent residence card.


You can apply for a residence card if you’re living in the UK with a family member who’s a European Economic Area (EEA) citizen.

There are also other ways you may be eligible for a residence card, eg if you have a ‘retained right of residence’ or as a ‘Surinder Singh’ case.

Family members of EEA citizens

To be eligible you must be related to an EEA citizen as their:

  • spouse or civil partner
  • child, or their spouse or civil partner’s child, and less than 21 years old
  • unmarried partner and can show that you’re in a lasting relationship with them
  • ‘dependent’ family

Dependent family

You can apply as a ‘dependant’ of an EEA family member if you either:

  • are financially dependent on them (you rely on them to pay for your essential needs)
  • have a serious health condition and rely on them to care for you

Dependants must be family of the EEA citizen, or their spouse or civil partner, and can be:

  • parents or grandparents
  • children over 21 years old
  • extended family members (brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces)

Family members who are adopted under an adoption order that is recognised in UK law are regarded the same as natural family.

Family members who are students

Different rules apply if you’re a family member of an EEA citizen who’s a student.

In this case, you can only get a residence card if you’re their child, or their spouse or civil partner’s child, and either:

  • under 21 years old
  • over 21 years old and dependent on them

Other ways you may be eligible

Retained rights of residence

You can also apply for a residence card if you have a ‘retained right of residence’, eg:

  • your marriage or civil partnership to an EEA citizen has ended (with a divorce, annulment or dissolution)
  • your EEA family member has died or left the country
  • you’re the child of an EEA citizen who has died or left the UK, or the child of their spouse or civil partner, or former spouse or civil partner
  • you’re the non-EEA parent, or former partner of an EEA national with custody of a child who has a right to reside in the UK

Surinder Singh cases

You may be able to apply for a residence card as a ‘Surinder Singh’ case.

To be eligible, you must be a citizen of a country outside the EEA and:

  • the married partner, civil partner or child of a UK citizen
  • have lived with them in another EEA country where they worked or were self-employed before returning to the UK
  • be able to show that your UK sponsor based their ‘centre of life’ in the EEA country in which you both were resident before returning to the UK

You can prove your UK sponsor genuinely moved to another EEA country with:

  • proof of their address, how long they lived there and any other related information - eg if they bought a house
  • proof of their integration in the EEA country where they lived - eg whether they speak the language, have any children born there or were involved with the local community

Documents you must provide

For each person on the application you’ll need to provide:

  • a current passport
  • 2 passport size colour photographs
  • your EEA family member’s valid passport or national identity card
  • evidence of your relationship to your EEA family member, eg marriage certificate, civil partnership certificate, birth certificate, proof that you’ve lived together for 2 years if unmarried
  • proof that your EEA family member is in work, self-employed or able to support you without applying for benefits

Permanent residence card

You can apply for a permanent residence card after you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years. This will prove your right to live in the UK permanently.

All the following must apply for you to be eligible:

  • you’ve lived with your European Economic Area (EEA) family member in the UK for a continuous 5 year period (and not left the UK for more than 6 months in any year)
  • your EEA family member has been a worker, self-employed, self-sufficient, or student throughout the 5 years