Permanent Residence

Permanent Residence


As a national of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland you do not need permission to enter or remain in the UK to live, work and study. However, there are particular circumstances under which you will be required to prove you can live in the UK, such as if you want to apply for British Citizenship, you are an extended family member of someone from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland; or you wish to sponsor your partner’s visa application under the Immigration Rules. 

In these circumstances, a permanent residence card would act as proof of your legal status as a resident in the UK. Although not currently a legal requirement for EEA nationals, and their family members, residing in the UK, the Registration Certificate could support you with accessing your rights and services as an EEA national. It is useful as it allows for a more transparent application when applying for permanent residence. 

If you are an EU citizen, you and your family members will need to apply for ‘settled status’ to continue to reside in the UK after 2021. You will need to have started living in the UK before 1 January 2021 to apply when the scheme opens.

The requirements are strict and complex therefore one of our immigration experts can assist you with your options as an EEA national, working with you on an individual basis and assess your personal circumstances to suggest the best course of action. Our up to date knowledge and expertise allows us to take a more personal approach when processing your application for EEA Permanent Residence. We will complete the required forms, work with you to collect all relevant documentation and strengthen your application with a Letter of Representation, which will highlight the merits of your case, relating this to UK immigration law.  We work to maximise your chances of a successful outcome and liaise with the Home Office throughout the whole process. Call us on 0744 8077 407, complete the online contact form or get in touch on social media.

UK Immigration rules are complex and challenging which is why we work to our client’s best interest and understand what is at stake.

Fill out the form and one of our immigration experts will be in touch.


An EEA national is an individual who is a citizen of a country that is part of the European Union. These countries are:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. While Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU), their citizens have the same rights as EU citizens to enter, live and work in the UK. Further, Switzerland is not a member of the EEA but its citizens also have the same rights as EEA nationals.

Citizens of Romania and Bulgaria

Bulgarians and Romanians have also acquired the same rights to work in the UK as other EU citizens. Whilst they gained the right to visa-free travel to the UK in 2007 when their countries joined the EU, there were temporary restrictions on the kind of jobs they could take. These have now been removed and Bulgarian and Romanian citizens are able to enjoy full rights of residence in the UK in exactly the same way as other EEA citizens.

To successfully apply for an EEA Registration Certificate, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be a citizen of one of the EEA member states
  • You must be working, actively seeking employment, studying or be able to financially support yourself and have required levels of sickness cover. The status of ‘working’ covers both those who are in employment, as well as those who are self-employed.

It is important to note that, if you have been living in the UK for less than five years, you must apply for an EEA Registration Certificate rather than EEA Permanent Residence.

Upon successful application, your EEA Registration Certificate will be issued to you and will take the form of either a standalone document or a passport endorsement which looks similar to those used for some visa types. A Registration Certificate lasts for five years. After this time, you may then go on to complete a Permanent Residence application for the UK if you meet the requirements for doing so.

This is done by applying for a document certifying Permanent Residence, the process for which can be easier if you have previously applied for and successfully obtained your EEA Registration Certificate. You can read more about EEA Registration Certificates and Residence Cards here.

Although Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) has been triggered and negotiations have now begun for the UK to leave the EU, the rights of EEA citizens to Free Movement remain unaffected for the time being, although there is still much uncertainty around whether this will remain the case.

It is extremely prudent for EEA nationals living in the UK to take steps towards securing their status in order to ensure their rights are protected, given that the terms of the UK leaving the EU are not yet known. Whilst it is highly probable that EEA nationals who have been in the UK for a period of five years or more and have gone on to obtain Permanent Residence will be able to continue enjoying the same rights once the UK leave, we have no indication as yet whether this will be the case for those who have resided in the UK for less than five years or those who have remained for longer than this period but not yet applied for residence. Whilst applying for proof of residence such as an EEA Registration Certificate has been considered unnecessary by many EEA nationals until now, it is strongly recommended that you obtain confirmation of your legal status if you think you may be impacted by any transitional arrangements agreed as part of the UK’s departure from the EU.

If you have been living in the UK for more than five years, you may be eligible for EEA Permanent Residence. This would allow you to live and work in the UK after Brexit, regardless of the outcome of negotiations. In order to remain in the UK, the EEA national must have exercised their treaty rights through employment, self-employment, self-sufficiency or study.

You must also satisfy one of the following conditions:

  • You are an EEA national ‘qualified person’, either worker, self-employed, self-sufficient, student or job-seeker
  • You are a family member or extended family member of an EEA national qualified person or permanent resident
  • You are a former family member of an EEA national if you have retained your right of residence after an EEA national died, left the UK, or ended your marriage/civil partnership through a divorce, annulment or dissolution
  • You are a family member of a British citizen who worked or was self-employed in another EEA state before returning to the UK.

In order to apply for EEA permanent residence, you must complete an 85-page application form and send the completed form along with your £65 fee to the Home Office. If you are a non-EEA national applying for EEA PR, you will need to supply your biometric information, including fingerprints and a digital photo before your application will be considered. If multiple members of your family are eligible for EEA PR, you may use the same application, but the fee will increase with each family member. You can read more about the EEA Permanent Residence application process here.

The Home Office is currently trialling an online application form. Unlike the paper form, the online application only asks questions that are relevant to you, which some people believe speeds up the process. The online form is not suitable for everyone, so you should check with the Home Office before starting your online application.

The required documents will vary based on each application, but as a minimum, you should expect to provide the following:

  •  Two passport-sized photographs for you and each of your family members
  • Proof of identity, such as a valid passport or travel document
  • Proof of relationship to your sponsor, such as birth/adoption certificates, marriage/civil partnership certificates;
  • Previous Permanent Residence document (if applying for a renewal)
  • Previous immigration documents such as EEA Registration Certificate;
  • Proof of residence in the UK, such as utility bills, council tax letters, NHS letters or mortgage/letting agreements; or
  • evidence of employment, such as wage slips or bank statements.

This is not an exhaustive list, but an example of some of the documents required. Section 18 of the application form details all possible required documents.

According to EU law, all EEA PR applications have to be processed within six months. As there is currently a high demand for the service, processing times may be higher. Applicants are reporting waiting times between two/three months or between seven/eight months. You can read more about EEA Permanent Residence processing times here

Dsichambers have many highly-experienced lawyers who can advise you on the options available to you and your next steps if you are considering applying for EEA Permanent Residence in the UK. Our team of expert immigration lawyers can help find the best route for you and take you step-by-step through the application process, to maximise your chances of success and help you settle in the UK.

One of our lawyers can:

Meet with/contact you within a day of first contact

Walk you through your next steps and requirements

Assess your eligibility for EEA Permanent Residence

Assess whether you are eligible for alternative routes (such as Surinder Singh or Zambrano)

Perform a full document check to ensure that they are sufficient

Liaise with you in person, via phone or Skype at a time that suits you

Prepare a Letter of Representation to accompany your application

Liaise with the Home Office during your application process

Complete each part of your application form to the highest standard.