Overview

You may be able to get an EU Settlement Scheme family permit to come to the UK if you’re the family member of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. You may also be able to apply if you’re the family member of an eligible person of Northern Ireland.

The family of some British citizens can also get a permit.

You must be outside the UK to apply.

What family permits are for

A family permit makes it easier to travel with your family member to the UK or to join them there.

It lets you come to the UK for up to 6 months. You can work and study, and come and go as many times as you want before the permit expires.

Without one, you might not get a boarding pass or may be refused entry into the UK.

You can stay longer in the UK if you’re eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme.

Applying to the EU Settlement Scheme

You can either:

  • apply for a family permit before you come to the UK, and then apply to the EU Settlement Scheme once you’re here
  • apply to the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK, if you’re eligible

You can only apply to the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK if either:

  • you’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and have a valid passport or national identity card with a biometric chip
  • you’re from somewhere else and you have a UK-issued biometric residence card (if it has not expired)

Otherwise, you will need to apply for a family permit to come to the UK.

Who can apply

There are different ways you can be eligible for a family permit. How you apply depends on how you’re eligible.

If you’re the family member of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein

You can apply for the permit if your family member started living in the UK by 31 December 2020. This includes family members who have British citizenship, if they also have:

  • their citizenship from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, if they lived in the UK before becoming a British citizen (also known as a ‘Lounes case’)
  • dual nationality with an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, and they settled in the UK before 16 July 2012 without using their free movement rights (also known as a ‘McCarthy’ case)

You can also apply if your family member lives outside the UK but regularly works in the UK (also known as a ‘frontier worker’).

If you used to have a family member living in the UK

You can apply if you used to have a family member from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Lichtenstein living in the UK but they’ve died, left the UK or the family relationship has broken down. This is also known as having ‘retained the right of residence’.

Your family member must have lived in the UK by 31 December 2020. If they moved to the UK later, you’ll usually need a visa to come to the UK.

If you’re the family member of a British citizen

You can apply as the family member of a British citizen if you lived together with them in an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. You must have lived there with them before 1 January 2021 before returning with them to the UK.

This is also known as a ‘Surinder Singh’ application.

If you’re the family member of an eligible person of Northern Ireland

You can apply if you have a family member who is an eligible person of Northern Ireland.

To be eligible, your family member must be an Irish, British or dual British and Irish citizen who was born in Northern Ireland.

When they were born, they must also have had a parent who held British, Irish or dual citizenship (or had no restriction on how long they could stay in Northern Ireland).

Fees

It is free to apply for the permit.

After you’ve applied

If your application is successful, check how long your permit lasts and when you can apply to stay longer in the UK.