How long do I need to live in another member state to qualify under Surinder Singh?

There has been a lot of talk on the internet of late regarding the new Home Office’s Centre of Life Requirement for Surinder Singh.  I see lots of people saying that “You must excercise treaty rights for at least X months“.  Today infact, a member of the EEA Visa group actually said that The Home Office informed her that she must excercise treaty rights for at least six months to qualify.

This is not correct!  Absolute rubbish, and totally out of order for the Home Office to claim such.

As previously linked to: The Home Office’s Centre of Life guidance clearly states the following:

Generally, the longer the British citizen has been exercising Treaty rights in another EEA member state, the more likely it is that they will have transferred the centre of their lives.

There is still no minimum time period that must be spent in the host member state and all cases must be assessed on their own merits.

This should also be noted along with the Opinion of Advocate General Sharpston in the Case of S and O.


Also, if in doubt, simply rely on the word of law.  Regulation 9 of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 places absolutely no time limits.  To do so would be a good move for Singher’s everywhere as there would be goalposts.  The Home Office have simply implemented the Centre of Life requirement so as to allow it’s ECO’s a reason for refusal of any application.

The reasons being spouted by ECO’s are rediculous.

Obviously, the burden of proof is upon the applicant as a balance of probabilities.  It is best to provide as strong an application for an EEA Family Permit or Residence Card as possible.  Ensure that your covering letter includes the reason that you are returning to the UK.  These reasons might well be:

  • Job Offer
  • Seriously ill family member
  • Contact issues with children of a previous relationship (at which Section 55 would also apply)

The UK, as outlined within it’s response, has a duty to assess all cases on their own merits.  This was established in the case of Akrich Case C-109/01, along with the fact that you benefit from provision of EC law even if you deliberately place yourself into a position to benefit from EC law.



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