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New Arrivals


Former EEA family members

This page is for new arrivals. If you are a housing adviser please click here for information more relevant to you.

Who has rights as a former family member?

As former 'family members' you may retain EEA family member rights even though your membership of that family has since ceased (e.g. through death, relationship breakdown, or where the EEA national whom you originally accompanied has since left the UK). You may be a national of an EEA member state or you may not be.

You will retain your family member rights if you:

  • are the child of a former EEA worker or his or her spouse or civil partner who is in education in the UK and was in education when the former EEA worker died or stopped working; or
  • are the parent who is the primary carer of such a child that is in education in the UK; or
  • were living with an EEA worker or self-employed person as their family member when they died and either:
    • the deceased had worked in the UK for at least two years before their death; or
    • the deceased person died as a result of an accident at work or an occupational disease, as long as the family member was living with him/her when s/he died; or
  • are not a national of an EEA member state: and
    • you were the family member of an EEA worker or self-employed person or person with a permanent right of residence who has died ; and
    • you resided with the deceased person as his or her family member for at least a year immediately before his or her death; or
  • are the separated spouse or registered civil partner of an EEA worker who is living in the UK but you have not yet divorced (or dissolved your civil partnership); or
  • are not a national of an EEA member state and
    • you are the former spouse or civil partner who has divorced (or had your partnership dissolved); and 
    • you are lawfully working, self-employed, self-sufficient or a family member of someone who is lawfully working, self-employed or self-sufficient; and
    • at the date of your divorce or termination you were a worker, self-employed person, self-sufficient person and either: your marriage/civil partnership lasted at least three years and you both lived in the UK for at least a year, or there was domestic violence, or there is a child from the relationship and either custody (also called residence) or access (also called contact - you must have one or the other) needs to take place in the UK.

Generally, cohabitees (partners who are not married or in a civil partnership) lose their rights if the relationship ends.  However, if the relationship has ended because of domestic violence and your former partner is an EEA national you may be able to get leave to remain or a right to reside: this is a new and complicated area of law and you should get advice.

What are your rights to housing and benefits?

If you are a former family member with retained rights you will be treated as if you are still an EEA family member of the EEA national you originally accompanied.

If you are the bereaved family member of a former worker or self employed person and that person  had lived in the UK for at least two years before their death or died as a result of an occupational disease you are entitled to housing, homelessness assistance and housing benefit without any further conditions, because you have the permanent right to reside. In any other case you are entitled provided you are also habitually resident.

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