Research obtained from forums and official government sites

 Surinder Singh Method for couples in which ONE is UK citizen and the OTHER is partner/spouse from non-EEU country (i.e. non-eea family member)


Important – see this post on new immigration rule (January 2014) – Transferring Centre of Life



1. Are you married? Yes – step 3, No – step 2

2. It is recommended to be married before undertaking the Surinder Singh method. See below:

Dear Mr xxxxx

Thank you for your query.

I can confirm that the Surinder Singh route is open to all ‘direct’ family members of British citizens who come within reg 7(1)(a)-(c) of the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006, including:

• the spouse or civil partner of the EEA national (or British citizen in this context)

• descendants of the BC, or of their spouse or civil partner, who are either:

aged under 21, or dependent on the BC or on the BC’s spouse or civil partner

• dependent direct relatives in the ascending line [i.e. parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc] of the BC or of their spouse or civil partner

As durable partners are considered extended family members under regulation 8(5) and do not fall within the scope of regulation 7, they would not be eligible to qualify under the Surinder Singh route.

I hope this is helpful.

Kind regards,

European Operational Policy Team

Therefore, you should definitely get married or have a civil partnership before doing the Surinder Singh method.

Also see:

Provision is, however, made for unmarried partners and other relatives of the British citizen under the UK’s national legislation – namely, in Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules. We consider this to be compatible with both the Directive and the judgments of the CJEU.

As shown above, there may be a possibility of undertaking the SS route without being married, but it may cause a hindrance to the process.


You can get married abroad or in the UK on a 6 month marriage visitor visa.

i.       Helpful information:

ii.      Relevant forms:

3. Choose another Member State of the EEA in which to work or become self-employed – either way paying taxes. NB – the non-EEA family member is entitled to work also, but it is the EEA citizen’s work period that gets considered for the EEA family permit to enter the UK.


a. Can we move to any European country, for example Ireland?

Yes, but make sure you research any country you decide to choose, for advice about moving to Ireland, read here:

  • You need to research whether your wife would need any kind of permission to move to Ireland for settlement as your non-EEA spouse. The need (or not) for this permission would likely vary from country to country, and would likely be free. But it still needs careful research.[i]
  • The specifics of what she needs to settle with you depend on the country you choose. As the intention is for both of you to ‘settle’ in that country while you work there, you need to check the regulations for non-EEA citizens married or partnered with EU citizens to live with them in that individual country. You will not need anything, but she probably will.[ii]

b. Do I need to find work before moving to the EU country?

No, you can settle in the EU country and sort out relevant forms so you can begin work there – as long as your partner lives with you there while you are working for 6 months.

Also he/she does not need to find work – the EEA family permit does not require any evidence of your partner’s work in the EU country. However, they may wish to work anyway, which is fine.

c. Should my spouse/partner apply for a work visa while in the EEA Member State?

It depends on which country your partner is from

  • My husband is South African so he didn’t need a visa to enter Ireland. Below is a list of countries that don’t need a visa. Schedule 1 countries don’t need a visa. A schedule list can be found here –…es/SINo417.pdfIf your spouse needs a visa to enter Ireland, someone on the site should be able to help you with the application process. [xviiii]

For information on applying for a visa for Ireland, see this page: (answers by member not2old – thanks!)

If your partner is from a country which doesn’t need a visa, then they do not need to apply for one.

  • No – don’t get any kind of visa… Your spouse can enter for free, and should do as that way they get more rights and fulfil the prerequisities for using Singh.[iii]

d. Can I live off savings instead of working while I’m there?


  • Going to school, living off savings or whatever other previous income or savings would not work. You must directly participate in work in the host EU country for this (not so clear) period of time. The non-EEA/EU spouse may or may not work; it’s NOT her exercising the treaty rights, and her activity is not the key to moving back to the UK under S. Singh. The EU permits & residence car are free and there are no income requirement thresholds.[iv]

e. How long should I be working for to qualify for a EEA family permit?

3-6 months – so after 3-6 months working in the EU country, apply for the EEA family permit.

  • I don’t think it’s necessarily set in stone, but the principle is that the UK citizen has to be exercising their treaty rights more than transiently, and it’s likely that anything less than six months could be considered transient and therefore wouldn’t count.[v]
  • Just for information the rules around the time spent in the EU are a bit vague, but given you do not need to show you are economically active until after you have been in the UK for 3 months, for defendants of EU nationals from other countries, would think at least 3 months would be required[vi]

f. What kind of work should I be doing and should it be full-time?

  • you only have to work 10-12 hours per week for 3 months and can then move over to the UK with no limitations – AngelaV  – (see her posts for some really useful help)

g. Can my spouse live in his/her home country while I work in another European country and then apply for an EEA family permit?


  • My research indicates this would not work. The whole point of the S Singh route is that your non-EEA partner lives with you in the other EEA country for the required minimum time (usually recommended to be 6 months) while you the EEA citizen works, then your partner applies for the EEA Family Permit and upon receiving it accompanies you to the UK. You need to do those steps together for the SS route to work properly.[vii]

h. Is my spouse/partner able to travel to other countries during this period?

Yes, but he/she cannot live elsewhere

  • He has to be resident with you while you are working. During that time he is of course free to travel and visit other countries (but can’t live elsewhere)[viii]

4. On arriving in the Member State of your choosing, you should acquire a registration certificate ( and then apply for a Residence Card as soon as possible.

