What is the Surinder Singh route?
The Surinder Singh route came into effect as a result of a Court of Justice of the European Union case which established that EU free movement laws can be relied on to bring non-EEA family members back to the UK.
The Surinder Singh route helps to overcome the burdens created as a result of the tightening of UK immigration law in 2012, which introduced stringent requirements for non-EEA spouses and family members of British citizens who wish to return with their partner/family member to the UK.
However, you are only eligible to apply for residency in the UK via the Surinder Singh route if your British national partner/family member exercised their EU Treaty Rights to reside in an EU member state and you have been living with them in this member state.
For example, if your partner/family member – who is a British citizen – has been residing in Ireland by exercising their EU Treaty Rights, this means they must have been working, studying, genuinely seeking work or financially supporting themselves while in the Republic of Ireland.
If, during their time residing in Ireland, they either created or strengthened a family life with you – a non-EEA national – and had a genuine residence period of at least three months, you may be eligible to apply for residency in the UK via the Surinder Singh route.
This route can be both complex and difficult to understand. We highly recommend that you seek the professional legal guidance of a qualified immigration lawyer in Ireland if your British family member has been exercising their EU Treaty Rights in the State and you now wish to return to the UK with them.
To enquire, contact IAS’ client care team today on (+353) 061 518 025.
Who is eligible to apply for the Surinder Singh route?
If your partner/family member is a British citizen who has exercised their EU Treaty Rights to reside in an EU member state – and has, during this time, established or strengthened a relationship with you while in this member state – you may be eligible to return to the UK with them via the Surinder Singh route.
This particularly helps those who do not meet the standard requirements outlined within UK immigration law, which holds, for example, that the non-EEA spouse of a British national must meet a minimum income requirement before being eligible to reside in the UK with them.
However, the rules and regulations surrounding the Surinder Singh route are both complex and subject to change, particularly now that the UK has left the European Union.
British citizens commonly exercise their EU Treaty Rights in Ireland – if you and your British national partner/family member are currently residing together in the State, contact IAS’ immigration lawyers in Ireland to find out if you are eligible to return to the UK with them.
What are the requirements for those using the Surinder Singh route?
In both 2016 and 2018, the UK government updated its regulations regarding the Surinder Singh route for UK citizens exercising their EU Treaty Rights.
If the following conditions are met, the non-EEA family member of a British citizen ought to be issued a residence card (and will therefore qualify under the Surinder Singh route):
- The British national exercised their EU Treaty rights as a worker, self-employed person, financially self-sufficient person or student in an EEA member state immediately prior to returning to the UK
- The non-EEA family member and British citizen resided together (‘genuine residence’) in this EEA member state (whereby the British citizen was exercising their EU freedom of movement)
- The purpose of residence in the EEA member state was not as a means to evade or bypass any UK immigration law applying to non-EEA nationals
- The family member of the British citizen was a family member either throughout all or part of their joint residence in the EEA member state
- Genuine family life was created or strengthened during this joint residence in the EEA member state
Who is considered a 'family member' of a British citizen under the Surinder Singh route?
To be considered eligible for the Surinder Singh route as the family member of a British citizen exercising their EU Treaty Rights in an EEA member state, you must be either a direct family member or extended family member.
A direct family member of a British citizen under the Surinder Singh route includes:
- The spouse/civil partner of a British citizen
- The direct descendants (either aged under 21 or over 21 and dependent) of the British citizen
- Dependent direct relatives of the British citizen or their spouse/civil partner
The rules surrounding extended family members are much more complex, as this can include somebody who is in a ‘durable relationship’ with the British citizen or a relative who is dependent or a member of their household.
This can create substantial burden on the extended family member who must provide evidence that they are either a relative of/member of the same household as the British citizen.
Generally, the Home Office requires any individual in a ‘durable relationship’ with a UK citizen who is using the Surinder Singh route to reside in the UK with them to provide evidence of at least two years’ cohabitation with the UK citizen.
How does Brexit impact the Surinder Singh route?
Since the UK is now undergoing its transition period after leaving the European Union, there is a limited amount of time for the family members of UK citizens to qualify and apply for residency in the UK under the Surinder Singh route.
Non-EEA family members of qualifying British citizens who have resided together in an EEA country (such as Ireland) may apply under the Surinder Singh route if they were already part of the qualifying British citizen’s family before the specified date.
This date – when the transition period of Britain’s exit from the EU officially ends – is 31st December 2020.
To be eligible to apply for the Surinder Singh route, partners/dependant relatives must demonstrate that their relationship continued to the date of the application.
Additionally, to qualify, the relationship must not only have been formed but also durable before the specified date (31st December 2020).
The UKVI typically requires a period of two years cohabitation to consider a relationship ‘durable’.
Another change to the Surinder Singh scheme is the application process. The gov.uk website outlines that those who wish to apply to reside with their British national family member in the UK under this scheme must call the EU Settlement Resolution Centre.
If you and your British family member are currently residing in Ireland and wish to discuss your eligibility with a qualified, experienced immigration lawyer in Ireland, call IAS on (+353) 061 518 025.
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Since Brexit, the law surrounding Surinder Singh cases has been amended and added to a number of times.
Here at IAS, our immigration lawyers in Ireland are equipped with the latest information on EU and UK immigration law.
If you – as the family member, spouse or durable partner of a qualifying British citizen – believe you may be eligible to apply for residency in the UK via the Surinder Singh scheme, our team of immigration specialists are able to assist.
We can provide expert legal guidance, advice and assistance with your application.
Your qualifying British family member will act as your sponsor throughout the process, therefore our immigration lawyers in Ireland can:
- Assess whether your sponsor was “exercising EU treaty rights” while in Ireland and therefore advise whether you would qualify under this scheme
- Ensure your supporting documents are sufficient and consistent for your application
- Produce a Letter of Representation which highlights the merits of your specific case
- Complete each aspect of your application form on your behalf
- Liase with the Home Office during the application process
For more information, get in touch with IAS today on (+353) 061 518 025.
Unfortunately, the right of appeal for visa applications made using the Surinder Singh route was curtailed in February 2017.
The result of this means that a refused application cannot be appealed.
For this reason, we highly recommend that you seek the professional legal advice and assistance of a qualified immigration lawyer in Ireland when making an application via the Surinder Singh route.
To find out more about how one of IAS’ immigration lawyers in Ireland help with your Surinder Singh application, contact us today on (+353) 061 518 025.