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Hello,

I'm in the UK on an EEA family permit, which we applied for and received while living in Belgium. We entered the UK in December and my EEA family permit visa expires in April. I've been advised that I have to return to my birth country (USA) to get a spouse visa. I have not lived in the US for quite a few years. My husband is a British citizen and we have a daughter, who is dual UK/USA citizen.

We're not sure what the next step should be--to apply for a 5 year EEA family permit or to follow the advice we've received and go to America, separating the family for an unknown period of time as a consequence (my husband would be staying here in the UK to work)?

I've also been told I need to apply for an FLRO to extend my visa, which costs like 600 pounds, in addition to the flight and time in America and the spouse visa application fee at around 600 pounds also. So this is a very expensive option, which is frankly, pretty much out of our financial reach now.

I would be so so grateful if anyone has any insight into this bureaucratic quagmire.

TIA!
 

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Hello,

I'm in the UK on an EEA family permit, which we applied for and received while living in Belgium. We entered the UK in December and my EEA family permit visa expires in April. I've been advised that I have to return to my birth country (USA) to get a spouse visa. I have not lived in the US for quite a few years. My husband is a British citizen and we have a daughter, who is dual UK/USA citizen.

We're not sure what the next step should be--to apply for a 5 year EEA family permit or to follow the advice we've received and go to America, separating the family for an unknown period of time as a consequence (my husband would be staying here in the UK to work)?

I've also been told I need to apply for an FLRO to extend my visa, which costs like 600 pounds, in addition to the flight and time in America and the spouse visa application fee at around 600 pounds also. So this is a very expensive option, which is frankly, pretty much out of our financial reach now.

I would be so so grateful if anyone has any insight into this bureaucratic quagmire.
I take it you were able to apply for EEA family permit because your husband was exercising EU treaty rights in Belgium by working, using the Surinder Singh judgment.
So in order to stay longer, you should simply apply for residence card on Form EEA2. This costs nothing and gives you a card valid 5 years. While you aren't under legal obligation to get the residence card, not having it means you lack documentary proof of your right to live and work in UK, and can cause problem when travelling or changing jobs.
See UK Border Agency | Residence documents for non-EEA family members of EEA nationals
It takes around 3-4 months to process your application, but they should send you a certificate of application which acts as interim proof of your rights.

You do have an option of extending your stay as spouse under UK immigration law on Form FLR(M), which costs £550 or £850 by same-day premium service. One advantage over resident card is you can apply for settlement (ILR) after only 2 years instead of 5 years, and you become eligible for naturalisation after 3 years instead of 5 years. You can apply while you are in UK - there's no need to return to US. Remember the rules may be changing in June and soon everyone may have to live for 5 years before settlement.
 
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