If you are unsure about your immigration options as an EEA national in the UK, and whether to complete the permanent residence form or to register under the EU settled status scheme, speak to our legal advisers.
Applying for permanent residence can be a daunting process. The permanent residence form EEA (PR) is long and complex, and requires substantial supporting documentation. It pays to get your permanent residence form right first time, to avoid any issues that can result in delays with your application. The permanent residence application can take up to 6 months, unnecessary delays could add to this timeframe.
There are a number of common pitfalls which applicants can avoid when completing their permanent residence form.
1. Check your eligibility
You can only apply for your permanent residence card if you qualify.
To qualify you must have evidence of 5 continuous years of residency in the UK exercising your Treaty rights, such as wage slips, bank statements, bills.
In other words, an EEA national will need to have spent 5 years as a qualified person, working, seeking employment, self sufficient or as a student. Non-EEA nationals will also be required to supply this evidence of continuous residency.
If you can’t prove your continuous residency status, it is unlikely that your application will succeed.
2. Which permanent residence form?
The Home Office frequently make changes to their forms and you should submit on the most recent version to avoid processing issues or delays.
3. Read the questions carefully!
Errors commonly occur where the question hasn’t been read or understood correctly, resulting in incorrect answers, albeit honestly made.
It is also easy to omit important details, such as reference to a previous rejected application, if it is assumed the information is not relevant.
Read the form and the guidance notes thoroughly before you start to complete the form. Then gather all of the required information.
If you are a non-English speaker, it may be advisable to take support from a native English speaker to ensure you understand the questions and have answered in correct English.
4. Answer the right questions
You won’t need to complete all sections of the permanent residency application form, but you will be required to complete all sections relevant to you. Failure to do so will result in delays so it is advisable to seek legal advice to ensure that you have completed all relevant sections in full.
The online form is easier in this regard since the questions presented to you are tailored based on the responses you provide. It is also not possible to pass on a question without completing it. A paper form requires you to self-check and can be more prone to issues of missed sections.
5. Problems with supporting documents
You must ensure that your passport or national identity card is valid. These are critical in proving your nationality and identity. An out of date version, it will not be accepted.
The specific documents you provide will depend on your application and the nature of your qualifying activities.
If applying as a qualified person, ie a worker, self-employed person, self-sufficient, a jobseeker or a student, it is important that you supply sufficient documentation to prove that you have been exercising your Treaty rights for the full 5 continuous years.
For example, these could include P60s, wage slips, HMRC or NI documents, accounts for your business, bank account statements, letters from your college or university confirming your enrolment onto a course or in the case of a job seeker, a letter from Job Centre Plus, proof of benefits and any supporting documents that validate you are actively seeking employments. Original form documents only will be accepted, unless a specific exemption applies.
They must however provide evidence to cover the full qualifying period. Even if you have undertaken different qualifying activities during this time, such as changing employer, gone from employed to unemployed, started studying, left study to take up employment, or any other change, you will need to provide the evidence for each activity across the full 5-year period.
In reality this is of course not always straight forward. For example, if a previous employer has ceased trading. If you are having problems collating the relevant information, we would recommend seeking legal advice.
Also be aware to only supply the supporting documents that have been asked for. Additional and unnecessary information can delay your application.
6. Unexplained absences
You are required to have been a resident in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years prior to applying for permanent residency.
Continuous residence means that you have not spent more than 6 months outside of the UK in any given 12 month period over the 5 year qualifying period, with the exception of time spent outside of the UK for compulsory military service.
It is possible to spend up to 12 months outside of the UK for ‘important reasons’ such as pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, as part of your studies, vocational training or for an overseas posting. You will however be required to give supporting evidence to prove you had an important reason to be absent from the UK for up to the 12 month period.
Whatever your reason for being absent from the UK that falls outside of the 6 month criteria, you will need valid evidence to support your application or it will be rejected.
7. Don’t forget to sign
Another common mistake is that applicants forget to sign their permanent residence application forms. This signature is necessary to show you have read and understand all the information on the form and that you are providing a true and accurate account of your current status. The form will not be accepted without your signature.
8. Pay the correct application Fee
Permanent residence applications carry a fee of £65 per applicant to process. This is payable either prior to or at the time you submit your application. The fee is per person and not per application, so you will need to calculate your total fee accordingly. For example, if your application includes yourself and two family members, the charge would be £195.
If the correct fee is not included with your permanent residence form, it will be instantly rejected.
DavidsonMorris can help you to complete the permanent residence form
Permanent residence application forms are notoriously complicated and lengthy.
Given the nature of the eligibility and evidentiary requirements on applicants, it can be difficult to understand and interpret what is required for your specific circumstances.
DavidsonMorris provide help and guidance to individuals with their permanent residence application, ensuring you have completed all the questions relevant to you and provided the required information accurately and in the required format.
For guidance on your situation, contact our immigration specialists.