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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Forum,

I'm a US citizen currently living in London with my IRL citizen wife. I came over here 3 months ago on an EEA Family Permit but have not yet applied for my residence card. I know that with her being an IRL citizen we had the option of applying for either an EEA Family Permit or UK Spouse Visa. We chose the EEA Family Permit as it was cheaper and seemed like less of a hassle to get.

We had originally just planned on my applying for the EEA2 residence card but I have recently come to realize that that means I will then be without my passport for 4 months while we wait for the residence card. (I of course all along knew I'd have to give up my passport while waiting for the residence card, I did not realize that it would actually take that long. I'd assumed that up to 6 months, which is what they say on the website, was more of a worst-case-scenario time scale. But perusing this and other similar boards has told me that others have waited even up to the full 6 months). I am scared to give up my passport for this long for a number of reasons including the fact that I travel very often for work and not least of which is the fact that I have elderly relatives in the US and may need to go back at a moment's notice.

So on to the crux of my question: can I now apply for the UK Spousal Visa while here in the UK on an EEA Family Permit? OR do I need to leave the UK to apply for this type of visa (and if so, do I need to apply from within the US)? Is there any reason (other than the cost and hassle) that I should *not* be applying for the UK Spousal Visa now? Does it look bad to the UKBA that I already have an EEA Family Permit but now am applying for a different type of visa?

Thank you for your time.

Best,
Stephan
 

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Hello Forum,

I'm a US citizen currently living in London with my IRL citizen wife. I came over here 3 months ago on an EEA Family Permit but have not yet applied for my residence card. I know that with her being an IRL citizen we had the option of applying for either an EEA Family Permit or UK Spouse Visa. We chose the EEA Family Permit as it was cheaper and seemed like less of a hassle to get.

We had originally just planned on my applying for the EEA2 residence card but I have recently come to realize that that means I will then be without my passport for 4 months while we wait for the residence card. (I of course all along knew I'd have to give up my passport while waiting for the residence card, I did not realize that it would actually take that long. I'd assumed that up to 6 months, which is what they say on the website, was more of a worst-case-scenario time scale. But perusing this and other similar boards has told me that others have waited even up to the full 6 months). I am scared to give up my passport for this long for a number of reasons including the fact that I travel very often for work and not least of which is the fact that I have elderly relatives in the US and may need to go back at a moment's notice.

So on to the crux of my question: can I now apply for the UK Spousal Visa while here in the UK on an EEA Family Permit? OR do I need to leave the UK to apply for this type of visa (and if so, do I need to apply from within the US)? Is there any reason (other than the cost and hassle) that I should *not* be applying for the UK Spousal Visa now? Does it look bad to the UKBA that I already have an EEA Family Permit but now am applying for a different type of visa?
When you apply for your residence card on EEA2, you will first get a certificate of application (a kind of letter), which confirms your legal status in UK as family member of an EEA citizen. And yes, it's true that average processing time for EEA2 is 3-4 months. If you then need to travel before your card is issued, you can request your passport back (which can take up to 5 days), while your application stays in the pipeline. When they are ready to issue your residence card (in fact a sticker in your passport), they will normally ask you to send in your passport. Problem with this is if your EEA family permit expires while you are abroad, strictly speaking you need to get another permit before returning to UK, because the certificate of application isn't considered a sufficient travel document. You may be lucky and they may let you in, but you can't count on it.

While you could have entered UK on spouse visa, you can't normally change tracks after entering UK with EEA family permit. So there is no option for you to apply for further leave to remain as spouse (switching), unless you are willing to return home to US and apply for spouse visa there. There is a very high fee of $1363 plus $12 carriage, and you need all the supporting documents to show you meet the requirements.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you very much for the quick and thorough response.

I am now not sure which request to make (flying back to the US plus the UK Spousal visa fee will equal upwards of $2000 which is a lot). Another question if you do not mind: if I request my passport and for some reason end up outside the UK (most likely in the US) when my EEA family permit expires, could I just apply for a visitor visa? Or would I not be qualified for one since I would not be at that point a visitor?
 

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Thank you very much for the quick and thorough response.