The residence card is not imperative, your partner can still work, but it makes for applying for an EEA family permit easier (see below). Also, apply as soon as possible as it can take up to 6 months to process. Information about residence cards:

  • My understanding from my own research into this is that acquiring the residence card for living in the other EEA country makes the Singh path easier. Several posters in the past have ALSO noted that it makes getting a job in the other EEA country easier for the non-EEA spouse, because some employers won’t hire the non-EEA spouse/partner without the RC as proof of legal status to work. (This may vary by EEA country.)
    But yes, you are correct, the non-EEA family member is allowed to work even without the RC if residing (settling) with the EEA citizen who is exercising EU Treaty rights by working in the EEA country.[ix]

5.  After working in the Member State for 6 months (recommended) apply for the EA family permit.

i.      How to apply:

ii.      Forms:

iii.      Guidance notes:

iv.      Checklist for EEA Application:

6. Once successful, you can move into the UK. The EEA Family Permit would be issued for 6 months and allows unrestricted employment in the UK for that time. Your partner should start applying for residence (normally valid for 5 years) in the UK using this form:


a. Do we need to apply for an EEA family permit before entering the UK, or can we just apply while in the UK?

Yes, make sure you have the EEA family permit before boarding any flights back to the UK

  • As the relevant documents required for the Surinder Singh route are those from the other member state, it make sense to verify you have all the required documents before returning to the UK. Obtaining them later might be more difficult. Also, the local staff in the consulate can normally read documents in the local language so there is no need to translate them. [x]According to the law you could just turn up at the border with your marriage certificate, passports and Italian residence permits and the border agents would have to let you in. I saw a report this week from someone who successfully did that. But you have to drive or take the train, no airline will let you board under those circumstances.[xi]

b. How soon should we start applying for a residence card in the UK?

As soon as possible

  • So my Awful Warning is ‘Get yourselves to the UK and submit your EEA2 application before your family permit expires. There is no guarantee it would be renewed’.[xii]

c. Should I start applying for residence in the UK or will my partner be fine to start working?

Apply for a residence card in the UK as soon as possible, just to make everything easier, e.g. finding work

  • It is advisable for the family member to apply for a Residence Card using form EEA2. The form has a dedicated section for Surinder Singh cases. You will need to provide (again) evidence of the British national employment in the other member state and evidence of residence there. The application can be made any time once you return.[xiii]
  • While theoretically you are entitled to work on family permit, most employers want to see clear documentary evidence for it (family permit says nothing about working, whereas residence card does – ‘Employment and business activities permitted’. All you can do is to point out the relevant sections on UKBA site, or ask them to phone Employers’ Helpline for clarification. You may find that all this is of no avail and you won’t get a job confirmed until you have residence card or at least certificate of application showing the right to work.[xiv]

d. Does my partner need to be working before applying for the EEA2?


  • No. Under Surinder Singh, your UK partner doesn’t need a job in UK, so you can apply for residence card straight after arrival, and it should be issued, though there is a wait time of up to 6 months, sometimes longer, because of backlog of applications. Hopefully you get your certificate of application soon after, which can state you are allowed to work.[xv]

e. What do I do while waiting for an EEA2?

  • The European casework department endeavours to issue certificates of application within 10 days of receipt of a valid application where possible. I can confirm that there is currently no reported delay in issuing certificate of applications where valid applications are received. If you have waited longer than 10 days for a certificate of application to be issued, please contact the Immigration Enquiry Bureau on 0870 606 7766. A certificate of application confirms the applicant’s entitlement to seek employment, and is valid for a period of six months.[xvi]

Other reading:

7. After 5 years of residing in the UK your partner can then apply for permanent residence using this form:


  • After 5 years of residence, an application for Confirmation of PR status using form EEA4 can be applied for. Again, the same evidence from the other member state is required. Once a PR status has been obtained (after 5 years of residence), the non-EEA national can apply for British citizenship as a spouse of BC.

Recommended reading:

Other notes:

  • The EEA family permit to enter the UK initially used to cost approx 5GBP for postage. A residency permit in another EEA country cannot cost more than a residency permit / ID card for a local. An EEA-permit visa for initial entry to the other EEA country must be free (but they can charge for postage). The EEA family permit int he UK is also free (plus postage). Plus the cost of copying all the documents, going to the various application centers (the UK EEA permit requires biometrics) etc. Still compared to the UK visa it’s as close to free as you will get.[xvii]
  • This route is not a loophole, it’s a perfectly legal route that has been tested in court.[xviii]


77 Comment(s)

  1. Gailc

    July 3, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    All well and good, but, what if you just want to go back to live in your native country, are already retired and receiving SS ( and will continue to do so no matter where you live) from the country you are currently living in – do you still have to find a job? Last I looked – it isn’t easy for retirees to find a job these days – anywhere!
    People in this position – like us – seem to have been forgotten.

    • robynxo

      July 4, 2013 at 4:23 am

      Hi there, thanks for your comment. Are you currently unable to work due to any physical issues? If not I don’t think you should see your age/situation as a problem. For the Surinder Singh method to be successful, you can even have a part-time job if you want. You just have to be working for 6 months recommended. My dad’s friend is retired but works as a postman a couple of mornings a week, and my nan has done part-time bar work at a theatre. What is your work experience? I’m not sure if my answers will help you, I’m not very knowledgeable about the whole method other than the information on this blog which I gained from members of forums such as and, post a thread on there or I will if you like? Let me know. I’m sure there will be some helpful answers for your situation.

      It took me ages to find the information for my situation – there isn’t much coverage on the internet at the moment for Surinder Singh – I think it’s because this is all relatively new since July 2012 visa change, so not many people have done this.

