Retained Rights of Residence

EU countries:
The EU countries are:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK The Switzerland nationals also have same rights even though they are not listed in EU countries: You are eligible to apply for a residence card if you are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and you are the family member, or extended family member, of an EEA national.


Direct family members:


A spouse or civil partner counts as a family member.


A close family member also includes the qualified person’s (or their spouse or civil partner’s):

  • child or grandchild who are either under 21 or a dependant
  • dependent parents or grandparents

Extended family members


Extended family members include the qualified person’s (or their spouse or civil partner’s):

  • brother or sister
  • cousin
  • aunt or uncle
  • niece or nephew
  • relative from a different generation, such as a great-aunt, great-nephew or second cousin
  • relative by marriage

An extended family member must also be one or more of the following:

  • dependent on the qualified person before coming to the UK - and will either continue to be dependent on them or live in the same house as them in the UK
  • living in the same house as the qualified person before coming to the UK - and will either continue to live with them or be dependent on them in the UK
  • cared for by the qualified person because they have a serious medical condition It is very important to bear in mind that the for an EEA national to sponsor his/her family member in the UK, he/she must be exercising EU treaty rights which means, he/she is one of the following: job seeker worker self-employed person self-sufficient person student

When can you make an application for retained rights of residence card:

  • your, or another member of your family’s, marriage or civil partnership to that person has ended (with a divorce, annulment or dissolution)
  • that person has died and you had lived in the UK with him/her for at least 1 year before they died
  • you are the child of an EEA national who has died or left the UK, or the child of their spouse or civil partner, or former spouse or civil partner, you were in education when that person died or left the UK, and you continue to be in education
  • you are the parent and have custody of a child who has a retained right of residence because they are in education in the UK

The UKVI advises on the documents you must provide:


  • a valid passport
  • 2 passport size colour photographs
  • evidence of your relationship to the EEA national, such as a marriage certificate, civil partnership certificate, birth certificate or proof that you have lived together for 2 years if you not married or in civil partnership. (i.e. unmarried partner in durable relationship)
  • proof of your family member’s identity and nationality, such as a passport, identity card or a previous family permit or residence card
  • proof that your family member had permanent residence or had been a ‘qualified person’ (a worker, student, self-employed person, self-sufficient person or someone looking for work) in the UK

In addition to the above you should provide case specific evidence:


  • divorce certificate of such EEA national
  • death certificate of such EEA national
  • you, or a child in your custody, was in education when your family member died or left the UK and continues to be in education, such as a letter from the school
  • you have custody of a child of your family member, such as a court order
  • you or a family member were a victim of domestic violence, such as an injunction or social services report

Additional requirements if you or your family member divorced the EEA national or ended a civil partnership with them You can only apply if you were in the UK as the EEA national’s family member on the date the divorce was finalised or civil partnership was ended and one of the following applies:


  • the marriage or civil partnership lasted at least 3 years before legal proceedings began and the couple lived in the UK for at least 1 year out of these 3 years before the divorce, annulment or dissolution was finalised
  • you (or the former spouse or civil partner of the EEA national) have custody of a child of the relevant EEA national
  • you (or the former spouse or civil partner of the EEA national) have access rights to a child of the relevant EEA national, provided the child is under 18 and a judge has ordered that access must take place in the UK
  • you, or a family member, have been a victim of domestic violence during the marriage or civil partnership, or there are other particularly difficult circumstances which justify retaining the right of residence

How we can help:


We at Immigration Solicitors 4me specialise not only in UK immigration for non-EEA nationals, we also have expertise and experience in EU regulations. The UKVI has been undertaking various measures to toughen the rules and procedures for family members of an EU nationals. We often hear about “Sham marriages” and abuse of EU regulations over the news and media. This is why, various measures were taken to tackle such an abuse which has in terms affected the applications of genuine applicants. The situation is even difficult for extended family members because, upon refusal, they may even not have a right to appeal, following a recent decision of Upper Tribunal. The Surinder Singh route is also toughened in the new EU Regulations of 2016 where more evidence would be required to submit with application with regards to move of centre of life of a British Citizen in another member state. Do not worry, we are here to help the genuine applicants and we will advise, assist and represent your applications/case before the UKVI for the best possible outcomes. With specific to retained rights of residence applications, we will advise you on the most accurate evidence to meet the requirements of the rules and on the basis of such evidence we will make robust representations with your completed application forms for possible positive outcome. We are thorough in out preparation and legal representations and we provide an affordable service on competitive fees.

Most common reasons for refusal:


In our legal practice, we have made various appeals against refusal decisions. The refusal decisions in retained rights of residence applications are mainly evidential bases. We understand that it is difficult to provide evidence that prior to divorce or death of EEA national spouse, he/she was exercising EU treaty rights and was a qualified person. Especially in divorce cases the ex-spouse is not willing to provide his/her evidence between the period of separation and divorce decree. Our specialist teams dealing with such matter makes robust representations to the Home Office and/or tribunal in such cases highlighting the difficulties you may be facing.