I'm an EU national working in the UK, and my partner is a non-EU national, working here using an EU family permit. Sometime in the future, we may plan to leave the UK, and a general plan might be to resign from our jobs, and spend a week or two not working, but packing up our things, saying goodbye, etc. before definitively leaving.

Are there issues with this period spent not working and not looking for work with respect to my partner's residence rights? And what about our access to the NHS should we unexpectedly need it?

I've been living in the UK for five years


1 Answer 1


Unofficially based on personal experience, it shouldn't matter at all. There is no central registry in the UK that would flag you up as not being a worker anymore, especially if your stay is only a few weeks long. Even if you are on a normal visa you might have 90 days to leave the country after it expires, so even if they tell you or your partner that you cannot stay anymore you you'll still have 3 months to actually leave the country.

If your partner already has the permit to be with you then most likely no one would care at all whether you're still working, or not. Also for NHS access: having a GP is usually enough, in case you need to use their services. If you haven't registered at a GP yet, you might get into problems though, so you should do that while you're working.

However there are reports, that the Home Office is trying to crack down on some EU citizens, so if you definitely wish to be on the safe side for those few weeks (especially if your partner wishes to leave and then re-enter the country), then you can do one of the following:

  1. Based on the gov.uk site around EU family permits, it will still be valid if you are in one of the four qualified person categories, "self-sufficient" being one of them. Unfortunately officially you need to have Comprehensive Sickness Insurance if you are only self-sufficient and not a worker. While the Home Office usually only cares about CSI in case you wish to obtain Permanent Residence, if you want to make sure you don't end up in problems, you might want to obtain the insurance for the few weeks you wish to remain in the UK. Note that the insurance has to cover both you and your partner. I'm not sure how much a CSI for a few weeks would cost (or if you can actually get one for only a few weeks), but this is definitely the safest option to do.

  2. If you cease working, and immediately register as a jobseeker in one of the Job Centres, then you might retain your worker status for up to six months. However this only applies if you "provide evidence of seeking employment and having a genuine chance of being engaged", which - as you wish to leave the country - have not. It might still be safer than doing nothing, and enough for the few weeks you wish to remain in the UK however.

  3. If you already lived continuously for five years in the UK, and have been either working, or were self-employed (or a student/self-sufficient having CSI), then you are qualified to be a Permanent Resident. To prove this right you can apply for Permanent Residence. While the process takes a long time (more time than you will probably spend in the UK), based on EU law you are already have the PR status, so your partner's residence card is still be valid, if you encounter problems with the Home Office you can tell them that the application is pending. This option would have a cost of £65/person + the time lost by doing the application, which might not be worth it for the few weeks you wish to stay

Note also that this only applies until 30 March 2019, after which there is still no info on what would happen to any of the permits and options described above.

  • The page you've linked to only applies if they've acquired permanent residence, that is, after five years.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 19:59
  • @phoog used the wrong page for the section, but it also states you either have to be a qualified person (including self sufficient), or have PR.
    – SztupY
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 20:12
  • Eligibility for a family permit is not in question here, either. The question is whether they can remain, having stayed for longer than three months, after ceasing to be qualified as a worker. To qualify as self sufficient, CSI is needed. The "documents you must provide" page says "Your family member must have full health insurance (comprehensive sickness insurance) if they’re studying or financially independent."
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 22:06
  • @phoog you're right, while apparently they only care about CSI if you wish to get the PR status, if the Home Office tries to deport them they would have a (somewhat) valid reason to do it. Updated the answer based on this
    – SztupY
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 10:44
  • With regard to your edited answer: I agree that the home office is unlikely to go after someone who's already in the process of moving out of the country and plans to remain for two weeks or less. In addition, one might consider that there is a right of residence for up to 3 months without having to be a worker or student, etc. The UK would be unlikely to remove them just so they can come back and exercise that right.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 7:24

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