EEA Family Permits for Extended Family Members

Extended Family Members had until 31st December 2020 to join their EEA national family members in the UK. Although the EEA Family Permit was replaced by the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit, only close relatives are eligible for the new EUSS permit. This meant that relatives such as dependent siblings, aunts/uncles or cousins had to apply for an EEA Family Permit before the scheme closed at the end of last year.

When the EEA Family Permit scheme ceased to operate, there were still a large number of extended family members awaiting decisions or appeals on applications that were submitted before the 31st December deadline. Although the Withdrawal Agreement protects the rights of those who made successful applications before the deadline, the Home Office refused to issue permits to extended family members that were successful in their applications after EEA Family Permits ceased to be valid for travel to the UK.

This left many family members high and dry with extended family members left in the inexplicable situation of having been successful in their application but being unable to travel to the UK to join their family as the Home Office refused to issue them a permit to do so. As only close relatives qualify to apply for EUSS Family Permits, they could not even make a new application under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Following legal challenge, the Home Office has now confirmed that they are going to change the relevant Immigration Rules to allow for a EUSS family permit to be granted to extended family members who applied for an EEA family permit by 31 December 2020 and who would have been granted this had the route not closed. This is welcome news for extended family members who, until now, have been separated from their EEA national family member in the UK due to a gap in the law.

If you would like any advice or assistance regarding the EU Settlement Scheme then please do not hesitate to contact one of the experienced solicitors in our immigration team.