Retained Right of Residence Application

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Retained Right of Residence Application for Non-EEA Nationals


The option to apply for an EEA family permit ended on 30th of June 2021. Now, EEA nationals looking to retain the right of residence will have to apply through the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). For further information on retained right of residence on our website, click here and here.

What is a Retained Right of Residence Application?

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 if they make a successful retained rights of residence application.

As the spouse or civil partner of a (non-UK) EEA national, non-EEA nationals have permission to stay in the UK on an EEA Family Permit. Although they derive 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 (divorce), the non-EEA national ceases to be a family member of their EEA ex-spouse or partner and will have to apply for retained right of residence if they wish to remain in the UK without breaching UK immigration rules.

What Documents Will I Need?

You will need to provide proof of your identity, such as a valid passport, or a valid national identity card if you’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

You will also need to evidence your family member’s identity, your relationship with them, and your continuous residence in the UK. 

Any other required evidence will depend on individual circumstance.

Retained Right of Residence Following the Divorce or Dissolution of a Partnership

It must be proven that the marriage or civil partnership to the EEA national has ended, showing evidence such as a divorce certificate. 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 if all the following criteria are met:

  • The non-EEA national must prove that their ex-partner was a qualified person according to EU free movement rules at the time divorce proceedings were initiated, i.e. exercising their Treaty rights. This means that they must have been a worker or self-employed, a student, or economically self-sufficient person with comprehensive sickness insurance.
  • The marriage/civil partnership between the non-EEA national in question and their EEA ex-partner 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.

Other Circumstances that Could Allow a Non-EEA National to Retain their Right of Residence:

  • 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 has continued right of residence in the UK which is warranted by particularly difficult circumstances.

How Can NA Law Solicitors Help?

NA Law Solicitors are a niche immigration law firm that specialises in this area of law. Our team of specialist immigration lawyers can assist you with the entire process, from making an initial inquiry to submitting an application. Please feel free to get in touch for an initial 15-minute consultation to discuss your case.

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