EEA Residence Cards: Certificates of Application and Immediacy
According to Directive 2004/38, the right of residence of the non-EU (third-country national) family members of Union citizens, shall be evidenced by the issue of a Residence card. A Residence Card of a Family Member of a Union citizen shall be “issued no later than six months from the date on which they submit the application.”
During the decision-making time, a certificate of application, according to EU law, “shall be issued immediately” (Article 10 of Directive 2004/38).
Applications for Residence Cards in the UK
A Freedom of information request responded to on 12 February 2015 stated that the Home Office aim is to “achieve 95% of applications within 6 months”, though this was not guaranteed for individual cases.
Following the submission of an application and payment of a £65 fee (which may be, but does not have to be, accompanied by the most up to date version of the EEA(FM) form), an applicant can expect to receive an invitation to enrol their biometric details within a couple of weeks. This has been a requirement for some applications for evidence of a right to reside under EU law since April 2015. This means that non-EEA nationals must give their biometric information for their application to be processed within the UK.
- Around 2 weeks to receive biometrics letter – 2 weeks into the six month process.
There is a £19.20 fee for this and the biometric details must be given at a suitable Post Office within the stated time-frame – ordinarily 15 working days from the date of the letter.
- Up to 15 working days is potentially 3 weeks further into the six month process (though this could be shortened by an Applicant providing biometrics immediately upon receipt of the letter).
The Home Office guidance on when to expect a Certificate of Application is found here. It indicates that the Home Office should not be chased for a certificate of application if biometric information was enrolled less than 21 days ago.
- This means up to an additional 3 weeks into the six month process.
If it takes up to eight weeks after the submission of an application to be able to chase the Home Office for a certificate of application, this does not seem to be in compliance with the clear wording of the Directive which requires “immediate” issuance following an application, or that of Regulation 17(3) of the Immigration (EEA) Regulations which also states that the certificate of application shall be issued immediately.
The importance of a certificate of application
This is the document which proves to an employer that a Third-Country National is able to work as they have submitted an application as the family member of an EEA national. As such, it is an incredibly important document, and delays can be costly to the Applicant in terms of lost earnings, as without this, an employer cannot know an Applicant’s status.
Chasing delayed Certificates of Application
There is no contact number for the team dealing with Certificates of Application at the Home Office, although they can be contacted by email.