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Permanent Residency

Permanent Residency Explained

You do not need to apply for a residence card to prove you can live in the UK unless you’re both:

  • from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
  • an extended family member of someone from the EEA or Switzerland

If you already have a residence card it will not be valid after 31 December 2020.

There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK until 2021. You and your family can apply for ‘settled status’ to continue living in the UK after June 2021. The scheme will open fully by March 2019.

If you are unsure of your position or would like to ensure that your application is handled by a knowledgeable specialist, get in touch with one of our friendly team members now on 0203 384 4389 to find out exactly how we can assist you to get it right first time round, saving you time, money and the heartache of being refused.

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Further Information

Who should currently apply

You do not need to apply for a residence card as a family member of an EEA or Swiss national, but it can:

  • help you re-enter the country more quickly and easily if you travel abroad
  • show employers you’re allowed to work in the UK
  • help prove you qualify for certain benefits and services

You must apply for a residence card if you’re an extended family member.

You must apply for a derivative right of residence card if you’re the carer of an EEA citizen or UK national, the carer’s child, or the child of a former worker from the EEA and you’re currently in education.

How long it lasts for

A residence card usually lasts up to 5 years.

However, your residence card will not be valid after 31 December 2020. You and your family can apply for ‘settled status’ to continue living in the UK. The scheme will open fully by March 2019.

If your residence card expires before March 2019, you can reapply for another residence card.

Eligibility

You can apply for a residence card if you’re both:

  • from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • the family member, or extended family member, of an EEA national who is a permanent resident or ‘qualified person’

You may also be eligible for a residence card if you have a ‘retained right of residence’ or make a ‘Surinder Singh’ application.

Qualified persons

A qualified person is someone who is in the UK and one of the following applies:

  • they’re working
  • they’re self-employed
  • they’re self-sufficient
  • they’re studying
  • they’re looking for work (only if they meet certain conditions)

Family members of EEA citizens

You can apply as a direct family member if you’re related to the EEA national as:

  • their spouse or civil partner
  • their (or their spouse or civil partner’s) child or grandchild who is under 21 or a dependant
  • their (or their spouse or civil partner’s) dependent parent or grandparent

If the EEA national is a student, you can only qualify as their family member if you’re:

  • their spouse or civil partner
  • their (or their spouse or civil partner’s) dependent child

Other relatives of students must qualify as extended family members.

Extended family members

You can apply as an extended family member if you’re either:

  • the unmarried partner of the EEA national and you’re in a long-term relationship with them that’s similar to a marriage or civil partnership
  • a relative of the EEA national (or of their spouse or civil partner) but you do not qualify as their family member

Relatives include brothers or sisters, aunts or uncles, nephews or nieces and cousins. Relatives can also include grandchildren, parents and grandparents if the EEA national only has the right to reside as a student.

As well as being a relative of the EEA national, one of the following must be true:

  • before coming to the UK you were dependent on the EEA national, or were a member of the EEA national’s household, and you’re still dependent on them or are still a member of their household
  • you need the personal care of the EEA national (or of their spouse or civil partner) on serious health grounds

Extended family members must have a valid EEA permit or residence card to stay in the UK.

Your application is considered based on your individual circumstances and you may not be approved for a residence card even if you meet the conditions.

Retained rights of residence

You can also apply if you used to have a family member, or extended family member, who was a permanent resident or qualified person. This is called a ‘retained right of residence’. You may get this if, for example:

  • your marriage or civil partnership to an EEA citizen has ended (with a divorce, annulment or dissolution)
  • your EEA family member has died and you lived in the UK as their family member for at least one year before their death
  • you’re in education and you’re the child of an EEA citizen (or their current or former spouse or civil partner) who has left the UK or died
  • your child has a retained right of residence because they’re in education in the UK (and you have custody of them)

You’ll need to prove:

  • that your family member, or extended family member, was a permanent resident or qualified person at the time your family relationship ended
  • how the relationship ended, for example a death certificate or decree absolute if you divorced

You can only retain your right of residence as an extended family member if both the following apply:

  • you currently hold a valid residence card as the extended family member of an EEA national
  • you meet all of the relevant conditions

You cannot retain your right of residence if you were the unmarried partner of the EEA national and that relationship has broken down.

‘Surinder Singh’ applications

You might be able to make a ‘Surinder Singh’ application if you lived in anotherEEA country with an eligible family member who’s a British citizen before returning to the UK.

Your British family member must be one of the following:

  • your spouse (husband or wife) or civil partner
  • your parent or grandparent (or their spouse or civil partner) – you must also be under 21 years old or dependent on them
  • your child or grandchild (or their spouse or civil partner) – you must be dependent on them

Eligibility

To be eligible, your British family member must either have the right to permanent residence in the EEA country where you lived together, or provide proof that they were one of the following there:

  • working, self-employed or self-sufficient – for example employer’s letters, wage slips, contracts, bank statements or proof of tax registration
  • studying – for example proof of enrolment and attendance

They must also work, study, look for work, or be self-employed or self-sufficient in the UK.

