UK residence for EU citizens

3. Permanent residence after 5 years

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

However, 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.

Apply for a permanent residence document

You must provide proof that you’ve been a qualified person or the family member of a qualified person for 5 years.

You’re usually a qualified person if you’re a citizen of an EEA country or Switzerland and you’re one of the following:

  • working
  • studying
  • self-employed
  • self-sufficient
  • looking for work

Read the guidance notes to check the supporting documents you need in your situation.

You can apply online for a permanent residence document if you’re from the EEA or Switzerland. You can also add close or extended family members to your application.

You can’t apply online if you’re a student or self-sufficient person and you’re either:

  • reliant on a family member for financial support
  • financially responsible for any other family members

You’ll need to download and complete form EEA (PR) instead. You can also include close or extended family members on this form.

Post it to the Home Office address on the form, with the £65 fee and your supporting documents.

Using your document to apply for citizenship

You can only use your permanent residence document to apply for British citizenship after you’ve lived in the UK for 6 years.

That means you must wait another 12 months if you’ve only lived in the UK for 5 years when you get your document.

But you can apply immediately if: