As part of the European Union family members of EEA citizens enjoy the right of admission to the UK without leave to enter or remain providing they can prove their relationship to an EEA citizen. This can be shown though a passport and an EEA family permit family residence card or permanent residence card. Family members enjoy the same right of initial residence for a period of three months as EEA citizens (without the right to be accompanied by family members).
On issuance of a family permit your family will travel to the UK and this is a much easier passage. The application is free and the permit must be issued as soon as possible. An immediate family member need show evidence of the qualifying relationship with the qualified person and of the fact that the qualified person is or will soon be entitled to reside in the UK under the terms of the Directive. If there is an extended family member this may take more time if UKBA want to make further enquires.
Family members also enjoy a right of extended residence while they remain the family member of a qualified person. They can apply for a residence card.
The family members of qualified persons enjoy the same rights to take up activities in Member States. The children of nationals of a Member State who are or who have been employed in the territory of another Member State are entitled to that State's general educational, apprenticeship and vocational training courses under the same conditions as a national. The child of a national of one Member State who resided in the territory of another Member State may not claim the benefit of that Regulation where a parent no longer residing in the host Member State, last resided there as a worker before the birth of the child.
Family members may be accompanied by their own children who are under 21 or are dependent or by their own direct dependent relatives in the ascending line. However, any of these family members do not have any right under EC law to be accompanied by other family members (e.g. a spouse or civil partner). They would need to rely on the UK immigration rules, which would be difficult as it cannot be said that a person reliant on EEA freedom of movement rights is present and settled in the UK (one of the requirements for most family applications) until that person has acquired the right of permanent residence, usually after five years.
There are very particular circumstances where the family member will be considered to retain rights of residence despite ceasing to be the family member of a qualified person. Call us for further advice should this be of concern to you.
EEA decisions are treated as immigration decisions and attract a right of appeal to the First Tier Tribunal. An appeal may not be brought by a person claiming to be a family member or relative of an EEA national if he cannot produce an EEA family permit or other proof that he is related to an EEA national as claimed.