  2. Gailc

    July 4, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    ok – thanks – I do belong to the forum and viewed an posted comments there.
    At the moment I know someone who is hoping to go the Surinder Singh route in a couple of years working as a carer for an elderly aunt.
    Thanks again 🙂

  3. Indigo

    September 23, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    So… I go to USA marry my man, then take him to a EU country… do I need to find work first? So would he fly in when I have found employment? And…. we can’t fly back into the UK? Did I read that correctly? Airlines wouldn’t permit? Sorry…. at what point do we apply for a family permit and residence card?

    • robynxo

      September 23, 2013 at 10:10 pm

      Hi Indigo,

      1. How long have you been with your partner for? Have you any evidence of living together? Other than that yes getting married would probably be easiest.
      2. So firstly you go to an EU country, you can find a job whenever, but you must show that you have worked for 3 – 6 months (6 months preferably) in a EU country. He can join you at any time before you find work, but must be living with you in the EU country while you are working there.
      3. You can fly into the UK – that paragraph meant you should have all your family permit documents sorted before you enter the UK. Apply for a family permit after working in the EU country for 6 months. Apply for the residence card in the UK as soon as possible on entering the UK, just to be safe. It will be the EEA2 forms you’ll need.

      Any other questions please feel free, I would love to help 🙂 Also, I’ve updated the page with your questions hopefully answered 🙂

  4. Indigo

    September 26, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Hi Robynxo ..

    Thank you so much for the clarity and wonderful website.

    I have been with my partner for 9 months (by the time we may be able to do this route, it will have been over a year and a half). We haven’t lived together as he only has 2 weeks holiday (which he used to come to UK), and currently as I have a dependant child still, I cannot go to US… aside from we wouldn’t be able to live together anyway as visa wouldn’t permit it. We have lots of evidence of relationship though… we’ve written songs together and copyrighted them in US, Skype every day for anything from 1 to 7 hrs! and have literally thousands of emails.

    Finding a job and accommodation plus a country that will allow my US citizen husband (we will marry in US) to stay seems almost impossible, but seems to be the only route we can take to be together.

    Is it as easy as that to return to the UK after doing what is needed, or will a solictor be needed?

    Once again, thanks for your wonderful help 🙂

    • robynxo

      October 5, 2013 at 3:28 am

      Hi there Indigo,

      Sadly, you will not qualify for the Surinder Singh method because you haven’t lived together long enough, so marriage/civil partnership will be the only option. It is best to get married/a civil partnership even if you have been living together for over 2 years anyway – I am in this situation – apparently living together for 2 years does not guarantee good results.

      Try joining this facebook group: EU FREE MOVEMENT DIRECTIVE/2004/38/C (you have to request to join), it is very helpful and where there is a will, there is a way, so good luck! A solicitor won’t be needed if you fulfill all the requirements for Surinder Singh.

  5. wendy ewell

    December 31, 2013 at 1:21 am

    Hi There,
    This is really helpful information and I have learned at lot from reading all the posts. I am a retired UK national,married 32 yrs to a (disabled) US citizen. He has expired INR and NIS #, We live in US. We have been offered a home in Ireland to house-sit for as long as we want, We don’t quite meet the financial requirement to UK with our retirement incomes. We think the SS might work for us if I could do a part time job or s/employed. My husband will need health care, Has anyone had experience with the Irish health system.
    He is registered with a doctor in UK, I also will see my doctor in the UK when we visit there. We are researching private healthcare.
    It is a big step for us as we are older and desperately need our UK families help, My husband is frail but is willing to try to get there for my sake. Like many caught up in the new rules, we pray SS will work for us.

    • robynxo

      January 5, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      Hi there Wendy,

      Do you have a UK family member who is available to work in an EU country while you live with them for 3-6 months? If it is not possible for you to work at all, this may be the only way.

      If you are available to work, you can work part-time. Is this possible?

      I am also in the process of having a look around some forums for you, a page I found is:

      “the obligation under surinder singh is that you must be a worker; either employed or self employed. Therefore, as a retired person, the only way they could qualify is to find work or set up a small business in order to fulfil their treaty rights.”

      • wendy ewell

        January 7, 2014 at 7:39 pm

        Thank you for responding, I am british and can look for a part time job in Ireland or the self employed option. We have the advantage of having a home to live in there. We will be housitters for some friends. We are hoping to go to England first, then on to Ireland. It is still worrying at my age,

      • robynxo

        January 8, 2014 at 2:32 am

        I understand it must be worrying for you, but glad you have a house sorted to stay in, that’s definitely a huge bonus. My main way of acquiring work when I have travelled is to join a few recruitment agencies and currently I am doing receptionist work. There is always a need for receptionist cover and just 2 days a week would satisfy the criteria. I hope to find out how you are getting on 🙂

  6. Gailc

    January 1, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    We are in the same boat – both retired and wanting to move home. Will be interested in response to your question.

    • wendy ewell

      January 4, 2014 at 11:59 pm

      Interesting that most of the posts in all the forums relate to younger people working, or looking for work. In our case we receive pensions from UK and US. Just not quite enough. If the income threshold is reduced we may make it into UK. We are planning to go to UK this year and then on to Ireland. Big risk at our age.

  7. pete hobson

    January 5, 2014 at 11:25 am

    DO you need need to give your irish 12A form in with your application and can you be refused if you forget to put in with your application

    • robynxo

      January 5, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      Hi Pete,

      Are you able to send it with a note attached to add it to your current application? As long as you have submitted sufficient evidence of employment and the other criteria required for Surinder Singh, it may not mean you are refused.

