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I am an American in the process of filling out the online application for the EEA FP, to join my Italian husband who has been living and working in the UK for the last five years, currently as a software engineer at a major transnational.

As background, we met last June in London and married in Italy this July. I spent extended periods with him in the UK, Italy, and the US, and we have substantial documentation of our relationship including photos, letters from family, travel tickets, chat & phone logs, etc. In addition to the apostilled & translated marriage certificate and identification documents, we would be providing a letter from his employer, recent payslips, bank account statements, HMRC employment history letter, a recent tax form, his tenant agreement and a council tax bill.

One point in the application I'm uncertain on how to address relates to my employment status and financial information. I've seen comments that it's not required for me to divulge financial information, such as how much money I have for or will be spending on my trip to the UK, but I don't know if that also extends to my salary and by extension, my employment status.

I'm a self-employed freelancer and I work on a project basis; as such I don't have a single client who can provide an employment letter, though I could show bank statements for the last three months indicating that I've been getting paid regularly (payments come through PayPal deposits usually). However I'm wondering if I even need to show my own bank statements at all, as the permit is based on my husband's UK-based employment and supporting documents. But I don't know if it's in some way negative to leave my employment/financial situation unaddressed, and if I'd then need to instead say that I'm dependent on my husband currently? While he is financially supportive of me, I do still draw a fairly consistent income on my own.

Essentially I'm trying to understand if putting forward my own earnings (within the application and with bank statements to support) and trying to explain my freelance employment situation (in some way to indicate that I'm financially independent) is going to be a positive or negative on the application - or even required at all. With the alternative being (I assume) claiming dependency on my husband, and if that option is positive or negative. Again, I'm not technically dependent on him, so I'm not sure that's even appropriate.

If this information is helpful, I typically earn between $2000-3000 a month, after taxes usually around $1500-2200 per month. By contrast, my husband earns 5100 GBP per month after taxes.

Thanks so much for any help or thoughts on this! Much appreciated.

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Neither your financial information nor your husband's is required. The only requirements are, as set out in Articles 3, 5, and 7 of the free movement directive, that

  • Your husband is an EEA citizen
  • Your husband is employed (and is therefore a qualified person residing legally in the UK under article 7)
  • You and your husband are married (this requirement is not met if the marriage is a "marriage of convenience")
  • You have a valid passport

They should therefore not be asking about your finances or your husbands finances, or your salary, or your employment status. They shouldn't even be asking for his salary: As long as the requirements above are satisfied, your husband could be earning minimum wage in a bookshop and you could be unemployed and you would qualify. The question of whether you are actually dependent on your husband is also irrelevant. It is necessary to show dependence in some cases, but not for spouses. Even asking the questions about finances and your employment arguably violates EU law.

But people completing these applications are generally more concerned about getting into the UK than about EU law, and I imagine that you are such a person. If I were applying, I think I would answer those questions with "not applicable," simply because it would be quicker to complete the application that way. You probably want to answer the questions more responsively because it may improve your chances of success on the first try. In that case, you can answer the questions truthfully, as briefly as possible, and without providing evidence where you don't have it.

we would be providing a letter from his employer, recent payslips, bank account statements, HMRC employment history letter, a recent tax form, his tenant agreement and a council tax bill.

Be careful about providing more documents than necessary. This can make it harder for the entry clearance officer (ECO; the person evaluating the application) to find the relevant information, and it can also provide additional opportunities for the ECO to see inconsistencies in the application (rightly or wrongly) that could call your credibility into question (rightly or wrongly). Note that the guide to supporting documents and the VAF guidance linked on the EEA FP application page are not actually specific to the EEA FP, so they are unhelpful.

I've seen comments that it's not required for me to divulge financial information, such as how much money I have for or will be spending on my trip to the UK, but I don't know if that also extends to my salary and by extension, my employment status.

Those comments are correct, and they do extend to you salary and employment status. These are irrelevant to your right to enter the UK, as outlined above.

I'm a self-employed freelancer and I work on a project basis; as such I don't have a single client who can provide an employment letter, though I could show bank statements for the last three months indicating that I've been getting paid regularly (payments come through PayPal deposits usually). However I'm wondering if I even need to show my own bank statements at all, as the permit is based on my husband's UK-based employment and supporting documents.

You are correct. I would not include any bank statements at all, neither yours nor his. But you certainly don't need to include yours. If you do include them, though, the ECO might feel compelled to look into whether your income is derived from legitimate sources. This could be hard to show as a freelancer, since it might require showing contracts or statements from your clients. Best to leave it alone.

But I don't know if it's in some way negative to leave my employment/financial situation unaddressed,

It should not be.

and if I'd then need to instead say that I'm dependent on my husband currently?

You would not need to.

While he is financially supportive of me, I do still draw a fairly consistent income on my own.

Level of income is not relevant to the right of free movement, nor does it matter whether you have any income of your own.

Essentially I'm trying to understand if putting forward my own earnings (within the application and with bank statements to support) and trying to explain my freelance employment situation (in some way to indicate that I'm financially independent) is going to be a positive or negative on the application - or even required at all.

It's not required. It won't help. It's not likely to hurt, but there's a small chance that it would. It's therefore probably best not to mention it.

With the alternative being (I assume) claiming dependency on my husband, and if that option is positive or negative. Again, I'm not technically dependent on him, so I'm not sure that's even appropriate.

You don't have to claim dependency, just that you're married, which, of course, you are already planning to claim.

  • Thank you so much, again, for the extremely helpful reply. In the Visa4UK form there are a few drop down bars you can't leave unanswered, so for now I've just put 'self-employed' for my work status (as it's a drop down I can't leave blank) and filled in 'NA' for the remainder - job title, organization details, income, etc. – Ines Aug 16 '18 at 20:53
  • @Ines you might want to put an estimate of your income. It's been a while since I've seen that form firsthand: if you do, do they ask you to submit documents substantiating your claim? – phoog Aug 16 '18 at 20:55
  • I'm curious as to what documents you feel might be superfluous out of what I've mentioned? I certainly don't want to inundate the ECO with too much, but I also want to be sure that his QP status as a worker is clearly demonstrated, alongside the documentation of our relationship (sustained communication, visits, etc.). While he has been working in the UK since 2013, he just started this current job in June, and I want it to be clear that his employment status has been continuous during that time. – Ines Aug 16 '18 at 20:55
  • The Visa4UK site just directs to the gov.uk page for the list of supporting documents here: gov.uk/family-permit/documents-you-must-provide - which if you click further, leads to the PDF with further possible supporting documents: assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/… - it's a grey area as they state at the top that they do not expect me to provide all of the documents listed. – Ines Aug 16 '18 at 20:58
  • @Ines the residence certificate application requires only a statement from the employer and either wage slips or bank statements. So in addition to one of those last two being superfluous, so are "HMRC employment history letter, a recent tax form, his tenant agreement and a council tax bill." – phoog Aug 16 '18 at 20:59

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