I am now not sure which request to make (flying back to the US plus the UK Spousal visa fee will equal upwards of $2000 which is a lot). Another question if you do not mind: if I request my passport and for some reason end up outside the UK (most likely in the US) when my EEA family permit expires, could I just apply for a visitor visa? Or would I not be qualified for one since I would not be at that point a visitor?
No, as an American you don't need a visitor visa but you can't re-enter UK as a visitor, as you are living here. You'll have to get another EEA family permit from British consulate where you are staying (it doesn't have to be in US). You need to meet the procedural requirement applicable for that particular consulate, such as making an appointment, online application, getting biometrics done and carrying supporting documents. In US, the turnaround time is around 10 to 14 days.
 

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Working abroad with EEA Permit

Hey Joppa, can you please help? I'm in a similar situation...I've already applied for a spouse visa in the UK and have waited 8 months for the approval. I've had a job offer in Moscow working 3 weeks on/3 weeks off. As I'm about to lose this opportunity waiting for my passport. I have decided to withdraw my application. My husband and I currently live in the UK and on each of my 3 weeks off, I'd plan to return to the UK to be with him. Upon withdrawing my spouse application, what would be the best option. Apply for an EEA family permit and a residence card? I know the residence card takes 3-4 months at least, but I work every 3 weeks out of the country...do you know if there is anyway to continue travelling for work without having to reapply for new family permits and residence cards each time? Can I apply without a passport and send it to them when they are ready for my vignette? Alternatively, would it be better just to be granted the typical tourist visas every 3 weeks as I wouldn't be working and just staying with my husband. In addition, should I tell them I'm there to see my husband or to visit friends if I'm on a tourist visa? I don't know the best way around this. I'm American, he's Italian.

Thanks


When you apply for your residence card on EEA2, you will first get a certificate of application (a kind of letter), which confirms your legal status in UK as family member of an EEA citizen. And yes, it's true that average processing time for EEA2 is 3-4 months. If you then need to travel before your card is issued, you can request your passport back (which can take up to 5 days), while your application stays in the pipeline. When they are ready to issue your residence card (in fact a sticker in your passport), they will normally ask you to send in your passport. Problem with this is if your EEA family permit expires while you are abroad, strictly speaking you need to get another permit before returning to UK, because the certificate of application isn't considered a sufficient travel document. You may be lucky and they may let you in, but you can't count on it.

While you could have entered UK on spouse visa, you can't normally change tracks after entering UK with EEA family permit. So there is no option for you to apply for further leave to remain as spouse (switching), unless you are willing to return home to US and apply for spouse visa there. There is a very high fee of $1363 plus $12 carriage, and you need all the supporting documents to show you meet the requirements.
 

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One last question...can I apply for an EEA family permit wherever I am, regardless of what type of visa I'm on (say a tourist visa)? So for example, if I fly to Italy on a tourist visa, can I apply for an EEA family permit there and come back to the UK?

Cheers!

When you apply for your residence card on EEA2, you will first get a certificate of application (a kind of letter), which confirms your legal status in UK as family member of an EEA citizen. And yes, it's true that average processing time for EEA2 is 3-4 months. If you then need to travel before your card is issued, you can request your passport back (which can take up to 5 days), while your application stays in the pipeline. When they are ready to issue your residence card (in fact a sticker in your passport), they will normally ask you to send in your passport. Problem with this is if your EEA family permit expires while you are abroad, strictly speaking you need to get another permit before returning to UK, because the certificate of application isn't considered a sufficient travel document. You may be lucky and they may let you in, but you can't count on it.

While you could have entered UK on spouse visa, you can't normally change tracks after entering UK with EEA family permit. So there is no option for you to apply for further leave to remain as spouse (switching), unless you are willing to return home to US and apply for spouse visa there. There is a very high fee of $1363 plus $12 carriage, and you need all the supporting documents to show you meet the requirements.
 

