Bishop & Sewell

What is it?

Non-EEA family members of qualifying EEA nationals who have lived in the UK for a continuous period of at least five years can apply for an EEA Permanent Residence Card. This will act as evidence that they are entitled to stay in the UK indefinitely and will also enable the EEA national to apply to naturalise as a British citizen if desired.

What are the main requirements?

In order to make an application for an EEA Permanent Residence Card, an applicant must be able to demonstrate that:

  • they have been living with an EEA national who is their spouse, civil partner, child, stepchild, parent, aunt, uncle, first cousin or grandparent;
  • they have lived with their EEA family member in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years;
  • they have not been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in each relevant year; and
  • the EEA family member has been exercising their treaty rights throughout the five years or has a permanent right of residence.

In order to show that the applicant’s family member has been exercising their treaty rights, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that throughout the 5 year period relied upon their family member has been a worker, job seeker, self-employed person, self-sufficient person, a student or a combination of any of the above or has a permanent right of residence in the UK.

If an applicant does not meet the above criteria, they may qualify for an EEA Permanent Residence Card if they have lived continuously in the UK for the past five years and:

  • they have lived as the extended family member of an EEA national and have held a valid EEA Residence Card throughout this time; or
  • their EEA family member is a British citizen, and they both entered the UK after working and living in another EEA country for a substantial period of time; or
  • they lived firstly as a family member of an EEA national and were then granted a retained right of residence.

An applicant can be eligible for an EEA Permanent Residence Card before meeting the five-year period if:

  • they were living with their EEA national family member, who was working or self-employed in the UK, immediately before their death; or
  • their EEA national family member was working or self-employed in the UK but stopped work or self-employment because of retirement or permanent incapacity; or
  • their EEA national family member was working or self-employed in the UK but stopped work or self-employment in the UK because they are now working or self-employed in another EEA state but are still a resident and return to the UK at least once a week.

Please note that if the EEA Permanent Residence Card holder spends more than two consecutive years outside of the UK they will lose their right to live in the UK permanently..

The card holder can apply to naturalise as a British citizen when they have held permanent residence for a period of 12 months, unless they are married to a British citizen by the time they apply to naturalise, in which case they are eligible to apply to naturalise immediately.

How we can help?

The requirements for an EEA Permanent Residence Card are highly prescriptive and the Home Office routinely refuse applications that do not fully comply with the EEA Regulations and guidance. Our highly experienced team of immigration lawyers will assist in preparing and submitting your application to achieve the best possible outcome.

If you’d like to discuss matters further, please email our Immigration team on immigration@bishopandsewell.co.uk or complete the online enquiry form on this page.

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