Is UK handling of EEA Family Permit visas still a problem?

In the past, British embassy handling of EEA Family Permit visas has systematically violated EU Law, even in the straight forward cases. The problems are detailed in the Oct 2012 complaint to the European Commission CHAP(2012)3146.

The executive summary of the complaint (reproduced below) highlights some of the problems encountered by married couples applying for an EEA Family Permit.  The full complaint has significantly more detail.

I need your assistance:  Are problems handling EEA Family Permit visas at British embassies, as outlined in the complaint, continuing?

Comment on this post if you have examples of more recent problems involving married couples.  Links and details would be very helpful.

From the complaint: ….

Executive Summary  [from CHAP(2012)3146]

The UK is systematically violating EU free movement law, by refusing family member visas for reasons that are explicitly prohibited by Directive 2004/38/EC and relevant ECJ case law:

  1. British visa officers (ECOs) are refusing family member visas because the EU citizen has not proven that they will likely find employment when they eventually travel to the UK, or because the EU citizen has not proven they have assets to support themselves once in the UK
  2. ECOs are refusing visas to spouses of EU citizens when the ECO suspects a marriage of convenience but has done nothing to test their suspicions. We have found no instance of ECOs requesting additional supporting evidence about the relationship or asking to interview the applicant or their EU spouse before refusing the application
  3. An ECO explicitly took into consideration “the current economic climate in the UK”, even though this is explicitly forbidden by Directive 2004/38/EC
  4. UKBA and ECOs are requiring applicants to answer questions which are non-material to the issue of a family member visa, and which are prohibited by C-68/89 Commission v Netherlands [1991]
  5. Anyone wishing to exercise their right of appeal must pay a fee of at least £80. When the visa is finally issued, the applicant will have paid that amount for their EEA FP, even though the visa must be issued for free
  6. Visa applications are not given priority processing. Some UK visa offices appear to process the applications at the same (slow) speed as UK-law “settlement visas”

 UKBA’s guidance, training material, and day-to-day administrative practice lead to a consistent and ongoing breach of the Directive in a ways directly precluded by established free movement case law. 

Material released by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in response to Freedom Of Information (FOI) requests show that their officers are being actively trained to evaluate & refuse applications in ways which are unambiguously in violation of EU free movement law.

The impact is large.  The UKBA refused 4,500 EEA FP applications in 2011, approximately 20% of all applications, with some visa offices rejecting more than 50%.  The dismal quality of the refusals, documented in the following sections, suggests that a very large number of these were incorrectly refused.  This amounts to a substantial impediment to the free movement rights of each of the EU citizens involved.

 In none of the cases would UKBA dare to directly block the EU citizen from directly entering the UK.   Instead they are using the family member’s visa application to achieve the same effect.


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  • Martin  On August 7, 2014 at 15:13

    I understand that the UK is also charging £59 for an EEA FP application in some countries and charging premium rates to make enquiries by phone. You may be interested to know that my MEP has asked the European Commission to ask if UK is acting in spirit of freedom of movement:

  • Anonymous  On August 7, 2014 at 20:09

    The UK government and border agencies are still blocking EU citizen’s spouses from entering, even from having full rights. I am an Irish citizen/EU and my wife is got full rights to be in the Republic of Ireland. In September 2013, I took my family to Northern Ireland, we passed the “habitual residence” rights of the common travel area. I decided to apply for a “residence card” issued by UK Immigration, and later my wife was refused and told to leave UK or appeal and pay £80 after we have already paid £50. We did not appeal, I asked for my wife’s South African passport to be returned and that was refused and, we we told to reapply, and I must state how,as EU husband am exercising by EU freedom of movement rights by sending all applications AND replies for work. I did not do that. The form states that it is up to our discretion to apply, otherwise we don’t have to. But when one applies immigration rules comes in. I just got fad up with all this UK immigration nonsense for EU spouses, after consulting a number of organisations which were either unhelpful or in agreement with the “status quo”.

    Really, the UK is against the rights of EU citizens and their families and, as an EU citizen I would like to challenge them in The EU court should I have means to do so, because they should be abiding with the EU law not the UK law when it comes to EU citizens and their spouses.

    I know of some friends who are EU citizens but their non-EU spouses are refused visas to come and join them in the UK.

