Following a European court ruling earlier this year on EU free movement; non-EEA nationals are now able to enter the UK without the need to apply for a family visa provided that they hold a valid EU residence card.
The UK immigration rules changed on 6th April following the ruling in Case C-202/13 McCarthy. The updated rules now stipulate that non-EU family members of EU nationals will no longer need to apply for an EEA Family Permit to enter the UK; provided that they have been issued with an EU residence card.
The new rules will make it simpler for families of European Citizens to travel between their home in the EU and the UK.
It is important to note that the directive does not apply to Switzerland. If an applicant holds an EU card issued under the EU/Swiss Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons then they will still be required to apply for a EEA Family Permit to enter the UK.
The ruling comes following the case involving an Columbian citizen who hold permanent residency in Spain and lives with her Irish/British dual national husband (and their two British children). Each time Patricia McCarthy wanted to travel to the UK with her husband Sean McCarthy (and their two children) she would need to travel to Madrid to be fingerprinted & fill in lengthy application forms being waiting several weeks for a decision.
The couple argued that under the EU free movement rules; Mrs. McCarthy should not be required to apply for a UK visa each time she wanted to visit the UK as she held a European residence card and is married to an European national. The court ruled in their favour and instructed the UK government to amend the rules and allow Mrs. McCarthy entry to the UK without the need for a UK visa.
UK Visas & Immigration has now implemented the ruling; however applicants looking to make use of the route are advised to seek legal advice before travelling to the UK as they could face complications at the border until the ruling is fully imbedded in to the UK immigration rules.
If you require advice or assistance on UK visas please contact Visa Positive today on 0203 617 1111