If you are unsure about your immigration options as an EEA national in the UK, and whether to complete the EEA PR Form or to register under the EU settled status scheme, speak to our legal advisers.
The EEA PR form is used to apply for a document that certifies UK permanent residence status if you are a qualifying EEA or Swiss national, or non-EEA national who is a family member to an EEA national.
Documentary evidence that you have attained permanent residency will be required if you intend to make a subsequent application for British citizenship.
At 85 pages long, the EEA PR form is extensive and can be challenging for applicants to complete.
We look at some of the key considerations when making your application for a permanent residence card using form EEA (PR).
Who needs to complete the EEA PR form?
Before you complete the EEA PR form, it will be important to first check that you are in fact eligible to apply for permanent residency.
You must have lived in the UK while exercising your Treaty rights here for a continuous period of 5 years in order to attain permanent residence status.
This means that EEA nationals need to have spent 5 years in the UK as a qualified person, i.e. a person who was either working, seeking work, self sufficient or a student, prior to applying for a document certifying permanent residence.
This also includes EEA nationals who have since retired, become permanently incapacitated or are now working in another EEA state whilst retaining residence in the UK.
Preparing to apply using the EEA PR form
The application can be made online or in paper form.
To apply online you will need to have all your supporting documents prepared in advance. The online application will only ask you to answer questions relevant to you, based on the information you provide.
You can download the application to edit it, you can also save and return to it later.
When you have completed the application, the Home Offie fee will be payable in order to submit the form. The current fee (June 2018) is £65 for each individual included in the application.
Finally you will need to print off your form and include it with all your supporting documents to send to the Home Office.
The advantage of the online application form is that it may be possible to make an appointment with your Local Authority to have them authenticate your passport, where they offer the European passport return service. This must be within 10 days of filing the application. The benefit is that you will be able to retain your passport whilst your application is being processed. The European passport return service is available with local authorities or premium service centres that are registered. You will need to check that they offer this service, which can be done by searching European passport return service for your area.
With the paper form, you will need to go through each section and pick out the relevant questions to you. This places additional pressure on applicants to ensure the form is completed fully.
Once the form is completed, you will need to send it, with the relevant fee and all supporting documents, to the Home Office. Your passport will be retained until the application process is completed.
If you have included qualifying family members on the same form, there will be a charge of £65 for each individual on the form.
If the incorrect fee is paid or enclosed with the application form, your form will be rejected without consideration, less an admin charge.
A valid passport, national identity card or travel document are required.
You will need to provide 2 passport sized photographs of yourself and any others named on the application form including any children under the age of 18, with names clearly written on the back of the photo. Your sponsor will also need to include a passport size photograph clearly named on the back.
If you have family members applying on the application, you will need to include evidence of your relationship to them, whether this is a marriage or birth certificate or any other required proof.
For any non-EEA national family members, their biometric data will need to be included as per the biometric enrolment letter.
As well as completing all relevant parts of the EEA PR form, you will be required to provide all relevant supporting documentation, in their original format (except where indicated) and where required, translated into English.
You will need to provide evidence to cover the full 5-year period. The type of evidence will depend on your circumstances and qualifying activity, and could include utility bills, bank/credit card statements, education authority letters, HMRC employment records, tenancy or mortgage agreements, NHS letters that confirm regular attendance or mobile phone bills.
Non-EEA family members will also need to provide this evidence.
Should 2 years or more have elapsed since your qualifying period ended, you will also be required to provide one piece of evidence for each 12 month period to prove you were resident in the UK.
For children of school age, you will need to provide a letter from their school that confirms their attendance.
Additional information on completing the EEA PR form for non-EEA nationals
A non-EEA national must have been resident for 5 years in the UK as a family member of an EEA national qualified person or a permanent UK resident.
However, should the EEA national that sponsored you die, cease activity, leave the UK, or you are no longer married to or living with them but have retained you right of residence, you may still use the EEA PR form to apply for a permanent residence card.
Family members of British citizens who have worked in a different EEA state prior to returning to the UK may apply under Surinder Singh cases using the EEA PR form.
An extended family member of an EEA resident will need to have held a valid registration certificate, residence card or EEA family permit for the 5-year qualifying period.
Non-EEA nationals will need to provide biometric information, i.e. fingerprints and a digital photograph, as part of their application. You can provide your biometric information via the post office providing they have a Home Office biometric enrolment section.
What are the common pitfalls of the EEA PR form?
Issues with supporting documentation and incomplete or inaccurate information commonly result in application delays and even refusals. For example, special permission is required if you can only send a copy of a document, otherwise all supporting documents need to be in their original form.
Any documents that are not in original English or Welsh will need to have an authorised translation included. Bank statements that are printed from online accounts will be required to have the bank’s official stamp to authenticate the documents.
Absences are another area of complexity for applicants. Absences from the UK during the qualifying period will need to be listed. Excessive absences of more than 6 months may require further explanation or assurances for the Home Office to deem your residence in the UK has been of a permanent nature.
Failure to declare any criminal convictions, whether committed in the UK or elsewhere, will result in your application being rejected. Full disclosure is mandatory. Spent convictions, and police cautions may also show in a criminal record check. If you do have a criminal conviction, this may not necessarily impact your application, for example if relating to a minor offence. Take advice on your circumstances and how best to approach presenting this information such as providing character references to support your application.
Once your application has been received and payment has cleared, the Home Office will make an assessment on whether to grant your permanent residency. This decision should take no longer than 6 months although timescales can vary depending on the Home Office caseload.
There is unfortunately no premium service available for permanent residence applications.
Once you have received your permanent residence document you may start to look at the application process for UK naturalisation. If you are married to or in a civil partnership with a UK citizen, and provided you satisfy the relevant criteria, you may apply for British citizenship as soon as you receive your permanent residence document.
You will otherwise need to wait 12 months from the date of issue of your permanent residence card before you are eligible to apply for British citizenship.
DavidsonMorris can help with the EEA PR form
As there is so much at stake when applying for permanent residency, it is highly advisable to seek legal advice to support you through the process, including how to complete the EEA PR form.
For guidance on your situation, contact our immigration specialists.