    Now, it seems, I must let my wife, who has a young child (Irish/EU citizen), to go back to the Republic of Ireland, and what is that…in reality? So, there is no real freedom of movement for EU citizens and their spouses in the UK, and that is a cause for concern. Is the UK not part of the EU, one would ask, and then, why they refuse or demand unambiguous or illegal proofs of exercising EU rights from EU citizens, and why the forms for application are tricky…and misleading as to what is actually required…as if trying to hide away from something? UK immigration is involved in the violation of EU citizens’ rights of free movement and that is really a cause for concern if there is going to be justice, harmony and peace in the European Union.

    • EU free movement  On August 8, 2014 at 08:11

      Did they refuse to issue a EEA Family Permit or an EEA Residence Card? What reason did they give?

  • Steve kauai and moore  On August 8, 2014 at 17:58

    I know this well been waiting 5 weeks for visa for my wife and step daughter.

    All they say are making enquires.

    2nd application as said marriage of convence and never met even though we supplied our residents permits with our address in turkey

  • Volker  On August 20, 2014 at 08:05

    I have also some “fun” with the hight commission in Nairobi to get the EEA family permit for my Kenyan wife. I am German citizen, working in UK since June 2014. All documents (certificate from UK employer + marriage certificate + proof of cohabitation supplied), but still in “queque for assessment”.

    Main issues, the EU commission should address formally to the UK:

    1) VAF5 form too complex and misguiding. Questions such as financials, employer of applicant, personal details about the relationship, accommodation askd, which are not relevant for permits of direct family members. As from must be completed online, questions also cannot be skipped. This creates confusion for the applicant and also delay on side of the British ECO, who has to read through all this stuff.

    2) Timeline. High Commission Nairobi is definitely not giving priority (accelerated procedure) to these applications. “Target” is three weeks, but it is usually delayed. Normal visitor visas (more complex as financials and willingness to return to home country has to be assessed) are process, if priority fee has been paid, in 3 to 4 days. EU Commission should be more concrete on “priority”.

    3) Application through outsourced Visa Center (Teleperformance). They just take documents and take finger prints. No decision, even if all documents are there. Eventually applicant has to come for a second time for an interview. Inconvenient for people living outside Nairobi and working. High Commission should offer direct application with decision making ECO, who then can – if everything is OK – issue the permit, when lodging.

    • Sean  On October 23, 2014 at 03:17

      Don’t worry Volker,I have raised all of these points in my CJEU case against the UK,so go on line and read what the Advocate General says in his opinion
      which was published on the 20th May 2014.Google CJEU case-202/13.It is published in 20 languages so you can read the German version also.Nothing
      is going to change until the CJEU Grand Chamber hands down it’s ruling.This is going to be the “BIG ONE” as I am a Duel EU citizen and I have also challenged
      the Frontier Protocal.

  • Oleg  On August 20, 2014 at 13:57

    3 weeks ago was refused by ECO on grounds of wifes income but she provided two contracts from two different jobs making £19000 a year. Probs cos by second contract (£1000 per year) my wife was employed less then 6 months.

  • DDay1944  On August 22, 2014 at 09:28

    “The impact is large. The UKBA refused 4,500 EEA FP applications in 2011, approximately 20% of all applications, with some visa offices rejecting more than 50%.”
    Might one ask which are the offices with the 50% rejection rate? It would be nice to know which to avoid.

  • UK still refusing EU/EEA rights  On August 24, 2014 at 11:19

    Definitely still a problem, and UKBA is not compliant with EU law.

    My Kenyan Wife just got her family permit refused, here the UKBA wording:


    Post reference: NAIROBI I xxxxxx

    To: xxxxx

    Date of Birth: xxxxx Nationality: KENYAN

    Your Application

    You have applied for admission to the United Kingdom by virtue of European Community Law as the family member of a European Economic Area national who is exercising. or wishes to exercise. rights of free movement under the Treaty of Rome in the United Kingdom.

    The Decision

    You have applied for an EEA family permit as the family member of a European Economic Area national but in view of your failure to produce documentary evidence as requested I am not satisfied that you are related as claimed. You state you are the spouse of xxx who is an EEA national. You state you first met on xxxxx and you state you got married on sometime in xxx In support of your application, you have submitted a marriage certificate dated xxxx 2014. However; you have failed to submit any evidence about your relationship with your sponsor. As a result, I am not satisfied you are related as claimed and
    that your family circumstances are as stated by you. I am therefore not satisfied this is a genuine offer of sponsorship.

