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Bringing family to live in the UK if you're from the EU

This advice applies to England

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen living in the UK, some of your family can also apply to come and live in the UK. They can apply for pre-settled or settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme if both:

  • you have pre-settled or settled status

  • your relationship with your family member started by 31 December 2020 - unless you’re a Swiss citizen

If your family member is a child who was born after 31 December 2020, you can also apply for them to come and live in the UK.

If you came to the UK on a visa after 31 December 2020, you can't use the EU Settlement Scheme to bring your family to the UK. You’ll need to check if your visa allows you to bring your family to the UK.

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

How your family member applies to the EU Settlement Scheme depends on where they’re from and their immigration status. It‘s important to check how your family member should apply before they come to the UK.

Coronavirus - if your family or friends are entering the UK from abroad

If your family or friends are planning to arrive in the UK, they'll probably have to:

  • get tested for coronavirus within 3 days before they start their journey to the UK

  • fill in a form on GOV.UK with details of where they'll stay in the UK

  • stay at the address they put on the form for 10 days after they arrive – this is called ‘self-isolating’

This includes if they're coming back to the UK after spending time abroad.

These rules are sometimes called ‘quarantine’ – check if they have to quarantine and how to self-isolate on GOV.UK.

If you’re a British or Irish citizen

There are some situations when your family members can apply for pre-settled or settled status.

If you’re a British citizen

If you have close family members who aren’t British citizens, they can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme in some situations.

Close family members are your:

  • husband, wife, civil partner or long-term partner

  • dependent parents or grandparents

  • children or grandchildren under 21 years old

  • dependent children over 21 years old

Your close family members can only apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if any of the following apply:

  • you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who got British citizenship after you came to the UK - this is called ‘naturalising’

  • you lived with your family member in another EU country while the UK was part of the EU

  • you were born in Northern Ireland 

Talk to an adviser if you’re in one of these situations.

If you’re an Irish citizen

If your family member wants to come and live in the UK, they’ll need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme or for Irish citizenship if they’re eligible. Check if your family member can get Irish citizenship on Citizens Information - this is an advice website run by the Irish government.

If your family member wants to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, you'll need to check if they're eligible.

If you were born in Northern Ireland

Your family members can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if all the following apply:

  • you have Irish or British citizenship - or both
  • when you were born, one of your parents had Irish or British citizenship - or an immigration status that let them live in the UK permanently
  • you started living in the UK by 31 December 2020

You can find out more about bringing you family to the UK if you were born in Northern Ireland on GOV.UK.

Before your family member comes to the UK

Before your family member comes to the UK, check:

  • if they can apply to come to the UK - this depends on their relationship to you

  • if they should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before they arrive - this depends on what citizenship they have and their immigration status

Check if your family member can apply to come to the UK 

Only some of you family members can apply - it depends on how you’re related to them. 

You should also check what evidence they’ll need to prove they’re related to you.

Children under 21 years old

If your child is under 21, they can apply for a family permit or to the EU Settlement Scheme. Your child includes your step-child, adopted child, grandchild and great-grandchild.

If your child was born after 31 December 2020, you can still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for them.

You can apply for your child or they can apply for themselves. You’ll need to prove how they’re related to you.

Proving your child’s relationship to you

If your child is an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you should use their birth or adoption certificate to prove their relationship to you. If the child is your grandchild or great-grandchild, you also need birth certificates that prove your relationship to their parent.

If your child is from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you should use their residence card to prove their identity. This means you don't have to prove their relationship to you because you proved it when you applied for the card.

If they don't have a residence card, you should use:

  • their birth certificate

  • their adoption certificate

  • their guardianship order - it’s important to get permission from the court that issued the order before you share it with the Home Office

  • a family permit

  • their birth certificate and your marriage or civil partnership certificate - if they’re your step-child

  • birth certificates that prove your relationship to their parent - if you’re their grandparent or great-grandparent

If you care for a child - for example, a foster child or a niece or nephew - the deadline for them to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021. They can make a late application to the scheme if both: 

  • they have a residence card as an extended family member
  • they applied for the card by 31 December 2020

Check if your child has British citizenship

Your child might already be a British citizen if  they were born in the UK or they have a British parent. You can check if your child is already a British citizen.

If your child is already a British citizen, you can apply for a British passport for them on GOV.UK.

Children over 21 years old

They can only apply for a family permit or to the EU Settlement Scheme if they're dependent on you. Your child must have become dependent on you before 1 January 2021. 

This includes your step-child, adopted child, grandchild and great-grandchild.

Your child is dependent on you if they can't meet their basic needs without your financial support or care - they could be in full-time education, disabled or ill.

Your child will need to prove their relationship to you and prove they’re dependent on you. 

Proving their relationship to you

Your child can prove their relationship to you using:

  • their birth or adoption certificate

  • their guardianship order

  • a residence card

  • a family permit

If the child is your step-child, they’ll need their birth certificate and your marriage or civil partnership certificate.

If they’re your grandchild or great-grandchild, they’ll need birth certificates proving your relationship to their parents and grandparents.

Proving they're dependent on you

If your child got a residence card as a dependent child, they don’t need to prove they’re dependent on you again.

If your child doesn’t have a residence card, they’ll need to prove they depend on you to pay for their basic needs. 

The best way to prove your child is dependent on you is to prove you were sending money to them outside the UK. They could use bank statements showing:

  • rent or mortgage payments for their home

  • regular payments you make to them - for example, school or college fees

  • payments to meet their medical needs

They can use their bank statements or yours.

If your child is disabled or ill, they also need to prove this is why they depend on you. The best way to prove this is with a letter from a hospital or your family doctor.

