You may be able to apply for a ‘UK permanent residence document’ (sometimes called a ‘document certifying permanent residence’) if you are 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 are from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland.
Who can apply
You can apply as soon as you have got ‘permanent residence status’.
You usually qualify automatically for permanent residence status if you have been living in the UK for at least 5 years and you are doing one of the following:
- looking for work
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 have been living in the UK for 2 years.
If you reach State Pension age or retire early
You can apply after you have 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 have 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 have 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 will 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 will 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 are applying in the UK.
You cannot get immigration advice through this service.
What you will get
You will get a certificate inside either a blue ‘residence documentation’ booklet (or pink if you are 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.