    Taking into account the above. refusal to issue this EEA family permit will not prevent your EEA national sponsor from exercising their Treaty rights in the UK. Therefore, refusal is both appropriate and proportionate.

    I am not satisfied that you are spouse of the EEA national. I have therefore refused your application because I am not satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that you meet all of the requirements of the relevant Paragraph of the United Kingdom Immigration Rules.

    I therefore refuse your EEA family pennit application because I am not satisfied that you meet all of the requirements of Regulation 12 of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006.

    (…) End of Document.

    Interesting are the observations of the ECO:

    1) A marriage certificate is not a genious offer of sponsorship

    2) Refusal to issue this EEA family permit will not prevent your EEA national sponsor from execising their treaty rights in the UK. The refusal is appropriate and proportionate.

    Any suggestions what to do? The offered appeal at a PO address in Leicester might be a lengthy and expensive procedure.

  • Sabina  On October 10, 2014 at 13:23

    Maybe everyone else is aware, I was not, so I want to share it with you.
    If you are family member of any EEU citizen, including British citizen, and you have and EEA residence permit for family member of EEA citizen, issued based on Directive 2004/38/EC then you are allowed to enter UK with your passport and this residence card, and you don’t have to apply for any visa or family permit.
    This piece of legislation is changed in January 2014, the text of the changes you can find here:

    It is the Regulation 11 that refers to the free entry without visa.

  • Sean  On October 23, 2014 at 02:31

    Sabina,what you say in your post is factually incorrect.The UK do not accept residence cards or permits issued by other member States with the exception since April 2014 that they are now accepting German and Estonian residence cards issued under Directive EU38 Article10.

  • Sean  On October 23, 2014 at 02:56

    Anyone who wants factual information in relation to EU Family Residence Cards and the manner UKBA processes applications for their Family Permits should
    read the Advocate Generals Opinion on my current CJEU case C202/13 which was handed down on the 20th May 2014 from the Grand Chamber.We are currently awaiting the final ruling from the 17 Judges who sat to hear the case on the 4th March 2014.
    UKBA claim to process applications within five days,this claim has neither substance or merit.My wife has been issued with nine permits over the past
    four years and we had to wait up to 90 days each time.We got a High Court Order on November 2012 which instructs the Secretary of State to issue the
    permit by post until the CJEU give their ruling.She submitted her current
    application on the 20th June 2014 and now four months later they still
    have not issued the permit.So if they won’t comply with a High Court Order,what do this say about Law and Order?.Please don’t confuse what EU38 say and what the UKBA do,if you read the case file you will get all of the answers you want.

    • webbym  On December 6, 2014 at 20:02

      Hi Sean,
      Any idea on when the decision is due for your CJEU case C202/13 ?

  • Pascal Pinto  On October 30, 2014 at 17:25

    My wife and kids both EU nationals are in the UK exercising their treaty rights. I have been visiting them regularly on a General Visitors visa four times in two years. My marriage is registered in Portugal and my wife holds an executive permanent job.I intend visiting the family this Christmas on a Family Permit this time for 15 days as I have my Dental Practice to run in Goa. Is it agood idea? Is priority doubtful.Have I to return for an interview?
    Appreciate any insight into this.

    • EU free movement  On October 30, 2014 at 22:59

      You can apply now for the family permit. There *should* be no problem and you should complain loudly if you have any problem. Please email me for further doscussion

      • singh  On November 6, 2014 at 21:36


        My Wife is from Norway(EEA) and i am from India . At the moment i am in Norway with with wife from 15 month and waiting or 1 year visa(Family visa) from Noway authorities. At the moment i am on temporary visa in Norway just to wait for 1 year visa from Norway authorities. That is law of Noway we can come to Norway to join spouse before get permanent visa. But they are taking so long time that is why we both thinking to move to UK. So can we take EEA permit. If yes then shall i need to go back to India to apply for that or i can apply from here as well. My wife is working but i m not bez i do not have permanent visa. Kindly help me……. i am sitting at home from last 15 month to wait for my visa from Norway authorities but they are just taking time as there processing time is toooooooo long. plzzzzzzzzzzzzz help me,,,,,,,

  • daanshu  On November 5, 2014 at 23:59

    I’m Bulgarian citizen and my husband is Indian.
    He applied his EEA Family visa on 16 Sept 2014 and he hasn’t got any response from ECO or Embassy.They took our interview on 6 Oct 2014 it was telephonic interview held almost 2 hours.
    We emailed to HGS (HGS is new service for inquiry about the current status or else this from outside the UK), to check the status.
    They replied that application has been processed and a decision has been made but its been 4 weeks we haven’t received any original email about decision and no information about status of my application.

  • tee  On November 7, 2014 at 17:25

    got the same message as ” UK still refusing EU/EEA right On August 24″ today for my wife application, I am from Sweden. it is like copy and paste

  • Sean  On November 15, 2014 at 00:07

    Pascal Pinto,
    If you have a current UK general visitors visa,then my advise to you is stick with this and don’t apply for the Family Permit.My wife has just received
    her passport back with a new six month Family Permit,she applied on the 18th June 2014,this is a 21 week wait.We have a valid current High Court Order compelling the Secretary of State to renew her permit.So if they refuse to abide
    by a High Court Order,exactly what chance have others got.The bottom line is
    that they don’t want to issue family permits and if you can get a long term family visa you are better off.If your wife and children are in the Uk exercising their freedom of movements,then you cannot be refused entry,all you want is to be able to get on the plane which any current visa will do.However,remember your wife must have full health insurance if she is not in full-time employment otherwise she will be deemed to not be lawfully resident in the UK also independent means of support.What the law says and what they are doing are
    two different things.this is my wife’s 10th Family permit over the past five years,
    so we can safely say we are experts on this subject.We are still awaiting the Judgement from the Grand Chamber CJEU on our action against the UK.
    Look up Case C-202/13 and read the 36 page opinion from the Advocate General.

  • Yve  On November 18, 2014 at 22:54

    I am an eu national and I am genuinely married to my dear husband who is non-eu.

    I applied for EEA family permit and provided wedding certificate + pix of wedding + other pix from other times together + passport stamps to show visits to visit him WAY BEFORE marriage!

    They came back to decline the application based on the ASSUMPTION (with no further investigation or actual fact) that the marriage is for convenience!

    They said there is no evidence of when n where the pix were taken!!!!! (Are they kidding me?!?!?

    To say that I am fuming is an under statement!

    Can anybody help or advise on what to do now?

    I’m scared to appeal as they may purposefully delay a quick response!

    My email


    • EU free movement  On November 20, 2014 at 00:22

      Only need to provide marriage certificate. Providing more only gives them excuse to refuse

      • Volker  On November 20, 2014 at 18:27

        Marriage Certificate for UK EEA FP is definitely not sufficient. The ECO wants to see proof of relationship, photographs, proof of living together etc. Our first FP application with the by the EU regulations required docs was refused in Nairobi. After submitting excessive documentation including German ambassador and Kenyan ministers witnesses and recommendation letters of joint meetings (with us as couple) the UK embassy granted the FP in a second application. They want to see that you are a real couple not one of convenience. My advice. Just get a high profile political support letter, from the ambassador of your country or similiar.

      • EU free movement  On November 21, 2014 at 04:36

        You are lucky to have contacts in the diplomatic community. Most applicants do not.

      • Anonymous  On November 21, 2014 at 11:29

        Does alwAys work. I sent letters from my MP they ignored it.

  • Volker  On November 21, 2014 at 13:21

    “…You are lucky to have contacts in the diplomatic community. Most applicants do not. …” Not really true – EEA FP means, that the EU citizen is mostly already in the UK. The contacts you get easily by joining there a Pro-European party, such as the Alliance Party (pls read their European Manifest) or the Scotish Nationalists (SNP) – both were very helpful, arranged immediate contact with their EPs/MPs.

    The Constituency office of Alliance even asked for support from the Irish Law Centre in my EEA FP case. Party membership contribution is not a lot, and you can support them with voluntary work or campaigns, such as motivating EU citizens to register for elections. Yes, they have a right to vote.

  • Cesan  On November 21, 2014 at 16:05

    I am indian citizen living in Lithuania, I have applied for EEA permit in august 2014 in Warsaw, Poland since UKBA not accepting any visa application in Lithuania.

