For you and your family

European Nationals (EEA) and EEA Permanent Residence

EEA nationals and both their family members and extended family members may be able to reside in the UK before acquiring permanent residence and ultimately naturalise as British Citizens.

Our Immigration team are vastly experienced in assisting EEA nationals including providing advice with regards to Permanent Residence and the possibility of obtaining British citizenship in the future.

FAQ’s about EEA nationals and Permanent Residence

What are the requirements to reside in the UK as an EEA national?

EEA national applicants will need to be economically active, otherwise known as exercising Treaty rights. This means working or being self employed, studying, being self sufficient, or looking for work. In some situations EEA family and extended family members may have a right to stay in the UK even if the EEA national is no longer in the UK or exercising Treaty rights. These are known as Retained and Derivative rights of residence.

EEA nationals and their family members can apply for residence documents as proof that they have the right to reside in the UK. These are residence certificates for EEA nationals and residence cards for non EEA national family members and extended family members.

If outside the UK, non EEA family members and extended family members will need to apply for an EEA family permit.

EEA nationals and their family and extended family members can acquire permanent residence and after a year with permanent residence may be able to naturalise as British Citizens.

Are you a citizen of an EEA country?

If you are a citizen of an EEA country (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and for the purposes of immigration, Switzerland) you have what is known as an initial right of residence for 3 months, providing you hold a valid national identity card or a passport issued by an EEA state.

After this you can stay in the United Kingdom and do not need any kind of documentation to confirm your residence in the UK as long as you are exercising treaty rights. This means you must be one of the following:-

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

If you are carrying out these activities, you are also known as a qualified person.

Do I need an immigration document – EEA Registration Certificate?

As a qualified person, you don’t need any documentation to confirm your immigration status in the United Kingdom, because the right of residence exists as a matter of European Union law. However, in some circumstances it may be easier for you to obtain various services if you have a registration certificate, as this document acts as clear confirmation of your right of residence in the UK.

Having a registration certificate can also make it easier to make applications for your family and extended family members to stay in the United Kingdom.

How long is a residence certificate valid for?

A registration certificate will be valid for 5 years.

Please Note: In the current climate of uncertainty following the Brexit vote, it may be advisable to have a registration certificate as this may make any future application for a document certifying permanent residence easier.

The government has also confirmed that after the UK leaves the EU, all EU citizens and their families living in the UK will need to apply for new documents under the new immigration regime. Having a registration certificate may make that process easier.

When will I become eligible for Permanent Residence?

When you have lived in the UK continuously for 5 years (have not been absent from the UK for more than 6 months in any one year) and throughout the 5 year period you have been working, studying, self employed, self sufficient, or looking for work, you will acquire permanent residence and will be able to apply for a document certifying permanent residence.

Under certain circumstances, you may be able to apply for permanent residence if you have lived continuously in the UK for less than 5 years, most commonly this will be as a result of no longer being able to work due to an illness or an accident. If you require further help or assistance with regards to this please do not hesitate to contact our Immigration team.

Do I need a document certifying permanent residence?

You don’t need a document to confirm your status. However if you intend to apply for British Citizenship you will need to have a document certifying you have permanent residence.

British Citizenship                                                                      

When you have had permanent residence for one year, you will be eligible to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen. If you do this before the UK leaves the EU you won’t need to worry about complying with requirements under a new immigration regime.

For further expert and professional advice and assistance in relation to EEA applications, including with regards to fees and charges, application methods and processing times and the necessary requirements and eligibility criteria please do not hesitate to contact our immigration team who are ready and able to help you.

Please be advised that Immigration Rules are always changing and in the current climate of uncertainty due to Brexit contact us for the latest help, advice and information with regards to your query.