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 can apply for a permanent residence document as soon as you get permanent residence status in any of the following situations.

If you have to stop working

You get permanent residence immediately if you have to stop working permanently (known as ‘permanent incapacity’) because of either:

  • an accident or illness, and your husband, wife or civil partner is a British citizen
  • 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 you get permanent residence if you have to stop working or being self-employed because of an accident or illness (known as ‘permanent incapacity’).

You must be working or self-employed when you stop.

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

If you’ve lived continuously in the UK for 3 years, 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 for 3 years continuously beforehand