Apply for a UK residence card

5. Permanent residence card

You can currently apply for a permanent residence document if you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years.

You don’t need a permanent residence card to confirm your residence status in the UK unless:

  • you’re an extended family member of someone from the European Economic Area or Switzerland and are yourself not an EEA or Swiss national
  • you want to apply for British citizenship
  • you want to sponsor your partner’s visa application under the Immigration Rules

Your residence card won’t be valid after the UK leaves the EU.

A new scheme will be available for EU citizens and their family members to apply to stay in the UK after it leaves the EU. 

Sign up for email updates to find out when you’ll be able to apply to stay in the UK under the new scheme and what steps you’ll need to take.

Eligibility

You’re eligible if both of the following apply:

  • you’ve lived with your EEA family member in the UK for a continuous 5 year period
  • your EEA family member has been a ‘qualified person’ throughout the 5 years or has a permanent right of residence

You can also get permanent residence if you’ve lived in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years:

  • as the extended family member of an EEA national and you’ve held a valid EEA family permit and a residence card throughout
  • first as the family member of an EEA national and then with a retained right of residence
  • as the family member of a British citizen, if you entered the UK under the EU law after living in another EEA country (‘Surinder Singh’ route)

You can get permanent residence before 5 years if either:

  • you were living with your EEA national family member, who was working or self-employed in the UK, immediately before their death
  • your EEA national family member was working or self-employed in the UK but has ‘ceased activity’ (stopped work or self-employment because of retirement or permanent incapacity, or because they’re now working or self-employed in another EEA state but are still resident and return to the UK at least once a week)

There are other conditions you need to meet to get permanent residence.

How to apply

The qualified person can include you if they apply online for permanent residence.

If they can’t apply online, download and fill in the permanent residence card application form.

Post it to the Home Office, using the address on the form. Include the fee (£65 fee per person) and supporting documents listed on the form.

Biometric information

You’ll be asked to provide your biometric information as part of your application.

You can do this at certain Post Office branches. It costs £19.20.

You’ll need to:

  • have a digital photo taken of your face
  • put your fingers on a glass screen to be scanned
  • give your signature

The process takes less than 5 minutes and doesn’t involve any ink or mess.

Children

Children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or someone over 18 who has legal responsibility for the child. If the responsible adult isn’t the parent or guardian, they must be named on the application form.

Children under 6 years old don’t need to provide fingerprints but must have a digital photo taken of their face.

If you have a medical or physical condition

If you don’t have any fingers or hands you’ll only need to have a digital photo taken of your face. It will be noted on your records that you’re physically unable to provide fingerprints.

If you or any dependants need any special arrangements to give your biometrics, include a letter from your doctor with your application. The letter must include the details of your condition and the special arrangements you need.