I am living and working in Austria and tend to visit the UK twice a year with my British children and non EU wife who is permanently resident in Austria.

We normally apply for eea family permit valid for 6 month. This method seems to have changed and i cannot find suitable information on gov.uk website.

Is there a way to have freedom of movement to the UK for the purpose of visiting only since my wife holds a permanent residency card in Austria?

Is the permanent residency card covered by article 10?

Can she apply for A UK residency card to avoid the Eea family member visa application process twice a year?

I tried the web and calling the visa advice line but didn’t get much help.

  • Do i need to use Surinder Singh route or not?
    – Mhanna
    Nov 13, 2019 at 22:47
  • "Do I need to use Surinder Singh route": every time your wife was granted an EEA family permit in the past, you were benefiting from the Surinder Singh ruling.
    – phoog
    Nov 14, 2019 at 15:24

1 Answer 1


It depends on what type of residence permit she has

  1. as a family member of an EU Citizen (Artical 10 or 20)
  2. of her own right

When traveling outside the issuing country (Austria) and

1) Article 10 or 20 Residence Card

  • the spouse is travelling with or joining the EU-Spouse
    • a visa is not needed to go to France or the United Kingdom

2) Normal National Residence Permit

  • other Schengen Area countries may be visited based on the 90/180 days rules
    • also for 3rd country citizens who would otherwise need a visa
  • for the United Kingdom and Ireland the normal visa rules apply

If you are the non-EEA national family member of an EEA citizen and you do not hold a residence card issued under Article 10 or Article 20 by an EEA Member State, you will need to apply for an EEA or EU Settlement Scheme family permit before travelling to the UK with or to join your EEA family member.

EEA family permit

Apply for the EEA Family Permit if you’re a close or extended family member of an EEA or Swiss national.

You can be a close or ‘extended’ family member - for example a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, nephew or niece.

Check if you’re eligible and apply for the EEA family permit.

There are other ways you may be eligible for an EEA family permit, for example:

if you can make a ‘Surinder Singh’ application after living in another EEA country with a British family member ...

From: [Context: To visit the United Kingdom]

Eligibility requirements
You and your British family member must prove that you:

meet the eligibility in the EEA country where you live now - if you want to come to the UK at the same time

met the eligibility while living together in another EEA country - if you want to join your British family member in the UK

From: [Context: To reside the United Kingdom]

‘Surinder Singh’ applications
You might be able to make a ‘Surinder Singh’ application if you lived in another EEA country with an eligible family member who’s a British citizen before returning to the UK.

Your British family member must be one of the following:

your spouse (husband or wife) or civil partner

your parent or grandparent (or their spouse or civil partner) - you must also be under 21 years old or dependent on them

your child or grandchild (or their spouse or civil partner) - you must be dependent on them


  • "The Surinder Singh route applies only when moving the United Kingdom, not visiting" is not correct. The family member of a citizen of the UK living elsewhere in the EU who applies for a family permit to visit the UK is able to do do because of the Surinder Singh ruling.
    – phoog
    Nov 14, 2019 at 13:52
  • @phoog Are you sure? The Surinder Singh route involves living and working elsewhere in the European Economic Area for a period of three or more months.. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Nov 14, 2019 at 13:57
  • Yes. To qualify for the Surinder Singh route, one must live elsewhere in the EEA for three or more months, but the benefit of the route is available to someone who is either moving to the UK or visiting. This may be seen in the fact that a non-EEA family member of a British citizen can use an EEA family permit to visit the UK if they live (for example) in Spain, but not if they live (for example) in Mexico.
    – phoog
    Nov 14, 2019 at 15:15
  • @phoog statement removed Nov 14, 2019 at 15:19
  • I suppose this depends a bit on what is meant by "Surinder Singh route," however. If this encompasses any situation controlled by the Surinder Singh ruling, then what I say is correct. If the phrase is intended to denote only the practice of moving from the UK to another EEA country specifically to allow a family member to get into the UK under free movement rules, then it might be different. It would technically be possible for someone to move, e.g., to Ireland simply to enable a visit by a family member, but it seems unlikely that anyone would actually do it for that reason.
    – phoog
    Nov 14, 2019 at 15:22

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