What happens with my family reunification rights post-Brexit?

If you have settled or pre-settled status, you have family reunion rights, which means you will be able to be joined by certain EU or non-EU family members in the future. This includes your spouse or registered partner(as long as they were already your spouse or registered partner at the end of the transition period, 31 Dec 2020), your or your spouse/partner’s direct descendants who are under the age of 21 or dependants, and your or your spouse/partner’s direct relatives in the ascending line (parents, grandparents etc).

Article 10 of the Withdrawal Agreement has a list of eligible family members who can apply to join you in the UK. From 1 January 2021, family members who want to join you in the UK must apply to enter the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme. This can be done in two ways - applying for a family  permit before you come to the UK, or apply to the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK. See https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status.


Applying for a family permit

Your family member can apply for an EUSS family permit online. When they have been granted their family permit, they can travel to the UK to join you. Once in the UK, they will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme within three months of arrival.

More information on family permits can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/family-permit/eu-settlement-scheme-family-permit


Applying from outside the UK

Citizens with EEA/Swiss passports/national identity cards with biometric chips, or citizens from other countries with valid UK-issued biometric cards can apply directly for pre-settled status or settled status before they travel to the UK.

They will have to wait until their (pre-)settled status is granted before they can move to live in the UK with you. See https://www.the3million.org.uk/rights-enter-uk for more information.


Note: if you are hoping to make use of your family reunification rights in the future, and you are thinking about applying for British citizenship, then you may wish to seek legal advice if you have gaps in your past where you should have had, but didn’t have, Comprehensive Sickness Insurance. Unfortunately there are some complex circumstances in the Immigration Rules in which naturalising as a British citizen may result in the loss of family reunification rights.


Also note that unmarried partners need to show that they have been in a relationship akin to marriage for at least 2 years. These cases can become complex and the help of a legal adviser is recommended.