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Hey Joppa, can you please help? I'm in a similar situation...I've already applied for a spouse visa in the UK and have waited 8 months for the approval. I've had a job offer in Moscow working 3 weeks on/3 weeks off. As I'm about to lose this opportunity waiting for my passport. I have decided to withdraw my application. My husband and I currently live in the UK and on each of my 3 weeks off, I'd plan to return to the UK to be with him. Upon withdrawing my spouse application, what would be the best option. Apply for an EEA family permit and a residence card? I know the residence card takes 3-4 months at least, but I work every 3 weeks out of the country...do you know if there is anyway to continue travelling for work without having to reapply for new family permits and residence cards each time? Can I apply without a passport and send it to them when they are ready for my vignette? Alternatively, would it be better just to be granted the typical tourist visas every 3 weeks as I wouldn't be working and just staying with my husband. In addition, should I tell them I'm there to see my husband or to visit friends if I'm on a tourist visa? I don't know the best way around this. I'm American, he's Italian.
What kind of a visa are you on at the moment? Has your husband lived in UK for 5 years? If not, you shouldn't have applied for a spouse visa as your husband isn't regarded as 'settled' until he's lived here for 5 years. You should have applied for EEA family permit as wife of an EEA citizen. Or if you have been legally resident in UK on another visa, you could have gone straight for residence card.

As for your job offer in Moscow, EEA family permit is valid for 6 months at a time (and multiple-entry), so you can get a new permit when about to expire, in Moscow for free. Or just apply for residence card now on Form EEA2. You can request your passport back while you wait for the card, though travelling without valid residence card means you have no other documentary, official proof of your status under EU law.
 

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I was originally here on a student visa and applied for a spouse visa. My husband has been here for 5 years. Since my passport is currently with the UKBA, and my visa has not yet been approved (my student visa expired), perhaps I should go back to the US, apply for an EEA family permit, return to the UK and apply for the residence document and travel back and forth to Russia as needed until the permit expires...then just renew it in Russia. Does that sound legal/logical? Then, am I right to say that I'd be able to return to the UK as often as I need once the permit is approved, without a visa?

What kind of a visa are you on at the moment? Has your husband lived in UK for 5 years? If not, you shouldn't have applied for a spouse visa as your husband isn't regarded as 'settled' until he's lived here for 5 years. You should have applied for EEA family permit as wife of an EEA citizen. Or if you have been legally resident in UK on another visa, you could have gone straight for residence card.

As for your job offer in Moscow, EEA family permit is valid for 6 months at a time (and multiple-entry), so you can get a new permit when about to expire, in Moscow for free. Or just apply for residence card now on Form EEA2. You can request your passport back while you wait for the card, though travelling without valid residence card means you have no other documentary, official proof of your status under EU law.
 

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The other question is...if I travelled to Italy and had no valid permit or visa (other than tourist visa) would I be able to apply for an EEA permit from Italy?

You are very helpful...thank you so much.


I was originally here on a student visa and applied for a spouse visa. My husband has been here for 5 years. Since my passport is currently with the UKBA, and my visa has not yet been approved (my student visa expired), perhaps I should go back to the US, apply for an EEA family permit, return to the UK and apply for the residence document and travel back and forth to Russia as needed until the permit expires...then just renew it in Russia. Does that sound legal/logical? Then, am I right to say that I'd be able to return to the UK as often as I need once the permit is approved, without a visa?
 

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I was originally here on a student visa and applied for a spouse visa. My husband has been here for 5 years. Since my passport is currently with the UKBA, and my visa has not yet been approved (my student visa expired), perhaps I should go back to the US, apply for an EEA family permit, return to the UK and apply for the residence document and travel back and forth to Russia as needed until the permit expires...then just renew it in Russia. Does that sound legal/logical? Then, am I right to say that I'd be able to return to the UK as often as I need once the permit is approved, without a visa?
Yes, that seems a workable plan.

The other question is...if I travelled to Italy and had no valid permit or visa (other than tourist visa) would I be able to apply for an EEA permit from Italy?
Yes, you can apply for EEA family permit in any country. The only fly in the ointment is you have to follow the procedure laid down for applying for entry clearance in Italy, which involves travelling to Rome, submitting your application and giving your biometrics at the UK consulate, and then you wait for your permit to be issued. Latest info is it's taking around 3 weeks, and you just have to stay put (as you don't have your passport).
 

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Hello Joppa, I wonder if I can ask some specific, but similar, questions in relation my own circumstances in order I can be confident that I am understanding all research correctly?

