If you entered the UK on a spouse visa or unmarried partner visa of an EEA national but your marriage or relationship has broken down, you might be worried about how you can stay in the UK. Our team are specialists at assisting our clients through the Retained Right of Residence application process.

Non-EEA nationals who have resided in the UK as the civil partner or spouse of an EEA national may be allowed to remain in the UK after their relationship comes to an end by obtaining an EEA Family permit, if they make a successful retained rights of residence application.

Although they gain their residence rights from their partner, the breakdown of the relationship itself does not automatically lead to a non-EEA national losing their right to reside in the UK as they are still a family member of the EEA national.

However, once the marriage or civil partnership is legally terminated, the non-EEA national ceases to be a family member of their EEA (ex)spouse or partner and will have to apply for a retained right of residence if they wish to remain in the UK without breaching UK immigration rules.

If you are a victim of domestic violence then you may also be eligible to apply for retained right of residence on these grounds.
To successfully apply for this route there are certain requirements you must meet. Our experts will discuss your situation and advise you on the best way forward.

What is an EU Family Permit

Retained Rights of Residence Requirements

The following people are eligible to apply:

It must be proven with evidence that the marriage or civil partnership to the EEA national has ended. The marriage/partnership will be considered terminated on the date the respective certificate was issued.

Once the non-EEA national has ceased to be a family member of the qualified person on the termination of their marriage or civil partnership they may retain a right of residence by applying for an EEA family permit if all of the following criteria are met:

  • The non-EEA national must prove that their ex-partner had a permanent right of residence in the UK or was a ‘qualified person’ (a worker, student, self-employed person, self-sufficient person or someone looking for work) in the UK.
  • The marriage/civil partnership must have lasted at least 3 years prior to the initiation of proceedings for its termination.
  • The parties must have resided in the UK for at least 1 year during its duration.
  • The non-EEA national must have been in the UK on the date the divorce or termination of the civil partnership was finalised.
  • A non-EEA national may also retain their right of residence in the following circumstances:
  • If the non-EEA national has custody of a child of the qualified person
  • If the non-EEA national has a right of access to a child of the qualified person that is below the age of 18
  • If the non-EEA national’s continued right of residence in the UK is warranted by particularly difficult circumstances e.g domestic violence.

A non-EEA national may also retain their right of residence in the following circumstances:

  • If the non-EEA national has custody of a child of the qualified person
  • If the non-EEA national has a right of access to a child of the qualified person that is below the age of 18
  • If the non-EEA national’s continued right of residence in the UK is warranted by particularly difficult circumstances e.g domestic violence

Processing Times

Time Limits

In order to legally continue to stay in the UK following a split from your partner you must apply for your own individual right to remain in the country. This is because you no longer can remain as an EEA national’s family member, since your relationship or marriage has ended, and you are no longer together.

There is no official time limit in which you must apply for retained right of residence, however, it is in your best interests to seek legal advice and to do it as soon as possible.

If you do not apply, you technically have no legal right to stay in the UK and potentially face the risk of deportation.

For more specific information based on your individual circumstances then call our immigration team today. They can provide you with specific details and a required document list that is tailored to you.

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