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EEA Permanent Residence - EEA PR

Permanent Residence application immigration lawyers in London. Secure your permanent residence status before and after Brexit with our London lawyers

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The key reason for an EEA PR application is for EEA nationals that have resided for a continuous period of 5 years in the UK as a qualified person to gain proof of their right to stay in the UK. A qualified person is an individual is exercising treaty rights. Treaty rights are defined as either a job seeker, a worker, self-employed, self-sufficient or a student. They can all be combined, or simply one of these types (see below) of treaty right can be exercised.

The Requirements

As mentioned earlier, permanent residency in the UK for EEA nationals requires that the EEA national must be a qualified person, exercising treaty rights in the UK. If an EEA national has a family member - which includes spouses or extended family members (durable partners) - they can also make an application for permanent residence if the European national exercises his or her treaty rights. Exercise of treaty rights involves the following:

Job Seekers

To qualify as a job seeker, you must be able to demonstrate that you are not only actively looking for a job, you actually have a realistic chance of getting one. Your job search must be in tandem with realistic prospects of landing the job. This rule is in line with regulation 6 (4) of the Immigration (EEA) Regulation of 2006. In summary, the requirements for exercising treaty rights as a job seeker are:

  • You are registered as having been in employment for at least one year before becoming unemployed, or you have just completed registration as a job seeker;
  • You have been out of employment for a period not exceeding 6 months;
  • You can demonstrate that you are looking for a job in the UK and have a realistic chance of securing a job in the UK.


If you are currently working in the UK, you fall under the definition of a qualified person or are regarded as exercising treaty rights as a worker. Employment in this instance may either be full or part-time. Importantly, such a worker must be able to sustain themselves without recourse to public funds to be within the definition. There are, however, situations in which a person is currently unemployed but may still qualify as a worker. Such instances revolve around the European national being temporarily unemployed or unemployed as a result of the following: -

  • Sickness or accident
  • Voluntary or involuntary unemployment
  • Started a vocational training

Self-Employed Person

In order to be a qualified person using self-employment, you have to be registered with the HMRC for income tax and NI contributions. You must be able to evidence your work with documentary evidence such that you submit to the HMRC. Such documents may include invoices, accountant's letter, bank statements, etc.

Furthermore, Regulations 6 (3) of the European Regulations 2006 allows that in the event of an illness or accident, whereby a self-employed person becomes temporarily out of work, they may still qualify as self-employed.

Self-Sufficient Person

The rules define a self-sufficient person as one who has:

Sufficient funds to cater for his/her expenses without having to need help from the government by way of claiming benefits in the UK;

They have comprehensive health insurance for all members of their family living in the UK, including themselves;

They have financial securities and/or a pension sufficient to cover themselves whilst in the UK;

Is working for a charity which takes care of their living expenses in the UK. Importantly, the charity support must be sufficient to meet the living cost of both the individual and his family members living in the UK.


Exercising treaty rights also includes a student, as long as they are studying at an appropriately regulated institution. Importantly, documentary evidence (including bank statements and comprehensive sickness insurance) would still have to be provided to show that the student has enough funds to support themselves in the UK without needing financial support from the government. It is also important that the institution of learning in which the EEA national (student) is enrolled in must be recognized as a provider of that course or training.

Continuous Residence Of 5 Years

A key factor in qualifying for PR is the continuous residence for at least 5 years in the UK as a qualified person (as defined above). Importantly, the 5-year period does not have to be the last 5-year period. Any 5-year period as a qualified person automatically qualifies you as having obtained permanent residence status in the UK, and so your current status may not have a bearing on the application if you can show that you have retrospectively exercised treaty rights for 5 years.

The good thing about this rule is that whether you have applied for it or not, if you, as an EEA national who has resided in the UK for 5 years as a qualified person, you're automatically obtained permanent residence in the UK, regardless of whether you have applied for the card or any document to confirm it or not. Let's give an example to put this into perspective: if your parents are both British by birth and you, like your parent/s, was also born in London, you do not need to apply for a British passport to be British. You are automatically British in law. But if you want to go on holiday, you need a passport, and you need to show that you are British at the airport, so you can come back into the country. You will then need to apply for a British passport. This is the same with permanent residence. You may not have physical evidence that you are a permanent residence cardholder but in the eyes of law, where your true immigration status is the primary focus, you hold Permanent Residence. For the sake of travel, employer and alike, Permanent Residence is a must.

How Can I Apply?

To apply for a permanent residence card, you will need to make an online application via the government’s online portal. If you are unable to complete your application online, you may be able to download the form and post it to UKVI. As well as the application, you will also need to pay for the application itself. Currently, the application fee for a permanent residence card is £65 per applicant. As well as the application fee, you will also need to pay the standard fee of £19.20 to have your biometric information taken.

After making your application, you will be given options on how to give your biometric information. This will need to be given at an authorised location, and more information will be found at centres that are local to you. These centers are based across the country, so you should not have to travel far in order to give this information to support your application.

Who Can Apply For A Permanent Residence Status?

As stated in the earlier sections, you will need to be considered a qualified person to apply for permanent residence. This means that as well as residing in the UK for at least 5 years, you will also need to be one of the following:

  • Working
  • Self-employed
  • Self-sufficient
  • Studying
  • Looking for work

Specific family members of qualified persons can also apply along with the main applicant for a permanent residence card. These family members include spouses, children or grandchildren under the age of 21 or dependent (both the qualified person and the qualified person’s spouse) and also a dependent parent or grandparent of either the qualified person or their spouse. If you wish to know about other family members, please get in touch, and we can help.

What Are The Benefits Of A Permanent Residence Status?

While many who wish to apply for a permanent residence card may not legally require one, there are a number of benefits that come along with holding the card. These include getting back into the UK more easily if you have travelled abroad - the card is proof that you have a legal right to enter the UK, and also for those who are looking to prove their eligibility to work in the UK to an employer.

Proving your eligibility to work in the UK is a big draw for many who are looking to apply for a permanent residence card, as it is now incumbent on employers to prove that their staff are legally allowed to work in the country. The permanent residence card is a quick and easy way for employers to prove this, without needing to resort to more extensive - and often expensive - eligibility checks. Indeed, many employers will likely value this highly, as it saves them significant background work before employing a new worker.

See also ‘Difference between the Permanent residence status and EU Settled status

How Long Will My Permanent Residence Document Be Valid For?

Your permanent residence card is valid for a period of 5 years. After Britain ends its transition period with the EU at the end of December 2020, the permanent residence card scheme will likely cease. After this period, there is likely to be a new option available. If you wish to discuss your options for staying in the UK for the long-term post-Brexit, get in touch today and speak to a member of our team. Our team have had extensive training in what will happen post-Brexit and will be happy to help with any query that you may have about your right to remain in the UK.

Permanent Residence Solicitors – London

Our European law experts boast of over 30 years of experience in immigration law; we are able to advise you on all matters of European law, including permanent residence applications.

After Brexit, we have dedicated our entire team of immigration lawyers to help with permanent residence applications. What we do is simple: we assess if you qualify for a permanent residence card or not, then we prepare a list of documents we believe you would need to support your application, and we begin the process from there. Give us a call today for a free assessment on 020 3439 9270 or drop us an email on and one of our immigration solicitors will contact you as soon they become available.

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"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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