If your family members are also EEA or Swiss nationals, they can come to the UK in the same way as you, without restriction.
If your family members are not EEA or Swiss nationals, and you are coming to, or you are in, the UK as student, the following family members can come with you, or join you:
- your husband or wife
- your civil partner - this is a same-sex partner with whom you have a relationship that has been legally recognised. See Annex H of Chapter 8 of the Immigration Directorate Instructions for a list of non-UK civil partnerships that are recognised in the UK
- children who are dependent on you or on your spouse or civil partner
These are known as ‘direct family members’. No other family members of EEA national students have an automatic right to come to the UK for more than 3 months, but the Home Office must consider allowing the following members of your family to come to the UK with you, or to join you here:
- cohabitees (see below)
- any other family members, if in the country from which they have come they are dependants or members of the household of the student, or where serious health grounds strictly require the personal care of the family member by the student
These family members are known as ‘extended family members’. The UK government should undertake an extensive examination of the personal circumstances of your extended family member (s) (including their financial or physical dependence on you) before a decision is made on whether to grant them permission to come to the UK. If your family member is refused permission, the government must give their reasons for the refusal. However, there is no longer a right to appeal against the decision to refuse a residency document to an extended family member of an EEA national.
As extended family members do not have an automatic right to be in the UK, these family members must have the correct permission before coming to the UK. If they are already in the UK with another type of immigration permission, which will expire before the time they wish to leave, they must make their EEA extended family member application as soon as possible, as otherwise they will not have permission to be here (or study) between the time their immigration permission expires and the grant of permission to be here as your extended family member. If there is, or will be, such a gap family members are advised to return to their country of residence to make the application, returning when permission is granted.
If you want your co-habitee to come to the UK with you (or join you here), European Union law says you have to be in a ‘durable relationship’. The guidance issued by the Home Office in interpreting EU law says that you need to show that you have been in a relationship 'akin to marriage' for at least two years. However, it continues on to say: “…there may be instances when the two year rule is not satisfied but the couple have a child together. In these circumstances you can use your discretion if there is enough evidence. For example, a birth certificate showing shared parentage has been provided with evidence of living together.” As European Union law simply says that you need to be in a 'durable relationship', without any minimum length - if you need to challenge the UK interpretation of 'durable relationship', seek legal advice.
If you want to bring parents or other relatives, you need to show that they were members of your household or dependent on you in the country from which they have come before you came to the UK or that they are seriously ill and require your personal care. The test of whether a family member requires your personal care is quite high.
If you are in the UK also exercising another right to reside, for example, as a worker, you can bring a wider range of family members with you as direct family members under EU law, including children or grandchildren who are under 21 or dependent on you, and parents and grandparents who are dependent on you.