I am a UK citizen and currently live in an EU country with my wife (non EEA national), I came here specifically to exercise my treaty rights as a self sufficient individual (ie: I continue to run my business via internet/emails etc) through means of self employment in the UK.

We both have appointments with the immigration department here in the host country after giving 2 months notice for applying for residency permits, myself under MEU1A and my wife under MEU2A. Once these interviews are complete do the "certificate of residence" stamps, which are generally given either at the (in person) interview or shortly afterwards, act as the "EEA family permit" which in turn allows access to the UK when I take my wife back with me to visit family at the start of next year?

(it is my understanding that all EU citizens have a 3 month right of entry to other EU countries and that this right is afforded to their family members also regardless of nationality provided they have the residence permit issued by the host country that they reside in)

Additionally, can you also advise that under the Surrinder Singh rules, if after 3 months of exercising treaty rights in another EU country, whilst having the "certificate of residence" stamp in my wife's passport, can I/we then return to the UK permanently even though I have only been exercising treaty rights as "self sufficient through UK self employment"? or would I actually have to be working (or self employed) within the host EU country during the 3 months (or more) period.

I understand from research that regardless of being eligible for the surrinder singh rules of returning permanently to the UK, we can however make visits provided they are for no longer than the 3 month initial visit period.

I thank you in advance Joppa for your kind assistance

Peter
 

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Hello Joppa, I wonder if I can ask some specific, but similar, questions in relation my own circumstances in order I can be confident that I am understanding all research correctly?

I am a UK citizen and currently live in an EU country with my wife (non EEA national), I came here specifically to exercise my treaty rights as a self sufficient individual (ie: I continue to run my business via internet/emails etc) through means of self employment in the UK.

We both have appointments with the immigration department here in the host country after giving 2 months notice for applying for residency permits, myself under MEU1A and my wife under MEU2A. Once these interviews are complete do the "certificate of residence" stamps, which are generally given either at the (in person) interview or shortly afterwards, act as the "EEA family permit" which in turn allows access to the UK when I take my wife back with me to visit family at the start of next year?

(it is my understanding that all EU citizens have a 3 month right of entry to other EU countries and that this right is afforded to their family members also regardless of nationality provided they have the residence permit issued by the host country that they reside in)

Additionally, can you also advise that under the Surrinder Singh rules, if after 3 months of exercising treaty rights in another EU country, whilst having the "certificate of residence" stamp in my wife's passport, can I/we then return to the UK permanently even though I have only been exercising treaty rights as "self sufficient through UK self employment"? or would I actually have to be working (or self employed) within the host EU country during the 3 months (or more) period.

I understand from research that regardless of being eligible for the surrinder singh rules of returning permanently to the UK, we can however make visits provided they are for no longer than the 3 month initial visit period.

I thank you in advance Joppa for your kind assistance
I don't think your wife is eligible for entry under Surinder Singh rule as you aren't exercising your treaty rights in Cyprus in an economic capacity, which specifically means working or being self-employed there, not running a UK business. You will need to provide a Cypriot employment contract or registration for self-employment in Cyprus, plus payment of local taxes as employed/self-employed:

After leaving the United Kingdom, the British national resided in an EEA state and –
Was employed there (other than on a transient or casual basis); or
Established him/herself there as a self-employed person.


Home Office interprets these rules strictly and won't allow any exceptions.

As for bringing your wife as a visitor under EU rules, that only applies to non-UK EEA countries. Other than under Surinder Singh, your wife must meet UK immigration rule about visa etc.
 

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I don't think your wife is eligible for entry under Surinder Singh rule as you aren't exercising your treaty rights in Cyprus in an economic capacity, which specifically means working or being self-employed there, not running a UK business. You will need to provide a Cypriot employment contract or registration for self-employment in Cyprus, plus payment of local taxes as employed/self-employed:

After leaving the United Kingdom, the British national resided in an EEA state and –
Was employed there (other than on a transient or casual basis); or
Established him/herself there as a self-employed person.


Home Office interprets these rules strictly and won't allow any exceptions.

As for bringing your wife as a visitor under EU rules, that only applies to non-UK EEA countries. Other than under Surinder Singh, your wife must meet UK immigration rule about visa etc.

