Spouse and family

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Spouse visa UK category is for partners of British citizens, persons with indefinite leave to remain in the UK or limited leave to remain under Appendix EU or Appendix ECAA, who wish to join, or stay with, their husband or wife in the UK. You can also apply for a UK Spouse visa if your Spouse is outside the UK but intending to return to the UK with you.
Family Visa for a PBS Migrant visa category is for partners and children of points-based system migrants to enter and remain the UK with their family member. To apply in this category, you must be related to a PBS migrant as either their husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried partner, same sex partner or child (under the age of 18 at first application).


An EEA national may be joined or accompanied to the United Kingdom by their family members, which may include EEA nationals that are not themselves exercising Treaty Rights and non-EEA nationals.

Family members are broken down into two tiers: Immediate Family Members and Extended Family Members.

Following the landmark ruling in the case of Metcock and Ors v Ireland (Case C-127/08) the ECJ held that:

  • The right of a Non-EEA family member to join or accompany an EEA Citizen is not conditional on prior lawful residence in another Member State.
  • The right is also not conditional on physically accompanying their EEA Citizen family member from one country to another but rather the exercise of free movement of rights by the EEA Citizen that triggers the right to be accompanied by their spouse.
  • A Non-EEA spouse can accompany or join their EEA spouse irrespective of when and where their marriage took place and of how that spouse entered the host Member State.
  • An EEA national is not required to have founded a family at the time when he moves in order for his family members who are Non-EEA nationals to qualify for a Family Residence Permit
  • It was further held that there is no difference whether a Non-EEA national family member entered the UK before or after becoming a family member of an EEA Citizen.

A partner of an EEA national in a ‘durable’ relationship with an EEA national. The Home Office has taken the view that the same criteria as for unmarried partners within the Immigration Rules must be satisfied i.e a requirement to have resided together for at least two years. A relative of the EEA national, their spouse or civil partner who would meet the Immigration Rules as a dependant relative.

An extended family member must have previously lived in another EEA state and their dependency on the EEA national, their spouse or civil partner must have existed either in that state or when they lived with the EEA national there.

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