Overview

You may be able to get a permit to come to the UK if you’re the family member of either:

  • an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
  • a ‘person of Northern Ireland’

The EEA includes the EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

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

You must be outside the UK to apply.

There are 2 different family permits:

  • the EU Settlement Scheme family permit
  • the EEA family permit

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.

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. 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 to do so

EU Settlement Scheme family permit

You can apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit if you’re the close family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020.

Find out more about applying for an EUSS family permit to join an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen.

You can also apply:

EEA family permit

The EEA family permit is ending on 30 June 2021. You will not be able to apply for one or use it to travel to the UK after then, even if the expiry date on it is later. To come to the UK after 30 June 2021, you might be able to apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit.

You can apply for an EEA family permit if you’re the close family member or unmarried partner of a person from the EU, EEA or Switzerland. Your family relationship must have started by 31 December 2020.

If you apply for an EEA family permit and do not get a decision by 30 June 2021, you’ll need to apply for a different way to travel to the UK, such as an EU Settlement Scheme family permit.

Find out more about applying for the EEA family permit to join an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen.

You may also be eligible for an EEA family permit:

  • with a ‘derivative right of residence’ - you might have this if you’re the primary carer of a British, EU, EEA or Swiss dependant, the primary carer’s child, or the child of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who previously worked in the UK
  • if you can make a ‘Surinder Singh’ application after living in an EEA country or Switzerland with a British family member
  • with a ‘retained right of residence’ - you might have this if you have the right to stay in the UK as the family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who has died, left the UK or is no longer your spouse or civil partner

Fees

Both family permits are free.

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.