I was born in the UK, I have a British passport and a passport from another EU nation.

My partner(non-EU national) is currently here on a family visa which is up for renewal in August. This is a very costly process, but I've been reading about this online http://www.visabureau.com/uk/family-permit-married.aspx

Could I apply to have my partner here on an EEA family permit which I believe is free instead as an EU national? Or will I not be allowed because I'm also British?

Also would this mean my partner needs to leave to apply, I'd rather just renew the current visa and not risk it if this is the case, my partner has already been here over 2 years.

  • Have you ever lived anywhere other than the UK?
    – phoog
    Feb 27, 2019 at 22:57

1 Answer 1


The answer to your question depends on a couple of things. The first is the definition of EEA national at regulation 2:

“EEA national” means—

(a) a national of an EEA State who is not also a British citizen; or

(b) a national of an EEA State who is also a British citizen and who prior to acquiring British citizenship exercised a right to reside as such a national, in accordance with regulation 14 or 15, save that a person does not fall within paragraph (b) if the EEA State of which they are a national became a member State after that person acquired British citizenship.

So if you became a British citizen after having lived in the UK as an EEA national, you still count as an EEA national despite being a British citizen. But you say you were born in the UK, so this seems very unlikely in your case.

The second thing is regulation 9, which might apply even if you cannot qualify as an EEA national under regulation 2. Regulation 9 is complex, but it requires you to have lived with your partner in another "EEA state" (which is defined to include Switzerland, as well). This is often known as the "Surinder Singh" route, after the person whose court case established this right.

Many people think that the current conditions laid out in regulation 9 are stricter than the EU directive allows them to be, which means that one might be able to challenge it in court. That would probably cost more than paying for the family immigration route, however, and it is not clear to me whether that route would be available after the UK leaves the EU. I would think it ought to be available to people who had moved to the UK while it was a member of the EU, but I am by no means certain of that.

If you have lived your entire life in the UK, then you seem to be stuck with the family immigration route.

  • Thanks Phoog, I'm sure this will clear it up for others in a similar situation, I've only ever lived in UK and USA so I guess it's easier for me to go on the route we are already on. My EU nationality is from decent but I was only just recently got recognised and got a citizenship certificate.
    – BritishSam
    Feb 28, 2019 at 9:48
  • @BritishSam that your EU nationality was only recently recognized could work in your favor if you tried to claim treatment under regulation 9 (often known as the "Surinder Singh" route; I've edited the question to note that). Someone who lives in the other EU country of citizenship before being recognized as a citizen of that country would have been "exercising treaty rights," which should make the Surinder Singh route available. But, in your case, of course, your residence in the UK and the US did not depend on treaty rights.
    – phoog
    Feb 28, 2019 at 15:09
  • @BritishSam Some people have moved to other EU countries with their partners specifically to make themselves eligible for the Surinder Singh route, but with Brexit looming, that strategy no longer seems likely to succeed. The value of the strategy is furthermore even less to you than it is to others, since you are already halfway through the "standard" family-based route.
    – phoog
    Feb 28, 2019 at 15:10

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