UK residence for EU citizens

3. Permanent residence after 5 years

You only need to apply for a permanent residence document if you want to either:

  • apply for British citizenship
  • sponsor your partner’s visa application under the Immigration Rules

If you’re planning to apply for a document to confirm your status, you can sign up for email updates instead.

These updates will tell you about the steps you may need to take to confirm your status after the UK leaves the EU.

Getting permanent residence status

You automatically have permanent residence status (sometimes called the ‘permanent right to reside’) if you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years as a ‘qualified person’.

You get permanent residence in less than 5 years in certain situations - for example, if you have to stop working or you retire early.

You’re usually a qualified person if you’re a citizen of a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland and you’re one of the following:

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

You must provide proof that you’re qualified. Read the guidance notes with the form to check the supporting documents you need in your situation.

You can also get permanent residence status as a family member of someone from the EEA or Switzerland.

Apply for a permanent residence document

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

You can’t use this service 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

Download and complete form EEA (PR) if you can’t apply online. 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 supporting documents listed.

Supporting documents

You need to send documents with your application. This could include:

  • your current and previous passports or national identity cards
  • 2 passport size colour photographs
  • evidence that you’ve been living in the UK, such as gas, electricity and council tax bills, and letters from government departments
  • evidence that you’ve been working, studying, self-employed, self-sufficient or looking for work, such as payslips, P60 forms and bank statements

You’ll need to send other documents depending on your situation - check the form and guidance.

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: