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.
European Operational Policy Team
Therefore, you should definitely get married or have a civil partnership before doing the Surinder Singh method.
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: http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=804420&page=2
- 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 – http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/SINo4…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:
http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=810369 (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 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2006/1003/regulation/16/made) 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: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2006/1003/regulation/17/made
- 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:
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: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/eea/eea21.pdf
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]
7. After 5 years of residing in the UK your partner can then apply for permanent residence using this form: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/eea/eea41.pdf
- 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.
- 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]