Hello again Joppa and thanks for getting back to me, so even if my wife secures a certificate of residency (EEA family permit) from the host country then she will not be allowed to enter the UK? does this not go against what an EEA permit actually represents, in that this document allows entry to all european union countries for the individual?

It was also my understanding that provided i am self sufficient in the host country, regardless of the fact the self sufficiency comes from my earnings through work in the UK, that I am in fact still exercising treaty rights. is this incorrect?

thank you again for your help in clarification for me
 

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additionally Joppa, is it not the case that provided my wife has a valid EEA RC and travels back to the UK with me personally then she is actually legally entitled to enter the UK?
 

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Hello again Joppa and thanks for getting back to me, so even if my wife secures a certificate of residency (EEA family permit) from the host country then she will not be allowed to enter the UK? does this not go against what an EEA permit actually represents, in that this document allows entry to all european union countries for the individual?
No, because you are a British citizen. You can only exercise your treaty right in a country you aren't a citizen of. In UK, you and your wife will be subject to UK immigration rule, and if she needs a visa, she has to obtain one in advance. Now within Schengen area, things work differently, in that a residence permit for one country allows you to stay in other Schengen states for 90-in-180 days, but UK isn't part of it. The only exception is if you are eligible to bring your wife in under Surinder Singh.

It was also my understanding that provided i am self sufficient in the host country, regardless of the fact the self sufficiency comes from my earnings through work in the UK, that I am in fact still exercising treaty rights. is this incorrect?
I'm afraid you are under a misapprehension. Self-sufficiency isn't regarded as exercising treaty rights in an economic capacity, and without actual self-employment or running a business in Cyprus, you won't be eligible. Surinder Singh rule is based on a particular ruling by the European court, and only applies to those in specific cases (Mr Singh's wife, a British national, went with him to Germany to work, and tried to bring him to UK later under EU rule). Otherwise a lot more people would be able to bring in non-EEA family members, circumventing national immigration law.
Now if you can get a job or do self-employment in Cyprus - it doesn't have to be highly paid - then you should stand a chance. But it has to be a proper job/self-employment, with contract, accounts, paying local income tax etc. Or if you can transfer your business to Cyprus temporarily but officially.
 

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No, because you are a British citizen. You can only exercise your treaty right in a country you aren't a citizen of. In UK, you and your wife will be subject to UK immigration rule, and if she needs a visa, she has to obtain one in advance. Now within Schengen area, things work differently, in that a residence permit for one country allows you to stay in other Schengen states for 90-in-180 days, but UK isn't part of it. The only exception is if you are eligible to bring your wife in under Surinder Singh.



I'm afraid you are under a misapprehension. Self-sufficiency isn't regarded as exercising treaty rights in an economic capacity, and without actual self-employment or running a business in Cyprus, you won't be eligible. Surinder Singh rule is based on a particular ruling by the European court, and only applies to those in specific cases (Mr Singh's wife, a British national, went with him to Germany to work, and tried to bring him to UK later under EU rule). Otherwise a lot more people would be able to bring in non-EEA family members, circumventing national immigration law.
Now if you can get a job or do self-employment in Cyprus - it doesn't have to be highly paid - then you should stand a chance. But it has to be a proper job/self-employment, with contract, accounts, paying local income tax etc. Or if you can transfer your business to Cyprus temporarily but officially.
Joppa, I really appreciate all of this help and assistance you are giving me/us, so just to clarify matters, if say tomorrow I instruct one of these company formations companies to set me up as a limited company here in Cyprus and whom I believe can have it in full operation within a period of 2 weeks, will this be enough to obtain eligibility under the Surrinder Singh rules?....i will of course try and make the business work here but there is no guarantees it will secure income and/or work prior to the time that we intend to go back to the UK for the visit early next year however, it will be over the 3 month period of exercising treaty rights in order to qualify - can you confirm that this is correct?

Also, one more thing Joppa, and this is purely on the basis that you may indeed know the answer to this but if I make my wife a director of the proposed company here in the host country, does this secure residency status for her?

once again Joppa, thanking you in advance for all advice given here
 
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