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Advocate General Kokott has recently given her Opinion in Case C-218/14, Singh, Njume and Aly, 7 May 2015, a case concerning retained rights of residence following divorce from an EEA national.

Factual Background

Messrs Singh, Njume and Aly were all married in Ireland to Union citizens exercising their Treaty rights in Ireland and who were granted permission to reside based on their relationship with their spouses. Each marriage broke down after at least four years living together in Ireland, following which the Union citizen left Ireland and filed for divorce in their home country and decrees absolute were issued.

The family members of UK nationals are not ordinarily able to benefit from EU free movement law as transposed by the EEA Regulations – there are some exceptions, but the general rule is that only non-UK EU nationals can rely upon the EEA Regulations as a source of residence rights for their family members.

What, then, is the effect on their non-EU family members’ rights of residence of a UK citizen acquiring an additional EU nationality, or of a Union citizen acquiring British nationality? Do UK citizens’ family members become eligible for EEA Residence Cards? Are the family members of the Union citizen who naturalised as British able to continue living in accordance with the EEA Regulations with EEA Residence Cards?

Article 6 of the Citizens’ Directive, Directive 2004/38/EC, gives a right of residence for up to three months for Union citizens and their family members in possession of a valid passport who are not nationals of a Member State, providing these persons accompany or join the Union citizen.

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In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain on the basis of long residence under paragraph 276B of the Immigration Rules, applicants must demonstrate at least 10 years continuous lawful residence in the UK.

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On 8th November 2012, changes to the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 came into effect.

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