  8. Cathy Fieldhouse

    January 26, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Hi there,

    First of all, I really appreciate all the effort you’ve gone to putting this website together – it’s been a massive help to us so thank you 🙂

    My daughter has been living in the US with her (American) husband for the past 4 years but she now wants to move back to the UK via Ireland using the Surinder Singh route. Assuming they’re successful, what will my son-in-law’s status be when they have arrived back in the UK? I understand that he will be able to apply for permanent residence after he’s lived here for five years but will he be able to go back to the US to visit his family during that time, or will he have problems getting past immigration when he flies back into the UK?

    • robynxo

      June 12, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      So sorry for the super late reply, for some reason the email updates weren’t going to my main inbox. Her American husband – if he does the Surinder Singh method and gains a EU family permit – will be fine to leave and return freely. After 5 years of residing in the UK, he can apply for a permanent residency. Hope I’ve helped, and again sorry for the delay. Here is a useful website for your information too:

  9. zaphod

    May 7, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Hi all. I may be overlooking the obvious, but what actual documents are needed to enter the UK under Surinder Singh? A family permit? A residence permit? If passport and marriage certificate alone, I would imagine it to be impossible to get on the plane or to pass the UK border.

    I guess my question is, would we need to apply for anything at the British consulate or embassy in the member state ( in our case, Spain)? Who issues the family permit and from where? I understand that the member state, Spain, would issue the residence permit. Is that sufficient for entry to the UK? Sorry, I am rather confused.

    • robynxo

      June 12, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      A family permit – which is obtained through proving you have done the Surinder Singh route, i.e. residency in another country, working etc. and partner/marriage certificate. Have a look at this site:

      Also: “EEA family permits are available from any entry clearance issuing Posts (most embassies and consulates) outside the UK, and are issued for six months at a time. Where a family member wished to stay in the UK for more that six months he or she must apply for a residence card (or a Family member residence stamp in the first 12 months where the EEA national family member is a national of a newly joined member state for which transitional restriction on the freedom of movement of persons still apply).”

  10. K Web

    June 12, 2014 at 5:45 am

    I have been working and living in Italy for 9 months, full time and paid monthly. However, I have a British contract which means that I’m paying tax in the UK – even though I haven’t set foot in the UK for the 9 months.
    Do I have to be paying tax in Italy? Please help!

  11. K Web

    June 12, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Thanks for your reply, I’ve had a good look at that forum and from bits and pieces here and there it seems that it may all be be fine but not clear. Yes my wife (from South Korea) and I have been here together for 9 months and we both have permanent residency here in Italy. Actually, my wife has been paying Italian tax but that’s apparently irrelevant. I also have a European citizen certificate (issued by the local town hall) I had to get in order for my wife to get her residency. I’ll give it a go and let people know what happens.

    • robynxo

      June 30, 2014 at 10:44 pm

      From some posts I have been reading lately, I think it may be helpful that your wife has been paying Italian tax – it helps to prove you have transferred the ‘centre of your life’ there (a new immigration rule introduced in January 2014). I am optimistic about your situation, especially as you have permanent residency there. As long as you are ‘savvy’ and have the regulations to refer to when backing up your case, I think you have a strong chance.

    • K webster

      August 14, 2014 at 12:19 am

      Hey, just to give an update, my wife got the 6 month family permit and we are now in the UK, ready to apply for the 5 year one. We used the visa centre in Rome which took about 2 weeks to process the application.
      I submitted my monthly payslips which showed I paid tax in the UK, and my uk contract, which showed I was on a permanent placement in Italy. This seems good enough. It may have helped that my wife submitted her Italian tax code and payslips (she worked part time) but they didn’t give details. We also submitted things like our rent contract, post, bank letters to Italian address, photos, Italian residency ID cards…. A lot of things. If anyone has questions about doing this route via Italy just ask and I may just be able to help or point in the right direction, it’s been a stressful process for us but it didn’t need to be. Thank you very much to this website, it’s been very helpful to us.

      • robynxo

        August 17, 2014 at 12:57 am

        Wow that’s brilliant news, I am happy for you and your wife! 2 weeks isn’t long at all, glad they were efficient. You must feel relieved it’s all sorted now and you are in the UK. Thank you for updating us all and using this website in the first place, glad it was helpful.

      • K Web

        May 7, 2015 at 1:25 pm

        Just to give an update, my wife now has the 5 year permit… finally! It took the Home Office over 7 months to process the application. Thanks again for this website, it’s been a big help. Good luck to everyone else applying this way.

  12. precious1ne♥

    June 26, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I have only just been made aware of this route after 2 failed visitors visas for my boyfriend. Can someone clarify if this route only works for married spouses? Could you take this route unmarried but with a British born girlfriend and child?

    Any clarification would be much appreciated

  13. Daddio

    June 29, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Good stuff Robyn, really informative.

  14. John

    July 22, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Hi Robyn… I have a situation I am having difficulty finding resolution to and am hoping you can help. I am a UK citizen married to an American citizen, and we have one child of American citizenship. I have plans to travel for holidays and some business to the UK in the very near future and will be taking my family with me. There is a chance that I will be offered employment as a result of this trip. My wife and I have been living in EEA for over 6 years, and we applied for a resident permit (and have been granted paperwork proving this, but not an actual resident permit… due to bureaucracy), and I also have tax (translated), and health insurance records, etc. to prove my wife and I have been residents for this period… my question is will my wife be allowed into the UK at the airport if we don’t have a family visa? and what should I have to prove residency if asked to do so at the airport? also… if we decide to stay, can we apply for surinder singh clause family permit after we arrive? Although at this time, we are not planning to stay in UK, I would like to ensure that if that changes we are complying with the law in order to have no restrictions in regards to travel, possible employment for my wife, school for my daughter, and NHS rights as European residents? Any reply greatly appreciated as I am quite confused as to how to proceed, thanks and have a good day.