Husbands, wives and civil partners

Your husband, wife or civil partner can apply for a family permit or to the EU Settlement Scheme if either:

  • you got married or formed a civil partnership by 31 December 2020

  • you had lived together for at least 2 years by 31 December 2020

They’ll need to prove their relationship with you. They can do this using:

  • a residence card

  • a residence card inside their passport - if they applied for it based on your relationship

  • a family permit

  • your marriage or civil partnership certificate 

  • a registration certificate - if they applied for it based on your relationship

Your partner can still use a registration certificate to prove their relationship with you, even if it’s not valid anymore.

Long-term partners

Your long-term partner can apply for a family permit or to the EU Settlement Scheme if either:

  • you had lived together for at least 2 years by 31 December 2020

  • there’s evidence you’re in a long-term relationship - for example, you had a child together by 31 December 2020

Your partner will need to prove their relationship with you. They can do this using a residence card or a family permit.

If they don’t have a residence card or a family permit, they can use things like:

  • joint bank statements

  • joint utility bills

  • joint mortgage statements or tenancy agreements

  • your child’s birth certificate

Parents and grandparents

Your parents and grandparents can apply for a family permit or to the EU Settlement Scheme if they're dependent on you.

Your parents and grandparents include adoptive parents and great-grandparents, and those of your husband, wife or civil partner.

Your parents and grandparents will need to prove their relationship to you. They can do this using:

  • a residence card

  • a family permit

  • your birth certificate or adoption certificate - if they're your parent

  • birth or adoption certificates for you and a parent - if they're your grandparent

  • birth or adoption certificates for you, a parent and grandparent - if they're your great-grandparent

If they're a family member of your husband, wife or civil partner, they also need to show proof of this relationship - for example your marriage certificate.

You’ll also need to prove your parent is dependent on you because of their age or if they have a disability or illness. You can prove this by using:

  • evidence they’re financially dependent on you - for example, bank statements showing money you’ve sent them

  • evidence they depend on you for care or support - for example, a letter from their doctor

Brothers, sisters and other family members

Your other extended family members can’t usually apply to join you in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme - the deadline for them to apply was 30 June 2021.

If they have a residence card or family permit, they might be able to make a late application to the scheme - they must have applied for the card or permit by 31 December 2020. Your family member can check if they can make a late application.

Your other family members are your:

  • brothers or sisters

  • aunts or uncles

  • nephews or nieces

  • cousins

If your brother or sister is dependent on you

They might be able to get a visa to live in the UK if they’re dependent on you because of their age or if they have a disability or illness. They can only apply for a visa if you have either:

  • settled status 

  • pre-settled status and you arrived in the UK by 31 December 2020.

These visas are expensive and difficult to get - if your brother or sister is thinking of applying for one, talk to an adviser.

You can find out more about visas for dependent adult relatives on GOV.UK.

Check how your family member should apply 

How your family member should apply depends on what citizenship they have and their immigration status.

If your family member is an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen

Your family member should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme as a family member before they come to the UK.

When they’ve got pre-settled or settled status, they can come and live in the UK.

Find out more about applying to the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK on GOV.UK.

If your family member can’t use the app to apply to the scheme, they can apply for a family permit instead. If they come to the UK on a family permit, they can apply to the scheme when they arrive. Your family member can apply for a family permit on GOV.UK.

If your family member already has a valid visa, they can come to the UK on their visa and apply to the scheme when they arrive.

If your family member is a citizen of a country outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland

How your family member should apply depends on if they have a residence card.

If your family member has a residence card

If their residence card is valid, they should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme as a family member before they come to the UK.

When they’ve got pre-settled or settled status, they can come and live in the UK.

Find out more about applying to the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK on GOV.UK.

If your family member comes to the UK before they apply

It might be hard for your family member to enter the UK using their residence card. This is why it’s a good idea for them to get pre-settled or settled status before they arrive. 

If your family member does enter the UK using their residence card, they must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme within 28 days of arriving.

If your family member's residence card has expired

Your family member can't apply to the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK if they don't have a valid residence card. 

If your family member is in the situation they should apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit on GOV.UK. They can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme when they arrive in the UK.

If your family member doesn’t have a residence card

Your family member usually needs to get an EU Settlement Scheme family permit to come to the UK. They don’t need a permit if they already have a valid family, work or student visa.

They need to be outside the UK to apply for the permit. It’s free to apply for the permit. 

Your family member can only apply for the permit if you have pre-settled or settled status.

Applying for a family permit

When your family member applies for the permit, they must include English translations of any documents that are in another language.

Your family member can apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit on GOV.UK.

Applying to the EU Settlement Scheme

Your family member must apply for pre-settled or settled status within 3 months of arriving in the UK.

Their family permit is valid for 4 months. If the permit expires before they get a decision on their EU Settlement Scheme application, they can use their application certificate to prove their rights in the UK.

Your family member will usually get their certificate by email after they apply for pre-settled or settled status. They’ll get the certificate by post if they applied on a paper form.

When your family member applies

When your family member applies, they’ll need to give your name. They’ll also need to give the application number you got when you applied for pre-settled or settled status. 

Your application number is 16 digits long. You can find it on your:

  • decision letter - if you’ve already got pre-settled or settled status

  • application certificate - this would have been emailed to you when you applied

You can check what your family member needs to do to apply for pre-settled or settled status.

If your family member isn’t eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme

They can only live in the UK if they can get a work, study or family visa. You can check if your family member can get a visa on GOV.UK.

Your family member can visit the UK for up to 6 months. 

If your family member isn’t from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, they might need to pay for a visa to visit the UK. If your family member is in this situation, they’re known as a ‘visa national’. You can check if your family member is a visa national on GOV.UK.

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