EEA nationals can apply for permanent residence status once they have lived in the UK for five years as a qualified person.

Applying for any document to live in the UK is currently optional for an EEA or Swiss national unless they want to apply for British citizenship or need to sponsor their partner’s visa application.

UK Visas and Immigration has mentioned that new scheme will be available for EU citizens to apply to stay in the UK after it leaves the EU.

Although the application is currently optional for EU citizens, the document certifying permanent residence can be good evidence of the right to live and work in the UK after Brexit takes effect.

Nonetheless, the permanent residence document is required if as an EEA national you need to;

  • apply for British citizenship having lived in the UK for 6 years
  • sponsor your non-EEA family members or an extended family member

You will need to submit evidence of living in the UK for the past five years as a qualified person in accordance with the EEA rules.

Nationals of EEA including Switzerland are considered a qualified person in the UK if they have been working, studying, self-employed, self-sufficient, or looking for work.

EEA Permanent Residence Overview

All EU nationals have the right to reside in the UK for three months. After that period, only a “qualified person” is entitled to reside in the United Kingdom for so long as he remains a qualified person. You need to be one of the following to meet the requirements as a “Qualified person”.

  • a job seeker – in accordance with Regulation 6(1)(a) of EEA Regulations 2016
  • a worker – in accordance with Regulation 6(1)(b) of EEA Regulations 2016
  • a self-employed person – in accordance with Regulation 6(1)(c) of EEA Regulations 2016
  • a self-sufficient person – in accordance with Regulation 6(1)(d) of EEA Regulations 2016
  • a student – in accordance with Regulation 6(1)(e) of EEA Regulations 2016

There is an additional requirement for students and self-sufficient applicants to hold a comprehensive sickness insurance (CSI). This requirement can be met by showing the following:

  • a document confirming comprehensive medical insurance for the applicant and family members (where relevant)
  • a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which is issued by an EEA member state other than the UK

Family members of EU national with the right to reside in the UK also have the right to reside here. This includes family members who are not themselves EU nationals.

After five years continuous leave under European free movement law a migrant (either an EEA national or their non-EEA family member) may – with some exceptions – qualify for permanent residence under European law.

“Permanent residence” has the same meaning as “Indefinite leave to remain”, and the legal effect is the same.

Migrants who qualify for EEA Permanent Residence can apply to the Home Office for the document. In some cases, the EEA national and their non-EEA family member(s) can make a joint application.

There is no legal requirement for this document, but it can be very useful for non-EEA family members in proving their immigration status, especially when they have left the UK and are trying to re-enter. It can also be helpful, both for EEA nationals and their non-EEA family members, if they wish to apply for British citizenship.

After the legal amendments in November 2015, it is no longer possible for EEA nationals to apply directly for British Citizenship. In most cases, any EEA national or family member of an EEA national who wishes to apply for British Citizenship must hold a document certifying Permanent Residence for at least 12 months prior to the application.

Applying for EEA Permanent Residence

Applications for EEA permanent residence need to be made online or using the hard copy form available to download from the website.

Apply Online – Complete the application form available at this website link.

If you don’t have online skills and confidence to complete the form, you can also call UKVI services to get assistance with the online application.

Paper Application – If you cannot submit an online application, you can fill the paper version of the application. The hard copy version of the form can be downloaded from this website link.

EEA PR Application Costs and Timeline

It only costs £65 per applicant to apply for permanent residence for EEA nationals. This fee should be paid in addition to our immigration services fee if you decide to instruct us for your case.

Applications for PR usually take around 6 months, although this might significantly vary depending on your individual case.

Experienced Lawyers for EEA PR Applications

There has been a considerable surge in applications for Permanent Residence as the UK is preparing to leave the EU following Brexit vote.

Lawyers at Edmans & Co advise EU citizens, who qualify for permanent residence having lived in the UK for a contentious period of 5 years, to apply for permanent residence to formally legalise their status in the UK and thereby avoid any future doubts after the UK leaves the EU.

Our EEA Permanent Residence (PR) Application Services
  • EEA PR Client Reviews


To discuss your EEA Permanent Residence (PR) application options and eligibility requirements, please contact our London immigration lawyers on 020 7439 3000.

Book a consultation with one of our EEA and EU immigration experts so that we can assess your case and help you make a successful PR application.