I am from the US. My German spouse works in the UK and has the EU settlement scheme pre settled status.

What do I need to move to the UK permanently and live (not work) there?

Various pages on the UK immigration website https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk made me believe I should apply for either a Family visa, a EU Settlement Scheme family permit, or the the EU settlement scheme itself.

Which is it?

I know I can live in the UK for 6 months without any visa or permit or special status, but I need something for health insurance and rental contract and probably other reasons I don't know yet.

  • As this question fits better there I am going to move it to Expatriates.
    – Willeke
    Mar 1, 2020 at 13:06
  • A quick reading of the eligibility criteria for the EU settlement scheme family permit indicates that’s the appropriate route. gov.uk/family-permit/eu-settlement-scheme-family-permit Is there something specific to the criteria or your circumstances that makes you doubtful?
    – Traveller
    Mar 1, 2020 at 14:39
  • @Traveller: yes, I read somewhere that the family permit is mostly only to get into the country, which isn't a problem to begin with for a US citizen. As such, the family permit can only be applied for from outside the UK, which is also sort of inconvenient for me
    – Bananach
    Mar 1, 2020 at 16:13
  • Are you in the UK already?
    – phoog
    Mar 2, 2020 at 6:02
  • @phoog No, I'm in the Middle east, but only for another couple of weeks
    – Bananach
    Mar 2, 2020 at 7:44

1 Answer 1


To enter the UK, you do not need any specific document, because you are from a "visa free" country. (If you were from a country whose citizens need visas for short visits, you would need a settlement scheme family permit.) You will, however, need to show evidence that you are married to an EEA national who is living and working in the UK.

To remain in the UK, you do not actually need any document as long as the UK continues to participate in the EU free movement regime. As of March 2020, this is expected to end at the end of this year. Under free movement, you have a legal right to be in the UK that supersedes any limitations that might be stamped into your passport, such as "leave to enter for six months" or "employment prohibited."

Although you do not need any document to remain in the UK, a document to demonstrate your right to do so can be useful in some contexts. Also, you will need a document to remain in the UK after free movement ends. That document is the one you'll get when you enroll in the EEA settlement scheme.

What do I need to move to the UK permanently and live (not work) there?

To move there, you'll need your US passport, your marriage certificate, proof of your husband's German nationality, and evidence that he is working in the UK. To live there after the UK stops participating in EU free movement, you'll need a settlement scheme document.

  • Thanks for your answer. Some questions: You say "To enter the UK...you will, however, need to show evidence that you are married to an EEA national who is living and working in the UK." I'm confused by that as I entered the UK many times before without showing such evidence. Do you mean I have to show this evidence at the time of entry of a visit during which I plan to apply for a visa or similar? That is, they'd let me in without such evidence but they'd later reject residence requests submitted during that stay?
    – Bananach
    Mar 3, 2020 at 7:09
  • Also, I read "Bringing citizens of countries outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland If your family members are citizens of countries outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland, they should apply for a family permit to enter the UK." on citizensadvice.org.uk/immigration/… Could you confirm that this doesn't not apply and that website basically should have said "... outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland or any country that gives them visa free access to the UK, they should apply for a family permit to enter the UK"
    – Bananach
    Mar 3, 2020 at 7:30
  • 1
    @Bananach you can enter the UK without such evidence, but only if you are a "genuine visitor." If you are interviewed and it comes out that you are not visiting, you'll need the evidence. From a technical legal standpoint, the settled status system is a bit different from free movement, so I will have to do some research before I can address your second comment definitely, but under free movement a family permit is only required for visa nationals.
    – phoog
    Mar 3, 2020 at 15:47
  • So even though there are automatic passport controls, I do have to think about what the reason for my entry is before I walk through that machine, and have corresponding documents with me? Hm, I wouldn't even be sure whether I'm a visitor at that point. I'm staying with my spouse for a couple of months but I might go somewhere else for another couple of months afterwards ... Expat life is difficult. But I guess I'll consider the UK my permanent residence from my next entry onwards, so I'll just bring the documentation. Also, I'll trust the settlement scheme just works then. Thanks so much
    – Bananach
    Mar 3, 2020 at 18:19
  • By the way, you were completely right, but unfortunately you know the law better than the border officer who held and interrogated me for an hour claiming I should have applied for a family visit visa (and I shouldn't have traveled in these times anyway) before eventually letting me in. I read afterwards that the UK, like that officer, had tried to force family visit visas on EEA dependents before and had to be forced by an EU court ruling to just let "us" in. google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/dec/18/…
    – Bananach
    Jun 22, 2020 at 6:23

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