    I have submitted my passport and eu marriage certificate with copy of my wife’s ID. I didn’t provided any financial support to my application and nighter my wife working in UK. I didn’t paid any single penny to them and they didn’t asked me single question why i wanna go there or why i want eea permit.

    They issued me 6 months EEA Permit with in 24 hours. They made my application on priority bases. I am really happy with UKBA services.
    In september i went to uk just for 2 day and i didn’t like there anything. So came back to LT. If anyone have any question regarding how i did it.. just let me know here i will be happy to answer.

    • Yve  On November 22, 2014 at 06:42

      Thanx everybody for a response to my post!

      Is anything being done to the ECO’s or UKBA for blatantly violating EU Law???

  • saim  On December 9, 2014 at 01:46

    hello, my name is muhammad, i get married in 2012 august with europian girl and submit my all documents in october then after 6months my visa has been refused and give me right of appeal, objection on my wife id, then i had send me wife and make another id in solvakia but this time i had submit my appel as well, when she came back and make another id, now i had send my wife another ID to the home office now i was preparing for hairing on 24 april 2013 but home office withdraw my appel before hairing 2days, and request for reconsidration my applicationa and reqeust as well for 8weeks, then after 12weeks once again home ofice refuese my visa on employer phone , i think he did not vierify that my wife she working r not, once again i take admision as part time student and also madical insurance as well, during this time on 18march then home office send me a letter for interevie then my we go for interevie as well, during interview there was some diffrent in question and after one months home office refused and said its a marrieg convenice, but this i had appel and went for appel with my wife, judge he was very nice person, but this time the colleg has been revoked and judge refuse the home objection about the marrieg convenice and refused my visa on treaty rights, the judge write that this marrieq is ok bcz the girl from last 2year she is living with him, and she came to the court as well and went for interview as well to the home office its mean its a genoun, now my wife she working and submit all documents to the hom office , so pleas let me know these people will be call for 2nd interview r not, becuse we had already done interevie, and pleas its will take 2nd time my intervew r not and once things moor now who long will be take for processing time , pleas any body help me about this thing, i will be appreicate u, because i m really upset, thanks

  • Anonymous  On December 10, 2014 at 22:14

    To answer your question yes. please see:

    for an outline. I will be compiling a formal complaint after I chill a little. If it is helpfull you can have a copy, but not via this open forum.

    Whilst it has not happened recently (last trip was using a German Residency Card, hence no FP application), an area often forgotten is the role that Visa Application Centres often play either as a result of lack of training or dare I say incorrect training by the UKBA / UKVI.
    To name two:
    1. Refusal to accept FP application from spouse UK citizens, responding look on web site. Would only accept an application for visitor for wife of UK passport holder working in Germany for over 7 years wishing to visit the UK for short time
    Visitor application submitted, made clear in covering letter that it was under eec directive 2004/38/ec. Took money and gave visitors visa

    2. Different occasion: attempted to apply for a FP declined to allow entry to get to window, when we stood our ground, and asked for manager, none, asked for complaints book, none, even though at this time it clearly stated this on their web site. Eventually got to window after enduring threats of visa being refused and being banned from ever entering the uk!!!!!!. Application accepted, FP granted

    I always understood it was only a UK ECO that could refuse a visa

  • Muhammad  On January 6, 2015 at 18:34

    I am Pakistani national married with an Hungarian national in Malta and i have 5 years Maltese Residence Card of a Family Member of a Union Citizen (Art 10-Dir 2004/38)
    We are planing together traveling to London shall I require a visa if not then please reply me with the evidence please which we can show in case?
    Best Regards,

    • Volker  On January 8, 2015 at 12:39

      Hi Muhammed, apply for a EEA Family Permit, as the UK so far does not recognize the EEA residence cards form other EU states. Much luck.
      Other option – in my case it worked – you fly to Dublin (Ireland do recognize the EEA residence cards) and just take a ferry to the UK.

  • HeartWeaver  On January 12, 2015 at 18:17

    I am a Singaporean, married to an Irish citizen who is currently working in the UK. I have applied via Visa4UK and my application is currently being processed by Manila’s visa issuing office. They say that it usually is processed within 15 working days. Today is the 13th day, so, what are the chances that my application will be accepted?

