Residence documents for foreign nationals in the UK

There are different documents for proving your right to live in the UK. The right document for you will depend on things like:

  • your nationality
  • how long you’ve been in the UK
  • whether you have family here

You do not need a residence document if you have the ‘right to reside’ in the UK - for example, if you’re an Irish citizen.

Some current residence documents will no longer be valid after 30 June 2021.

If you’re an EU, European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss citizen

The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

If you were living in the UK by 31 December 2020, you can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living here after 30 June 2021. Applications usually close on 30 June 2021.

If you want to move to the UK on or after 1 January 2021, check if you need a UK visa.

If you’re not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen

The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

If you’re a family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you’ll need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. You’ll get either settled or pre-settled status if your application is successful.

If you’re a close family member, you have the right to reside without a document until 30 June 2021 - as long as your EU, EEA or Swiss family member was living in the UK by 31 December 2020 and either:

If you’re an ‘extended’ family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and you have a residence document, it will not be valid after 30 June 2021.

Extended family members include unmarried partners, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces.

Residence documents are:

If you’re an extended family member and you have a residence card, you can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

If you want to move to the UK on or after 1 January 2021, check if you need a UK visa.

You can apply from now until 30 June 2021 for an EEA Family Permit to enter the UK if you’re the unmarried partner of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen. Other close family members will be able to apply later in January 2021. The permit is usually valid for 6 months.

If you do not have a family member from the EU, EEA or Switzerland

You will automatically get a biometric residence permit (BRP) if you successfully apply to stay in the UK for longer than 6 months. You can apply for a BRP if you do not already have one.

You can apply for indefinite leave to remain in or enter the UK, if you meet the criteria.

If you have ‘a retained right of residence’ (for example if you were previously married to an EEA citizen) you can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

If you’re a Commonwealth citizen, you may be able to apply to prove you have ‘right of abode’ in the UK.