    • robynxo

      July 28, 2014 at 1:22 am

      Hi John, I will do my best to help you. I just need some clarification if possible, have you applied for a EEA family permit (see this page: Your wife should be eligible for the family permit if you prove your residency and that you have worked in the EEA. Also, you will need a family permit for your child too.

      The family permit is essentially a visa for entry clearance, which lasts for 6 months and also entitles the non-EEA holder to live and work.

      During these 6 months, your wife and child should then apply for a Residence Card in the UK (EEA2 form –

      You must apply for the family permit before trying to enter the UK.

      • John

        July 28, 2014 at 6:09 am

        Hi there, thanks for getting back to me… no I haven’t applied for family permits for my wife and daughter because at this time, we are only planning a short visit and they can travel under the visa waiver program being American. I guess what I need to know is, since we are going to the UK for holiday reasons really… on the very off chance I get a job and decide to stay… can we still apply for Surinder Singh if we decide we want to stay? It would be nice to get winter employment in UK because where we live it is only summer employment… but the nature of my business is restaurant consulting… so even if I am offered a position for a few months I would probably still want to go back home, UNLESS something really good comes of it, and my wife is happy there then we would want to stay. Hope this helps clarify a bit, thanks!

  15. John

    July 28, 2014 at 6:10 am

    Also… if we must get family permits do you know how long before they are issued? I am on a timeline at the moment and don’t want to change that if I can avoid it.

    • robynxo

      July 29, 2014 at 10:22 am

      Hi John,

      I think it would depend on the criteria of the American Visa. You may have to wait until this expires before you can apply for the family permit, so you may have to leave the country for re-applying. It usually takes 2-3 weeks to be issued a Family Permit, but you would have to check that with the place of issue.

      See this page:

      “EEA Family Permits – these are for non-EEA family members looking to move to the UK with the EEA national. This includes spouses, partners, same-sex partners, children and other dependants. This has to be applied for outside the UK – usually at the nearest UK Embassy or High Commission.”


    • K Web

      July 30, 2014 at 12:19 am

      I believe every visa centre is different but 2-3 weeks seems usual. I have just applied for a family permit in Rome, they said it will take up to 3 weeks (15 working days).

  16. Mat

    July 28, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    My American wife and I have been living in the USA for three years whilst I finished my degree and took care of our children but now we feel it is time to return home to the UK to help look after my elderly parents. Ireland would be our preferred country given the shared language and cultural similarities. Under the new European ruling would we be able to just find somewhere to rent and live off savings for three months, or is working mandatory? I am an accountancy graduate and I am finding it difficult to find temp work in Ireland. If I went the self employed route what would happen within the scope of my application if my business failed to generate any revenue within that three month period in Ireland? I would greatly appreciate any constructive suggestions?

    • robynxo

      August 17, 2014 at 1:02 am

      Hi Mat, sorry I didn’t reply to this sooner I hadn’t realised I hadn’t approved it so it wasn’t in my message box. To satisfy the Surinder Singh rules, you should be exercising treaty rights in another European country, so you should be working. You need to show that you are living in the EU country and aren’t living there ‘transiently’. I would browse through some forums and see what experiences others have had. There are also some good facebook groups where people have had success with the Surinder Singh route in Ireland and there may be people there who can give you tips in finding work. How much savings do you have? If you had a minimum wage job in the UK you could have 15,000 pounds in savings to be eligible for a UK visa?

  17. Manuel

    July 29, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    Quick question: after the 6 month duration of the EEA Family Permit expires, can it be renewed? Or is it then necessary to apply for a Residence Card (EEA2) in the UK?

    The reason I ask is that I will be studying an LL.M. in Aberdeen by the time that my spouse and I will be residing in the UK with the EEA Family Permit and therefore I won’t be able to provide documents for my wife to prove that “…your EEA family member is in work, self-employed or able to support you without applying for benefits”, as required by the British Government’s website. Or have I interpreted this provision incorrectly and student status exempts me from this requirement?

    If anyone could be so kind as to clarify wether my postgraduate student status would be an insormountable hurdle to our potential exercise of the Surinder Singh route, I would be most grateful!

    • Manuel

      July 29, 2014 at 10:49 pm

      I should add that the quoted requirement from the British Government’s website is under the “Documents you must provide” section when applying for a UK Residence Card.

    • K Web

      July 30, 2014 at 12:33 am

      In the UK, where are you planning to live, how you will you pay for it? How you pay living costs? Things like student loans, cash savings and any family support should be valid means to show you can support yourselves.

      I’m no authority on this, but I have been researching for a year for my wife and I haven’t seen anything about renewing the 6 month permit, but I did read of people using it, returning to Europe and then applying for another one later on (some people have had several 6 month permits over a few years).

      My wife is getting the 6 month permit now, then apply for the 5 year permit (with residency card) when we get to the UK. On applying for the 6 month permit, we have just finished working here in Italy but as yet no job to go to in the UK but do have cash savings. We have a flat in Edinburgh sorted and I’m actively looking for work now and I although I expect to find work but just in case I don’t, it is my understanding that as long as we can show we are able to support ourselves financially then it should be ok – this might mean moving in with my parents to save rent, and using cash savings.

