What About My Spouse?

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From its inception the purpose of European Community Law is to integrate citizens and particularly family members of the union’s citizens to an ever increasing common market.

Most fundamental to citizens of the European Community is the freedom of movement between member states and access to services. It is with this aspect of community law that has encountered the most evolution. Take for example a French national married to a Columbian national (non EEA member) who arrives in the United Kingdom and wishes to gain access to public benefits, what aspects of community law ar0e encountered?

UK Immigration law would originally place a requirement on the Columbian national gaining entry clearance into the United Kingdom for the particular purpose of the individual’s visit either as a general or family visitor, a worker or employment category or as a spouse to a UK national. However European Community Law recognises not only the freedom of movement of citizens of its member states but also those of certain categories of family members including spouses, dependant children, parents and other family members and a good Immigration lawyer would be able to advice further on this.

In the case of family members an EEA family permit is issued to the particular family member the permit is a document similar to an entry clearance which has been given the name “EEA family permit” to distinguish it from a visa or entry clearance issued under the Immigration Law Rules. Family permits are issued for six months in all cases and are free of charge.

From the point of view of immigration lawyers in London the fact that an EEA family permit has expired does not necessarily mean that an EEA family member leave or ‘status’ in the UK has expired provided however the EEA national continues to meet the EEA Regulations then the non EEA family member would not be considered as having ‘overstayed’ simply because the expiry date of their EEA family permit had passed. With Immigration lawyers the legality of the family member’s status is important.

The family members of an EEA national necessarily include:

  • spouses or civil partners and in order for either to prove the relationship they would be required to provide either (marriage certificate, birth certificate or other evidence of family link)

Most importantly following the ECJ judgement on Metock in July 2008 Member States including the United Kingdom are now prohibited from having a general requirement for third country national spouses of EEA nationals to be lawfully resident in another EEA member state before they can benefit from a right to reside under the EU Free Movement of Persons Directive and UK residents can obtain further advice on this by consulting immigration lawyers in London