    • EU free movement  On January 14, 2015 at 11:33

      As a Sibgaporean, the EEA FP is really optional. You could have entered the UK without it. Have a nice flight

  • Sean  On January 13, 2015 at 08:11

    Hi Muhammad,In reply to your question please look at the CJEU ruling given in Luxembourg on the 18th December 2014.I am the person that took the UK Government to court for demanding a family permit for my wife despite the fact that she has a Spanish Residence card issued under Directive EU 38 article 10 which exempts such card holders visa regulations.As you will see the court upheld my claim and found the UK is acting illegally and instructed them to change the UK law.The bottom line is it will take some time for them to change the law and as a result of the carrier liability law( also found illegal)you will have to get a FP because the carriers won’t take you until the law is changed.Now the good news,as the CJEU has now ruled the FP is unlawful you are legally entitled to compesation for violation of your Treaty rights.In your application be sure to quote the McCarthy Case 202/13 judgement of 18th December 2014.Good luck.

  • 357mag  On January 13, 2015 at 14:36

    Hope UKVI would fold on the case and get judgement over with, but they dont want their noses rubbed in it even more before a general election. Its a major breakthrough Sean and hopefully will help a lot of couples be together. Commendable action sir, hats off to you.

  • Emma  On January 14, 2015 at 15:53

    Hi Sean, I wonder if you can help me with my situation. It sounds similar to yours. I have read your case. We are having to be in Portugal for a while and I have a job as a teacher. (I am a british citizen and my 3 children also have UK passports) My husband is from NZ. We don’t meet the earning requirements of the UK to get in so we are doing the Surrinder Singh route. Our daughter is having to go to school in the UK and we are in Portugal with our 2 younger children so we are having to be separated because of this stupid law. So, do we need a family permit from here or a residency card for my husband also or both? Any help or advice would be appreciated. Kind regards Emma

  • Anthonie Marais  On January 28, 2015 at 13:08

    Good afternoon.My wife and I am planning to move to the uk around May/June.
    My wife is Hungarian and im South African.We have been Married sins February 2014.We know each other from juny 2006.
    im getting a lot of conflicting information regarding the EEA Family permit.Can anybody maybe clarify what documents we need and so on?
    We have loads of photos dating back to 2006 and also our Marriage certificate(apostilled) SA and the Hungarian marriage certificate.
    Your help would be much appreciated

  • Eni Susiana  On January 29, 2015 at 10:49

    I am an Indonesian and married Britis/French citizen who lives and work in The Netherlands. I have EU resident permit. My parents in law are still living in The Nederland and regularly visit the UK where his family live. My question is, what kind of Visa can I obtain to be able to regularly visit my husband family in UK? we will most likely to travel to UK at least once a year for family reunion. We don’t have any intention to live permanently in the UK nor my parents in Law. Is EEA family permit an option?

    Thank you,


  • Marta  On March 10, 2015 at 21:36

    hi there,

    I’m Polish and my husband is Argentinian. I’ve been living in UK for the last 12 years.. My husband is waiting for his visa in Argentina for more then 40 days already (where it says on the website that it’s 15-30 days waiting time for EEA Family Permit) There is no one to contact, they told him to wait for the email. How long can they keep him like that? How can I contact anyone about it? I’m in UK now, he’s there.. we are loosing our hope slowly..

    • EU free movement  On March 13, 2015 at 00:51

      Citizens of Argentina do not require a visa to fly to UK. Why did you apply for EEA FP?

  • Gaber  On March 21, 2015 at 09:20

    Hello, I am British Citizen married to Non-eu Citizen for 3 1/2 years now, we have daughter who is British Citizen (2 years old) we are living in Germany for past 7 months, I am working and learning the language, my daughter is in kindergarden. My wife has the Family Member of EU Citizen Residency Permit issue by Germany. We want to travel to UK but don’t want to apply for EEA Family Permit (Visa) as it is too far. I read that legislations allows my wife to travel with just her passport and her Residency Permit. Is this correct and is there any specific Legislation. Many Thanks

  • Viv  On April 20, 2015 at 05:17

    Yes, problems are continuing. I am a UK citizen, resident in Belgium, My wife is Indian. We have been married nearly 7 years and have a 2 year old son (also a UK citizen). My wife has successfully applied for about 10 EEA family permits – as a Surinder Singh case. In the past, the process has taken about 5 working days from submitting the documents to receiving the passport at home. However, for a visit to the UK planned for next weekend, I completed the latest version of the form at the end of February. This naturally took a while as it is rather challenging to recall and list every occurrence of driving across the Belgian border. On submitting the form, the earliest available appointment at the Brussels application centre was in the first week of April. Two weeks on, we approach our departure date and have no mechanism to even track the application – as the Teleperformace website does not allow EEA Family Permits to be tracked. We are on the verge of cancelling our visit. Surely a process that takes at least a couple of months (at least) cannot count as free movement of people…?