      • robynxo

        August 3, 2014 at 7:19 am

        Hi K Web.

        You are correct. As the sponsor, you don’t need to be working for your wife to be accepted for an EEA2 (assuming you have successfully gotten a Family Permit after doing the Surinder Singh route). Thank you for your post – my blog only includes information I have gained from government websites and forums – I am no immigration specialist and when people as me complex questions I spend a lot of time doing research on the internet to try and find an answer for them. So your input is very much appreciated and has saved me some time!

  18. DALVIR

    August 1, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Hi my name is dalvir i m living in italy 10 years 2013 may married my wife she is british we have 1 baby 6 month i m working full time lorry driver my baby also british how can apply EE2 visa ( card) thanks

    • robynxo

      August 3, 2014 at 7:16 am

      Hi Dalvir. Is your wife working in Italy, or has she worked at least 6 months to a year while in Italy? If she has, you apply for a Family Permit. Once this has been accepted, you can travel to the UK and then apply for an EEA2 (residence card) which lasts for 5 years – then you can apply for permanent residency. Please read by blog for more details, I have included all the instructions there.

  19. Amy Lytle

    August 10, 2014 at 4:06 am

    Hi Robyn,

    I noticed a comment you made several months back and I was wondering if you could clarify for me….
    “Hi there Indigo,
    Sadly, you will not qualify for the Surinder Singh method because you haven’t lived together long enough, so marriage/civil partnership will be the only option. It is best to get married/a civil partnership even if you have been living together for over 2 years anyway – I am in this situation – apparently living together for 2 years does not guarantee good results.”

    I am a US citizen and my partner is British. We’ve been together for nearly two years now. I came and “lived” with her (on a 6 month tourist visa) for 6 months. She then came back to the US with me for the maximum allowed 90 days. We have visited each other for short periods of time since then. Sadly, she does not make the 18,600 required for my visa. We are getting married in New York City in October and are planning a move to Ireland in January for Surinder Singh purposes. So my first request is just for clarification; am I interpreting this incorrectly or is there some sort of time frame we should’ve been living together to use SS? Or should you have been living together for 2 years if you are trying the SS route and are NOT married beforehand? I’ve done a decent amount of research and I’ve never seen any time frame issue. This is obviously a bit of a terrifying thought as SS was our absolute last ditch effort for a life in the UK.
    Assuming that there is no time frame for cohabiting, we also happened to be a same sex couple. Should we anticipate any issues at the Irish border since same sex marriage is not legal there? Or will our US marriage be valid?

    Any help you can give me would be very appreciated!! Thank you!!! 🙂

    • robynxo

      August 11, 2014 at 12:44 am

      Hi Indigo,

      If you can prove you have been living together for 2 years (rent, utility bills, etc.) this is classed as a ‘durable relationship’ which is akin to marriage. Here is a link to the forms for the family permit

      And a quote from those forms:

      If Unmarried partner
      – You currently live in a marriage-like
      relationship with your partner without being legally married.
      Other than spouse, civil partner or children under 21, ALL family
      members must provide documentary evidence that they are
      dependent on the EEA National or are part of the EEA National’s
      Unmarried partners must provide evidence that they have been in
      a relationship like a marriage for at least two years.

      Seeing as you are getting married in October, all you need to provide is your marriage certificate. Also – how much is your partner earning (if you don’t mind me asking) I am hoping to get a UK visa for my partner in a couple of years – If you earn below the 18600 threshold – you can make up the rest of the shortfall in savings (2.5 x shortfall), so if you were earning 12,500 pounds … you would need 15250 pounds in savings and you are eligible for the visa. Do you have much in savings? If you need more advice in this let me know and I can help research on the internet.

      For your last question: “Assuming that there is no time frame for cohabiting, we also happened to be a same sex couple. Should we anticipate any issues at the Irish border since same sex marriage is not legal there? Or will our US marriage be valid?” I will have a look around on the internet, but I do not think this is an issue. I think same-sex marriage is counted as a civil partnership in Ireland, or you may have to register a civil partnership in Ireland. I will try and find some answers.

  20. michael

    August 13, 2014 at 7:18 am

    HI there

    i really need your help i am a British citizen and my girlfriend is American i need more info on what my next steps is to help get my girlfriend to live with me in the UK.

    Do i just move to a eu country with my girlfriend and i work for 3 months then apply for family permit please reply asap (URGENT)

    • robynxo

      August 13, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      Hi Michael,

      Please read the whole blog for all the steps, it’s all there included 🙂 3 months may not be long enough, you have to show you have ‘transferred the centre of your life’ there. I am not an immigration specialist, I just compile all the research I’ve found. Once you’ve read my blog and have any further specific questions, let me know and I will try to help you.

  21. Jeep

    August 18, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Hi, I’m British citizen live with my husband and 3 kids, my mum 61years old live in Thailand alone. It’s really extreme hard to apply Independent visa for taking my mum to stay with me in UK as we still get help from housing benefit and visa for her might be refuse. So my mum have to come in UK by family visitor stay 6 months and back to stay in Thailand more than 6 months before apply visa to come back again. It’s be like this for more than 5 year. If I went out country to get right to be EEA and is that will make my mum to come in to stay in UK with me easy? And during the time i spend outside UK does she have to stay with me or she can still stay in Thailand? Thank you very much.

