EEA family permits
This page explains what an EEA family permit is, and whether a non-European family member of a European national will need to obtain an EEA family permit before they can come to the UK.
What is an EEA family permit?
An EEA family permit is issued overseas to nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who are family members of EEA nationals.
You can find a definition of 'family member' under 'More information' below. If you do not fall under this definition, you cannot apply for an EEA permit. Instead, you must apply for a visa (if you need one) before you can come to the UK. For more information, see the Do I need a visa? section.
There is no application fee for an EEA family permit.
Do you need an EEA family permit?
A non-EEA family member of an EEA national will need to obtain an EEA family permit before travelling to the UK if they are:
- coming to live with the EEA national in the UK.
The non-EEA family member must be travelling to the UK:
- with the EEA national; or
- to join the EEA national here.
If the EEA national is outside the UK and is not travelling with them, the non-EEA family member must instead apply for a visa (if they need one) before they can come to the UK. For more information, see the Do I need a visa? page.
If a non-EEA family member is living in the UK and has a residence document confirming their right of residence here, they do not need to apply for an EEA family permit each time they enter the UK after travelling abroad. See the Residence documents for family members page for more information.
Although the UK is a member of the EEA, a non-EEA family member of a British citizen should not generally come to the UK using an EEA family permit. However, a non-EEA family member of a British citizen living abroad can apply for an EEA family permit to join the British citizen on their return to the UK if:
- the British citizen has been living in an EEA member state as a worker or self-employed person; and
- the family member, if they are the British citizen's spouse or civil partner, has been living together with the British citizen in the EEA country.
How to apply
When you apply, you must provide documents to prove your relationship to an EEA national who is coming to the UK or already here. The Supporting documents contains more information.
To make your application, see the How to apply page.
What is a 'family member'?
If you are an EEA or Swiss national, your non-EEA family members who have the right of residence in the UK are:
- your husband, wife or civil partner;
- your children or grandchildren (or the children or grandchildren of your husband, wife or civil partner) who are under 21 years of age or are dependent on you; and
- the parents or grandparents of you and your husband, wife or civil partner, if they are dependent on you.
(If you are a student, only your husband, wife, or civil partner and dependent children have a right of residence.)
Other relatives - including extended family members such as brothers, sisters and cousins - do not have an automatic right to live in the UK. To be considered, they must be able to show that they are dependent on you.
If you and your partner are not married or in a civil partnership, you must be able to show that you are in a durable relationship with each other.
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The European Economic Area (EEA) consists of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Although Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU), their citizens have the same rights as EU citizens to enter, live in and work in the UK.