Apply for a UK residence card

You may be able to apply for a UK residence card if you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and you’re the family member, or extended family member, of an EEA national.

You don’t need to apply for a residence card as a family member but it can:

help you re-enter the country more quickly and easily if you travel abroad
show employers you’re allowed to work in the UK
help prove you qualify for certain benefits and services
You must apply for a residence card or have a valid EEA family permit if you’re an extended family member.

You should instead apply for a derivative right of residence card if you’re the carer of an EEA citizen, the carer’s child, or the child of a former EEA worker and currently in education.

How long it lasts for
A residence card can last up to 5 years.

Eligibility

You can apply for a residence card if you’re both:

from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)
the family member, or extended family member, of an EEA national who is a permanent resident or ‘qualified person’
Whether you’re a family member or an extended family member affects the form you use when you apply.

You may also be eligible for a residence card if you have a ‘retained right of residence’ or apply as a ‘Surinder Singh’ case.

Qualified persons
A qualified person is someone who is in the UK and one of the following applies:

they’re working
they’re self-employed
they’re self-sufficient
they’re studying
they’re looking for work (only if they meet certain conditions)
Family members of EEA citizens
You can apply as a direct family member if you’re related to the EEA national as:

their spouse or civil partner
their (or their spouse or civil partner’s) child or grandchild who is under 21 or a dependant
their (or their spouse or civil partner’s) dependent parent or grandparent
If the EEA national is a student, you can only qualify as their family member if you’re:

their spouse or civil partner
their (or their spouse or civil partner’s) dependent child
Other relatives of students must qualify as extended family members.

Read more about direct family members of EEA nationals.

Extended family members

You can apply as an extended family member if you’re either:

the unmarried partner of the EEA national and you’re in a lasting relationship with them that’s similar to a marriage or civil partnership
a relative of the EEA national (or of their spouse or civil partner) but you don’t qualify as their family member
Relatives include brothers or sisters, aunts or uncles, nephews or nieces and cousins. Relatives can also include grandchildren, parents and grandparents if the EEA national only has the right to reside as a student.

As well as being a relative of the EEA national, one of the following must be true:

you were dependent on the EEA national before coming to the UK, and you’re still dependant on them while in the UK
you were dependant on a member of the EEA national’s household before coming to the UK, and you’re still dependant on them while in the UK
you need the personal care of the EEA national (or of their spouse or civil partner) on serious health grounds
Extended family members must have a valid EEA permit or residence card to stay in the UK.

Your application is considered based on your individual circumstances and you may not be approved for a residence card even if you meet the conditions.
After 5 years, you can apply for a permanent residence card.

Fees
It costs £65 for each person included in an application.