Proof you’ll need to give

Both you and your British family member must prove that you genuinely made your home in the EEA country where you lived together. It must have been your main residence or base for the ‘centre of your life’.

You’ll need to prove that you both:

  • lived there together – for example your addresses, time spent living at each address and any proof of renting or buying a home
  • were integrated there – for example you spoke the language, had children born or living there, or were involved in your local community

You must also provide lists showing all your:

  • previous travel to and from the UK – include the dates you arrived and left
  • other UK visa or immigration applications – include whether you applied from inside or outside the UK, and details of each visa or permission to stay if you were successful
  • removals, deportations and other immigration penalties in the UK

After you apply, you might get a letter asking you or your British family member to give more information or go to an interview.

Your application will be refused if it looks like you only lived in another EEA country to get UK residence by making a ‘Surinder Singh’ application.

Documents you must provide

For each person on the application you’ll need to provide:

  • a current passport
  • 2 passport size colour photographs
  • one passport size colour photograph of your European Economic Area (EEA) national (or British citizen) sponsor
  • your EEA family member’s valid passport or national identity card
  • evidence of your relationship to your EEA family member – such as a marriage certificate, civil partnership certificate, birth certificate, or proof that you’ve lived together for 2 years if you’re unmarried

You also need to provide proof of one of the following, depending on your eligibility:

  • that your EEA family member has a permanent right of residence
  • that your EEA family member is a ‘qualified person’
  • that you qualify because of a ‘retained right of residence’
  • that you qualify for a ‘Surinder Singh’ application

You’ll need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.

You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.

Biometric information

You’ll be asked to provide your biometric information as part of your application.

You’ll need to:

  • have a digital photo taken of your face
  • put your fingers on a glass screen to be scanned
  • give your signature

Children

Children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or someone over 18 who has legal responsibility for the child. If the responsible adult is not the parent or guardian, they must be named on the application form.

Children under 6 years old do not need to provide fingerprints but must have a digital photo taken of their face.

If you have a medical or physical condition

If you do not have any fingers or hands you’ll only need to have a digital photo taken of your face. It will be noted on your records that you’re physically unable to provide fingerprints.

If you or any dependants need any special arrangements to give your biometrics, include a letter from your doctor with your application. The letter must include the details of your condition and the special arrangements you need.

Permanent Residence Card

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

However, you do not need a permanent residence card to confirm your residence status in the UK unless:

  • you’re an extended family member of someone from the European Economic Area or Switzerland and are yourself not an EEA or Swiss national
  • you want to apply for British citizenship
  • you want to sponsor your partner’s visa application under the Immigration Rules

Your residence card will not be valid after 31 December 2020.

You and your family can apply for ‘settled status’ if you want to continue living in the UK after June 2021. The scheme will open fully by March 2019.

Eligibility

You’re eligible if both of the following apply:

  • you’ve lived with your EEA family member in the UK for a continuous 5 year period
  • your EEA family member has been a ‘qualified person’ throughout the 5 years or has a permanent right of residence

You can also get permanent residence if you’ve lived in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years:

  • as the extended family member of an EEA national and you’ve held a valid EEA family permit and a residence card throughout
  • first as the family member of an EEA national and then with a retained right of residence
  • as the family member of a British citizen, if you entered the UK under the EU law after living in another EEA country (‘Surinder Singh’ route)

You can get permanent residence before 5 years if either:

  • you were living with your EEA national family member, who was working or self-employed in the UK, immediately before their death
  • your EEA national family member was working or self-employed in the UK but has ‘ceased activity’ (stopped work or self-employment because of retirement or permanent incapacity, or because they’re now working or self-employed in another EEA state but are still resident and return to the UK at least once a week)

Biometric information

You’ll be asked to provide your biometric information as part of your application.

You’ll need to:

  • have a digital photo taken of your face
  • put your fingers on a glass screen to be scanned
  • give your signature

Children

Children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or someone over 18 who has legal responsibility for the child. If the responsible adult is not the parent or guardian, they must be named on the application form.

Children under 6 years old do not need to provide fingerprints but must have a digital photo taken of their face.

If you have a medical or physical condition

If you do not have any fingers or hands you’ll only need to have a digital photo taken of your face. It will be noted on your records that you’re physically unable to provide fingerprints.

If you or any dependants need any special arrangements to give your biometrics, include a letter from your doctor with your application. The letter must include the details of your condition and the special arrangements you need.

Biometric information

You’ll be asked to provide your biometric information as part of your application.

You’ll need to:

  • have a digital photo taken of your face
  • put your fingers on a glass screen to be scanned
  • give your signature

Children

Children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or someone over 18 who has legal responsibility for the child. If the responsible adult is not the parent or guardian, they must be named on the application form.

Children under 6 years old do not need to provide fingerprints but must have a digital photo taken of their face.

If you have a medical or physical condition

If you do not have any fingers or hands you’ll only need to have a digital photo taken of your face. It will be noted on your records that you’re physically unable to provide fingerprints.

If you or any dependants need any special arrangements to give your biometrics, include a letter from your doctor with your application. The letter must include the details of your condition and the special arrangements you need.

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