I am German and live in the United States with my Iranian wife. We would like to spend our holidays in the UK this June, and also want to invite her parents from Iran to come along with us. My wife should be good with the Family permit as a spouse of an EEA person, but are also her parents (as parents-in-law of an EEA person)? If yes, would we have to enter the UK together? Thanks for any advice. Dominik

  • Are your in-laws dependent parents? gov.uk/family-permit/eligibility
    – Traveller
    Feb 11, 2019 at 20:45
  • I am unsure about the exact definition of "dependent". They are retired, but not financially dependent on us. I assume this makes it a "no"?
    – Dominik
    Feb 11, 2019 at 20:52
  • I cannot find in the documents anything related to financial dependency. Could you please explain more? One can interpret "dependent" as blood dependent not a finance dependent.
    – user92084
    Feb 11, 2019 at 22:13
  • In the section ‘Documents you must provide’ it states: - evidence of your relationship to your EEA family member, for example a marriage certificate, civil partnership certificate, birth certificate or proof that you’ve lived together for 2 years if unmarried - your family member’s valid passport or national identity card (or a certified copy if you cannot provide the original) - proof of your dependency if you’re dependent on your EEA family member.
    – Traveller
    Feb 11, 2019 at 22:40
  • 1
    I have edited my answer to address this point.
    – phoog
    Feb 11, 2019 at 23:21

1 Answer 1


You have indicated that your in-laws are not financially dependent on you or your wife. They are also obviously not "members of your household" as they reside in a different country. They therefore do not fall within the scope of Directive 2004/38/EC or of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2018. They should therefore apply for standard visitor visas.

If yes, would we have to enter the UK together?

The derivative right of free movement depends on the EEA national being in the country, so you would have to either enter together or precede them. This does not apply to your parents in law if they travel with standard visitor visas, but it does apply to your wife. If she wants to arrive in the UK before you do, she also needs a standard visitor visa.

It's also worth noting that this answer could change if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. In that case, your wife might also need a standard visitor visa.

Someone (perhaps you under a different account?) has raised the question of whether "dependent" means "financially dependent." That is the usual meaning of the word in English, and it would seem that this is taken for granted, since the word is not explicitly defined in the directive nor in the regulations.

I am certainly unfamiliar with the idea of "blood dependent," but it would seem to be close to the concept in the directive of "member of the household."

For the avoidance of ambiguity about the directive, we can look at the same clause in other languages. Since you are German, here it is in German:

die Verwandten in gerader aufsteigender Linie des Unionsbürgers und des Ehegatten oder des Lebenspartners im Sinne von Buchstabe b), denen von diesen Unterhalt gewährt wird;

I believe "Unterhalt" is unambiguous. Similarly, in French, we have

les ascendants directs à charge et ceux du conjoint ou du partenaire tel que visé au point b);

Similarly, "à charge" does not seem to be ambiguous.

You can certainly file an EEA family permit application under this alternative interpretation of "dependent," but the guidance suggests that it will be refused (see page 11, where examples of evidence include "bank or building society statements" and "evidence of money transfers"). You could then go to court to assert this interpretation (that is, you could appeal the refusal), but I doubt you would prevail, and you would in any case not get this done by June. It would be far more efficient just to apply for the standard visitor visa.

  • Thank you very much for the details. I agree that in German the word "dependent" is related to financial support. This is not the case for us, so we would apply for a regular visitor visa.
    – Dominik
    Feb 12, 2019 at 0:04
  • I also want to point out that the "Visa check" on the UK Visa & Immigration website is misleading for the case of my parents in-law: www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y/iran/tourism/yes/no. It's certainly a good idea to read the family permit requirements in detail.
    – Dominik
    Feb 12, 2019 at 0:06
  • @Dominik indeed. It is unfortunate that the visa checker does not notify the user that there is a specialized definition of "family member" in force, much less describe the definition or even link to another resource to clarify it.
    – phoog
    Feb 12, 2019 at 0:32

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