Permanent residence before 5 years
You automatically get permanent residence status in less than 5 years in certain situations.
However, you do not need a document to confirm your residence status in the UK unless:
- you want to apply for British citizenship
- you want to sponsor your partner’s visa application under the Immigration Rules
When you get permanent residence in less than 5 years
If you have to stop working
You get permanent residence immediately if you have to stop working permanently (known as ‘permanent incapacity’) because of 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 or more you get permanent residence if you have to stop working or being self-employed because of an accident or illness (known as ‘permanent incapacity’).
After you’ve been resident in the UK for 3 years
If you’ve lived continuously in the UK for 3 years or more, 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 continuously for 3 years or more beforehand
Using your proof of permanent residence document to apply for citizenship
To apply for citizenship, you need to have lived in the UK for:
- 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.