Apply for a permanent residence document if you’re from the EU, EEA or Switzerland

You may be able to apply for a ‘UK permanent residence document’ (sometimes called a ‘document certifying permanent residence’) if you’re from the EU, EEA or Switzerland.

You do not need to apply for a permanent residence document. However, if you do, and your application is successful, you can use it to:

  • apply for British citizenship
  • sponsor your partner’s visa application

Your permanent residence document will not be valid after 31 December 2020. You can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after that date.

There are different rules for applying for a permanent residence document if you’re from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland.

Who can apply

You can apply as soon as you’ve got ‘permanent residence status’.

You usually qualify automatically for permanent residence status if you’ve been living in the UK for at least 5 years and you’re doing one of the following:

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

Family members

You can include close family members in your application if they also qualify for permanent residence.

Close family members include your:

  • spouse or civil partner
  • child or grandchild
  • parent or grandparent

You can also include extended family members in your application if they were dependent on you or were a member of your household before coming to the UK, and are still dependent on you or are still a member of your household.

Extended family members include your:

  • unmarried partner
  • brother or sister
  • aunt or uncle
  • first cousin
  • nephew or niece
  • family member or relative of your spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner

You can qualify for permanent residence status in less than 5 years in certain situations.

If you have to stop working

You can apply if you have to stop working or being self-employed because of an accident or illness (known as ‘permanent incapacity’).

You can apply immediately if the accident or illness both:

  • is work-related
  • entitles you to a pension from a UK institution

Otherwise you can apply after you’ve been living in the UK for 2 years.

If you reach State Pension age or retire early

You can apply after you’ve been living in the UK for 3 years.

You must have worked continuously in the UK for 1 year beforehand (this includes being self-employed, if you’ve reached State Pension age).

If you start work or self-employment in another EU or EEA country, or Switzerland

You can usually apply after you’ve been living in the UK for 3 years.

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.

How to apply

You can apply online. You can also add close or extended family members to your application.

Providing ‘biometric information’ and supporting documents

When you apply online, you’ll be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your ‘biometric information’ (a photo).

You’ll also need to submit your supporting documents. You can:

  • upload them into the online service
  • have them scanned at your UKVCAS appointment

If you cannot apply online

If you cannot apply online, download and fill in form EEA (PR). Send it to the address on the form - include the £65 fee and the supporting documents listed on the form.

Read the ‘guidance notes’ to find out which documents you need to send with your application.

Get help to apply online

You can get help with completing the online form if you:

  • do not feel confident using a computer or mobile device
  • do not have internet access

You can only use this service if you’re applying in the UK.

You cannot get immigration advice through this service.

What you’ll get

You’ll get a certificate inside either a blue ‘residence documentation’ booklet (or pink if you’re a Swiss national), or your passport.

The certificate will say ‘Document Certifying Permanent Residence’ on it.

Applying for British citizenship

To apply for British citizenship with a permanent residence document, you need to have lived in the UK for both:

  • at least 5 years
  • 1 year after qualifying for permanent residence status

However, you can apply after living in the UK for 3 years if your husband, wife or civil partner is a British citizen.