    • marta  On April 20, 2015 at 10:59

      it’s absolutely true.. what kind of a freedom of movement is this..?

      It looks like it’s getting worse and worse now, after 2 months (!!!) of waiting for a decision the EEA family permit for my husband has been refused… Appeal will take at least half a year, as my lawyers said (yes, I had to hire a solicitor)

    • Pascal Pinto  On April 24, 2015 at 02:22

      Agree Viv, Whether it is the run up to the elections or plain stupidness the fact is that the EEA family permit is becoming difficult to obtain. Now it appears that the online application requires the non EEA spouse to provide details of the Residence card something that is not required for a EEA national,is expensive and time consuming.
      Haveyou ben able to get your Family Permit in time?

      • Viv  On April 27, 2015 at 16:14

        Thankfully – yes, we received it on Tuesday in time for our departure on Thursday, but not without plenty of nervous moments and mentally preparing ourselves that we would have to cancel the trip. One complaint about the form is having to fill in the same information several times (e.g. who are you travelling with, who is your spouse, who is the EEA national). I would have thought that web technology would allow you to present an option to populate the relevant field with the same information provided previously. It is also unfortunate that they have removed the ability to enter free text – for example “20 trips in the Schengen area in the last 2 years”…now you have to list each individually. Last time round I didn’t see a request for details on the residence card but that could well be something they have brought in since February.

  • Pascal Pinto  On April 20, 2015 at 11:31

    Hi My wife and children are EU Nationals working and studying in the UK for the past 3 yrs. I have been visiting them regularly on a Visitors Visa. I have decided after a lot of deliberation to apply for the EEA family permit this time after staff at the Mumbai visa office suggested this. Filling of the VFA4 online form now reveals the requirement for the EEA Nationals National Registration No aka Residence Certificate No. Required documentation on the website makes no mention of it. Enquiries made by my wife suggest a minimum wait of 8 weeks. The online application is not possible without this information which appears to be a new attempt by the UKBA to interfere with the free movement ……

  • charlie  On May 21, 2015 at 18:42

    Hi..I am a South African citizen, still legally married to a Polish citizen since October 2007 and we have a 7year old daughter together. Long story short, we separated in 2011..I’m stuck in South Africa because my wife refuses to assist me with my family permit.

    The only documents I have is my marriage certificate and daughter’s birth certificate, along UK bills and tenency agreements. Is there anyway of me returning to the UK? Or do I have to wait till my daughter reaches her teens, so I can make contact with her. I have no contact with my wife, she refuses to talk to me.

  • ET  On June 1, 2015 at 21:46

    I am Malaysian married my Italian husband in January 2014 and we have a 10 months old daughter who holding Italian. We know each other in Singapore and we are together since 2011. Recently, we quit our job in Singapore and decided to look for job in the UK. He got a job offer and flew to the UK a few days ago. So, our daughter and I will join him once the visa is approve. I am so worry. I would like to know whether the chances of getting UK EEA FP is high?

    • EU free movement  On June 3, 2015 at 07:20

      Why are you even applying for an EEA Family Permit? You do not need a visa and can fly today

      • William Glyn Thomas  On June 3, 2015 at 07:32

        See my report dated 3rd April 2015. My wife was refused a visa despite having a French carte de sejour. In May 2015 we arrived at the Channel Tunnel, were questionnaire by the Border Agency personnel and they agreed that the refusal was preposterous and my wife had a 6 months visa stamped in her passport. We enjoyed 3 weeks touring the UK. On our departure nobody checked us out so a s far they know we are still there! The Westminster government couldn’t organise a party in a brewery !!

    • John  On June 3, 2015 at 10:45

      I am Irish and my wife Fijian. We applied online for an EEA family permit and after an in-person interview at the local processing office in Fiji we received the permit within 3 weeks at zero cost. The whole process was very smooth. We are now in the UK two weeks and have sent our passports to the home office for my wife’s residence permit which we hope to get soon.

      EU free movement may be correct that an EEA Family Permit is not legally necessary, but having the permit in my wife’s passport with a UK goverment stamp on it has made all our dealings with immigration and other officials so much smoother. Britain is a very credentialist nation and having an unstamped passport from a non-EU country can make people more reluctant to help you – not all officials know the law!!!

  • Sushi  On February 29, 2016 at 19:27

    Hi all! I’m a Nigerian citizen married to a Slovenian and have been living and working here legally for the past 6 years. My immediate family members are recently naturalized British citizens and in the past we’ve visited them frequently with my husband and son on an EEA family permit.
    My mom had a brain aneurism over the weekend and has had to undergo two operations in the past 48hours but sadly I can’t immediately get on a plane to be by her side because well… you guessed right- VISA ISSUES!

    On trying to apply for the EEA permit, I keep getting a message that reads
    “We are currently updating our online visa application service. You can apply using the new service if you are applying for a:

    – Standard Visitor Visa
    – Marriage Visitor Visa
    – 1 month Permitted Paid Engagements visa

    This service is currently only available to people in certain countries.
    See if you are eligible to use the new service”

    On clicking “see if you are eligible to use the new service” it tells me
    This service is not currently available in your country of application, we therefore recommend you apply using an alternative service.

    I called the embassy in Ljubljana and they told me they are no longer processing EEA family permits. Could this really be true? Because applying for a standard visitor’s visa is completely out of the question. The non-refundable visa fee is almost 200EUR, they are asking for supporting documents I cannot provide, PLUS they denied me several times in the past and I know they will again. They only mercifully issued the EEA permit 2ce in the past because my husband was travelling with me.
    Please advise on what to do. Mom is in critical condition and if anything happens to her because I have to wait 3 weeks for a visa I’m not even sure I’ll get, I won’t ever be able to live with myself.
    Thanks in advance.

  • Olga  On March 17, 2016 at 15:38

    One still has to fill-in 15 pages with 160 questions to apply for EEA FP. Also Questions about the purpose and duration of the journey, about how much money one has for the journey, lot of questions about job, living place, detailed about relationship such as when did you meet first, when did you get together, how do you keep in touch, about parents, Journeys of last 10 years ect.

  • A German Guy  On April 28, 2016 at 12:47

    I have somewhat good news to share. I am German, my wife is Thai, she’s living for over 8 years in GER (residence permit) and having a kid together we decided to just fly to UK without getting her a visitor visa. After contacting UK embassy by phone they said as a EEA spouse she should be able to fly to UK without getting a visa.
    Just to be safe we needed to bring our child’s birth certiicate and our marriage certificate as further proof. Done that.
    At the airport border control they were reluctant to let her in. They demanded further documents and inquiries including her signing a border force document that her documents are taken and copied with further investigation.
    The whole process took almost an hour. I am very sure they are very well aware of Article 10 paragraph that the UK has to abide by EU law, they just dont want non-EU people to come into their country. They asked us how we got this ‘information’ I plainly said that its all public accessible in your governments websites if you dig well enough.

    Since 10. April 2015 you do not need an EEA Family permit when traveling with immediate spouse. Refer this to the border control that if you have a residence permit, you are allowed to enter UK (with your EEA national spouse present and some proof of evidence like marriage certificate).

    Further information to read:

  • Sara Boubakri  On September 4, 2016 at 12:12

    I am a British I have been married to a Moroccan man for 7 years living in France with him for over 5 years he has a 10 year french resident card. he has worked and studies in France he has a PHD in physics but not working for the moment. I have also just completed my degree at uni in france and I have worked for 3 months we have a daughter who is 3 who also has a British passport.
    I am now in the UK with my daughter I would like to bring my husband over what visa can I apply for? can I get a resident card for him? Or a EEA familly permit visa ?
    I really appreciate your advice so we can be together as a family. I am British but so far I have not been able to find the answer to my questions it is very frustration.

    • EU free movement  On September 5, 2016 at 03:46

      He has a residence card as family member of an eye citizen. YoU have evidence that you have worked in France while living together. He should not need a visa, unless you have been living in the uk already for some time

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