UK residence for EU citizens

4. Permanent residence before 5 years

You automatically get permanent residence status in less than 5 years in certain situations.

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

  • you’re an extended family member of someone from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
  • you want to apply for British citizenship
  • you want to sponsor your partner’s visa application under the Immigration Rules

If you already have a permanent residence document it 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.

When you get permanent residence in less than 5 years

If you have to stop working

You get permanent residence immediately if you have to stop working permanently (known as ‘permanent incapacity’) because of a work-related accident or illness that means you’re entitled to a UK pension.

After you’ve been resident in the UK for 2 years

If you’ve lived continuously in the UK for 2 years or more you get permanent residence if you have to stop working or being self-employed because of an accident or illness (known as ‘permanent incapacity’).

After you’ve been resident in the UK for 3 years

If you’ve lived continuously in the UK for 3 years or more, you get permanent residence when you:

  • reach State Pension age - you must have been self-employed or worked continuously in the UK for 1 year beforehand
  • retire early - you must have worked continuously in the UK for 1 year beforehand
  • start work or self-employment in another EEA country or Switzerland - you must usually return to your UK home once a week, and have worked or been self-employed in the UK continuously for 3 years or more beforehand