    • robynxo

      September 7, 2014 at 8:48 pm

      Hi Jeep,

      Yes you can live outside the UK in a European country – but your mother has to live with you during this time too, and you will need to prove this with bills, rental agreement etc. It may or may not be easy but it’s definitely an option for you.

  22. Murray

    August 19, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Hi robynxo thnx for a great website, its a great help…can you answer this question for me…im british so if i moved to an EEA country with my non EEA wife and i set up a self employed business there and stayed there for say 1 year to prove (aswell as other things) that i have met the “transfering centre of life” bit, can you then tell me is there a minimum income i would have to show that i made with my self – employed business there a month (or a year)…..or not?

    • robynxo

      September 7, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      Hi Murray,

      It would depend on the country you are staying in – they may have their own specific requirements for you and your family member to live there. See the following:

      you have been ECONOMICALLY ACTIVE in another EU/EEA country – so working or self-employed. Part-time is fine. There is no specification of income or how long for, although the EU country may require a minimum income before they allow your non-EU family member to stay there with you to ensure you won’t just be on benefits there – See more at:

      So you will need to research the European country you are looking to do the Surinder Singh in.

  23. Zap

    September 1, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I’m confused by the reference to clearance issuance posts. Surely if you have a family member card issued by, say, Ireland or Spain, then this is enough to travel to and reside in the UK? Particularly in the case of the UK, which has an open border with the UK. I can envisage that trying to get clearance from a UK embassy or consulate would be met with endless delays and refusals.

    • robynxo

      September 8, 2014 at 12:57 am

      Hi Zap,

      Do you mean that if you have a EEA family permit it should be easy to enter the UK? As long as you have all the correct documentation and can prove your marriage and family permit it should be straight forward.

  24. Zap

    September 1, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Sorry, particularly in the case of IRELAND.

  25. Joy Buchanan

    September 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    For further information,it IS possible for a UK citizen to marry a non EEA citizen in the UK on a tourist visa,as long as they did not come to the UK with the express intention of marriage(for which they would need a marriage visa)as long as the marriage is applied for at one of the 77designated registry offices in the UK…
    I hope this information helps someone else!!

    • robynxo

      September 8, 2014 at 12:56 am

      Hi there Joy, do you have evidence of this? I read here:

      You can’t:

      take paid or unpaid work
      live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits
      marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership
      get private medical treatment
      get public funds

      And that is from

  26. jamal

    September 5, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    hello, i have one question i will be really thankful if u help, im a british citizen married a pakistani girl, we got married in uk she was on student visa there Her student visa expired in may since then we are living together in pakistan , can we go back to uk using a surinder singh route if i will travel with her to ireland will she get a visa?????

    • robynxo

      September 8, 2014 at 12:53 am

      Yes Jamal, just make sure you follow all the rules of Surinder Singh, shown on this page. Good luck to you! Another alternative is if you save up money and get a job in the UK. If you had a minimum wage job in the UK and savings of around 15,000pounds, you can apply for a visa. But the Surinder Singh may be easier and a good option for you.

  27. cmyaseen

    September 10, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Please advice me on this, me and my wife are British citizen, I am planing to move to Ireland to bring my parents permanently in UK, my question is,

    Currently I am working in London, is that possible if I move to Dublin for 4 to 5 months and work from there (through on line) for my UK employer and Pay tax in UK and then apply for parents as my dependent (SS Route).

    My wife and son will be moving with me as well to show that the whole family has moved over there.

    Please advice.

    • robynxo

      September 10, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      Hi cmyaseen,

      I found an answer on this page:

      It’s quite simple: you need to register with the local tax authorities as a self-employed whatever you wish to call yourself, and pay tax on your income. Just as any self-employed person would do in any location in the world. If you are ordinarily resident in Austria you are, in any case, liable to tax on your overseas income even if it is not remitted in that location. If you don’t register as self-employed, your income will not be classed as an economic treaty right; merely as income from non-employed sources which would not qualify for Singh.

      Even if you are not self-employed, you need to register with tax authorities in order to pay tax on your income in Ireland.

      Here is a very useful page with information about doing the Surinder Singh in Ireland:

      • cmyaseen

        September 11, 2014 at 9:20 am

        Thanks Robynxo for your quick reply.

        I ve visited the link as well, so mean I will need to register as self employed in Ireland and will need to pay tax in Ireland as well on my income earned in UK where I am also paying tax in UK and the salary is being transfer in my UK personal bank account.

        Other than that I can also do weekend job for up to 16 hours and can pay tax on that as well in Ireland by doing that I hope the case will be more strong.

        And The payslips that I will need to submit for FP in Ireland will be from my UK employer with UK address on them….

        Please clear me if I am wrong, Many thanks for your advice.

  28. cmyaseen

    September 11, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Thanks Robynxo for your quick reply.

    I ve visited the link as well, so mean I will need to register as self employed in Ireland and will need to pay tax in Ireland as well on my income earned in UK where I am also paying tax in UK and the salary is being transfer in my UK personal bank account.

    Other than that I can also do weekend job for up to 16 hours and can pay tax on that as well in Ireland by doing that I hope the case will be more strong.

    And The payslips that I will need to submit for FP in Ireland will be from my UK employer with UK address on them….

    Please clear me if I am wrong, Many thanks for your advice.

    • robynxo

      September 11, 2014 at 8:46 pm

      Hi cmyaseen,

      Sorry I didn’t put the other link I also found:

      There are a lot of people who have done the Surinder Singh route in Ireland so there will be blogs all over the internet which you can use to help you.

