10 May What are the key differences when making an application as a partner of an EEA national and as a dependant of a British Citizen?
Both EEA and British family members are able to enter the UK for settlement. However, there are different requirements, grants of leave and UKVI fees for these two categories.
The partner of a British Citizen (BC), broadly speaking, must meet more stringent criteria, such as financial threshold, English language test, adequate accommodation and must have passed the TB test under the Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules. The current UKVI fee for a spouse entry clearance application is £1,195 and £811 for an in country application submitted by post. Additionally, the applicant will have to pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which costs £200 per year. As an option, applicants can pay an additional £500 for the premium service in the UK, whereby their applications can be processed and approved on the same day.
Successful applicants will initially be granted leave for 2.5 years, and then they will need to apply for another 2.5 years extension. After continuously residing in the UK for five years, the foreign spouse/partner will be able to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Spouses/civil partners of BC can also apply for British nationality immediately after being granted their ILR.
On the other hand, the requirements for an EEA spouse/unmarried partner/ civil partner are more flexible. There is no English or financial requirement for an EEA Family Permit or Residence Card. However, the EEA sponsors should be able to provide evidence confirming their status as a qualified person as either “employed” or “self-employed” or “self-sufficient” by the time of submission. Please note that there is no UKVI or IHS fee for EEA family members. EEA applications submitted in country can take up to 6 months to be processed as there is no priority service or premium service. The UKVI fee is £65 for in country applications.
EEA partners can be granted a five-year residence card if their applications are successful. After continuously living in the UK for five years, they will be able to qualify for Permanent Residence (PR). However, they are not allowed to apply for British citizenship immediately since they will need to hold PR for at least 12 months to qualify under section 6(1) of the 1981 British Nationality Act.
If you are currently concerned about applying for a spouse visa of a British Citizen or an EEA national and wish to contact us for advice, please email us at [email protected].