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Permanent Residence UK



Welcome to RLegal Solicitors’ guide to permanent residence for EEA nationals and their family members.

Once you have spent 5 years in the UK as the family member of an EEA national you will be deemed to hold permanent residence (the equivalent of indefinite leave to remain).

Permanent residence means that there are no longer any time restrictions on your stay in the UK. It is a stepping stone on the route to British citizenship. Additionally, you will also have the right to vote and access public funds.

Although you are not obliged to lodge an application, if you wish to have proof of your permanent residence (for example, for an employer) you will need to make an application to the Home Office.

An application for permanent residence is now a necessary first step for European nationals wishing to apply for British citizenship. Under the current UK citizenship guidance (introduced in November 2015), European nationals are required to demonstrate that they physically hold a document certifying permanent before applying for British citizenship.

RLegal will guide you through the evidential requirements and assist you from start to finish with your application. We have over 20 years experience of lodging successful EEA applications. We will take the worry out of the process and give you peace of mind.

For more information, please contact us on +44 (0) 20 7038 3980 where you can talk to one of our team, email us on or by completing our online enquiry form.

Alternatively click on the links below for frequently asked questions.

A non-EEA national wishing to acquire permanent residence must demonstrate that:


1. they remain the family member of an EEA national; and

2. the EEA national has exercised Treaty rights for 5 years through:


- employment;

- self-employment;

- study*;

- self-sufficiency*.


* Individuals who exercise EEA Treaty rights in the UK on the basis of study or self-sufficiency must hold comprehensive sickness insurance cover in the United Kingdom which covers themselves and any dependants.

The definition of “family member” includes spouses, civil partners, children up to the age of 21 and dependant parents.


Children over the age of 21, parents that cannot show they are dependent, and other relatives are defined as “extended family members”.


Dependence in this instance means either:


- the person is residing in an EEA State in which the EEA national also resides and is dependent upon the EEA national or is a member of his household; or

- the person is accompanying/joining or has already joined the EEA national in the UK and continues to be dependent upon him or to be a member of his household.


Students are only allowed to bring their partner and/or children to the UK.


Unmarried or same sex partners are considered to be “extended family members” for the purpose of the EEA regulations. Rather than having to demonstrate dependence, these individuals must show that they have formed a “durable relationship” with their EEA national partner. This is usually satisfied by showing that you have lived together for at least 2 years. This period can be less if, for example, you have a child together.

You must apply direct to the Home Office via the postal system or via the European Passport Passback service which is available via participating local authority Registrars. The process involves submission of an application with extensive evidence of your relationship to the EEA national and of their exercise of Treaty rights throughout the 5 years qualifying period.


Processing times vary but are typically between 3-6 months.


Although it is not a mandatory requirement to hold a document certifying permanent residence, non-EEA national family members may find it difficult to travel and take employment if they do not hold a permanent residence card, particularly post March 2019 when the UK is expected to leave the European Union.  Moreover, since November 2015, EEA nationals and their family members wishing to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen MUST first hold a permanent residence card.

– £65 per applicant

- Comprehensive legal advice.


- Ensuring your application meets the legal requirements.


- Assistance with compiling the complex evidence required for this category.


- Completion and submission of all forms.


- Booking a biometric appointment.


- Ongoing liaison with the authorities where possible.


If you would like to discuss your application for permanent residence as an EEA national in more detail, please contact us on +44 (0)20 7038 3980, email us at or use our online enquiry form.

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