      You seem like you are very dedicated and willing to put the effort into doing this route successfully. Just keep all documents and proofs, and try and show you are ‘transferring your life’ to Ireland – register with a doctor, join some groups maybe – is a fun way to meet people doing different activities.

      Your parents need to be living with you during this time too, is that possible for you?

      Many thanks,

      • cmyaseen

        September 12, 2014 at 10:24 am

        Hi Robynxo,
        The link you shared is very useful, thanks for sharing that. I have gone through that it helped me a lot.

        Yeah I am willing to put all my efforts to bring my parents in UK, they are old, dependent on me and require full time caring, there is no other way to bring them here, UK rules are very complicated and difficult.

        My parents come to me in UK every year on visit visa, now my plan is that they will come to me in UK in december and then they will go with me to Ireland, will live there with me for 3 to 4 months and then will come back to UK on FP visa. I will take my wife and 3.5 years old son with me as well to strength our case.

        My office can give me the option to work from Ireland through online or I can also take unpaid parental leaves of up to 4 months, that is why I am exploring both option whatever can work.

        thanks for your very useful information.

  29. GandM

    September 14, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    First may i first say thank you for this excellent info page.

    My wife lives in the Philippines and is a filipino national.
    I live in the UK and I am a British national. I plan to undertake the.SS route and live and work in Ireland under the freedom of movement.etc etc.

    Q. 1. Do i travel to my wife in the Philippines and than apply for her Irish visa to Ireland and travel with her to Ireland?

    2. She applies in the Philippines to the Irish Embassy in Manila for a visa to join me Ireland?

    3. She applies for a UK family vistors visa for herself to travel to me in the UK. And Thereafter while in the UK she applies to the Irish Embassy in UK for her and me to travel together to Ireland as per freedom of movement etc etc?

    Once again thank you for all your effort and care in these matters. It really helps familes reunite.

    • robynxo

      September 17, 2014 at 1:07 am

      Hi GandM, I’m really glad you find this page helpful. When I first started researching this process, I found answers all over the internet, so I thought it might be helpful for other people if I gather them all into one place, as it can take hours of searching to find what you’re looking for.

      I think the best information for your situation is on this page:

      Basically, it says that your wife can apply for an Irish visa from the Phillippines and join you in Ireland – she just needs to have proof of marriage, and a copy of your passport, and her passport with 2 passport photos to apply for the visa. You can meet her in Ireland, but it is advised to have your cell phone ready in case the border officials want to contact you to confirm the situation. The link above gives more specific details so have a look on that page too.

      You seem quite well informed of the process already so that definitely will help, wish you both all the best of luck!

      • GandM

        September 17, 2014 at 8:57 pm

        Thank you for the guidance and info on this aspect of the SS route.
        It has been very useful and i’m sure others will find it helpful.

        Kind regards

        G and M

  30. David ASHBY

    September 17, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Hi there,

    Thank you for providing all the documentation and making this as simple as possible.

    We heard about this route quite some time ago so we are pretty much ready to apply now.

    The only think i could not figure out was do we send in the application or do we apply at the boarder?

    Thank you


    • robynxo

      September 17, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      Hi David,

      You should obtain the EEA family permit before boarding any flights back to the UK (once you have worked in another EU state with your non-EEA family member living with you)

      See here:

      Hope I’ve answered you properly, wasn’t sure if you’ve exercised your treaty rights yet or not (worked in another EU country). Let me know if I can help any further,


      • David ASHBY

        October 6, 2014 at 2:55 pm

        Hi Robyn,

        Thank you for helping to make this process so easy.

        So after only working in Ireland for only 4 months my girlfriend was approved for her EAA permit.

        We didn’t realize just how fast the process would be and applied maybe a little to early.

        We only have until march 15th as an expiry date but we are not sure if we would be able to save enough money to up and leave our jobs and start a new life again back in the UK.

        I just have a couple more question if i may.

        1 is it possible to apply for her resident card from ireland?

        2 what happened with the visa if it expires and we have not yet applied for her resident permit?or is it possible to extend?

        Many thanks again for your help.

        David A

  31. Barza

    October 24, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Hi there,

    First of all I would like to thank you for that Web, it really helped us a lot!

    I’ve got few questions I really appreciate if you answer me as soon as you can?!

    – We are currently living in Ireland and we would like to use SS route to go back to UK, I was a failed asylum seeker before we came to Ireland, and still have not got Visa but I relied on free movement of EU national, which I think it makes legal, am I still be eligible for EU family permit even though I was a failed asylum seeker from UK?
    – or I have to wait to get my Recidence Card from Ireland then use SS route?

    – we have got the following decuments ready:-
    – tenancy agreement
    -full time job contract &14 weeks worth Payslips
    -three months worth bills in Our both names
    -library membership
    -few references from friends
    -banks statements
    – UK phone bills addressed to our address in Ireland
    – UK JOIN account
    Have we missed any other decuments before we apply for EU family permit?

    Many Thanks

  32. Griselda

    October 28, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    My husband is living and working in the UK on an ancestral visa. Are we able to use the Surinder Singh method on his current visa or not. I am in Zimbabwe with 2 kids

  33. Dean

    November 19, 2014 at 5:25 am

    Hello. I am a British citizen and I have been working in Barcelona, Spain for almost 3 months. My South Korean wife will soon be applying for the Family Permit. Do we both have to travel to Madrid to apply for it? Can documents be mailed? states that applications must be made online. If so, how do I present all of my documents and passports?

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