What Can I Do if My Partner’s EUSS Family Permit is Refused?
The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) Family Permit is supposed to make it easier for EU and EEA nationals living in the UK to be with their eligible family members from outside the EU/EEA. If your partner is the person applying for a Family Permit, there is a great deal resting on the outcome. In the event that an application for an EUSS Family Permit is refused, this can be deeply upsetting and distressing for both partners and their immediate family members. In this article, we will explain why an EUSS Family Permit for a partner may be refused and what can be done to resolve the situation.
The EEA Family Permit scheme, which was for non-EEA nationals with EEA family members in the UK, is now closed for applications. Furthermore, existing EEA Family Permits became invalid from 30th June 2021. The latest guidance on the Home Office website advises eligible non-EEA nationals, “you may be able to apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit coming to the UK”.
What is the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) Family Permit?
The EUSS Family Permit gives non-EU/EEA nationals with an eligible EU/EEA partner living in the UK the right to stay in the UK for up to six months. EUSS Family Permit holders are permitted to live, study, and work in the UK during this period, and they can freely leave and re-enter the country as many times as they wish.
What are the grounds for refusal of an EUSS Family Permit?
UKVI case officers are instructed to issue an EUSS Family Permit as long as the applicant meets three sets of requirements:
- The application is valid
- The applicant is eligible for an EUSS Family Permit, and;
- The applicant meets the criteria for suitability
As such, if any of these requirements are not met, this may cause the application to be refused.
According to section FP4 of the Appendix for the EU Family Permit, an application may be refused if the applicant:
- Does not use the correct application process – e.g. by using the wrong or an outdated form.
- Does not provide the correct proof of identity and nationality – e.g. using a passport in the wrong name or one that is out of date.
- Does not provide the necessary biometric information (fingerprints, signature, and photo).
FP6 further explains that applicants must also prove they meet the eligibility requirements in terms of being a non-EEA national and their relationship to an EU/EEA national in the UK as a durable partner.
And finally, FP7 states that applicants must not be subject to an exclusion or deportation order or provide any false or misleading information.
Refusal may occur if you do not meet any of these requirements or if the Home Office are not satisfied that you have provided sufficient evidence of meeting these requirements.
What can I do if my EUSS Family Permit application is refused?
If your application is refused, you may have the following options to choose from:
- Appeal the decision – your decision letter will tell you whether you have a right to appeal the decision made against your application. If this is an option available to you, it may not necessarily be the best route depending on the reason for refusal – we recommend speaking to an immigration Solicitor who can explain if you should appeal. To appeal a decision to refuse or revoke your family permit or travel permit under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will need to complete the online or paper Ministry of Justice appeal form. You will need to act quickly to register your appeal with the First Tier Tribunal, as this must be received within 28 days of the refusal decision.
- Apply again for an EUSS Family Permit.
- Apply to the EUSS for pre-setted or settled status in your own right.
- Apply for a completely different visa – e.g. work, study, or family visa.
There is no one recommended route in the event of receiving an EU Family Permit refusal, as this will very much depend on your circumstances and future plans. If you do decide to appeal (assuming you are able to), you will need to provide clear grounds for why the decision should be overturned. It is important that you don’t simply appeal without a solid basis for doing so. You can also choose between an oral and a paper hearing. In an oral hearing, you or a legal representative can attend a hearing to make the case. If you choose a paper hearing, a decision will be made without the need to attend court, purely based on the information and documents supplied with the appeal form.
Receiving a refusal of an EUSS Family Permit can be deeply unsettling for all concerned, especially if you are unsure of the best route forward. In our experience, there is nearly always a way to resolve the matter, and in some cases, it may be that an alternative route is more advantageous. It may be that the applicant would be better to apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EUSS, or for a family visa. By speaking to experienced immigration Solicitors, you can explain your circumstances and those of your partner and children, and they will help you to devise a plan to meet your long-term goals. A refusal of your application is not the end of the matter and can almost always be over-come. If you need any assistance with your application, a refusal, or the best immigration route to choose, engaging an immigration lawyer from the outset can save you a great deal of time, stress, and money.