Citizens of foreign countries may be entitled to apply for Permanent Residence in the UK if they satisfy certain criteria. The requirements, however, are strict and complex.
With so much at stake for you and your future, it is important to seek legal advice early on the options open to you for your specific circumstances, to avoid delays and improve your chances of making a successful application for Permanent Residence.
What is Permanent Residence?
Permanent Residence grants an applicant the right to live, work and study in the UK without any immigration restrictions, while still holding a foreign citizenship and passport.
Permanent residence holders can over time become entitled to apply for naturalisation, or British Citizenship, if they meet further criteria.
Since November 2015, EEA citizens wishing to apply for British Citizenship must first hold EEA Permanent Residence.
Am I eligible to apply for Permanent Residence?
The type of UK visa you hold will dictate when you become eligible to apply for Permanent Residence:
- Partner of a British Citizen or Person settled in the UK visa: after two years for visas issued prior to 9 July 2012, after five or ten years if applied on or after 9 July 2012
- Tier 1 visa: after five years
- Tier 2 visa: in limited circumstances only, after five years
- UK ancestry visa: after five years
- Retired Person visa: after five years
- EU nationals and dependants: after 5 years
- Discretionary Leave to Remain: six years
- Long residence: after ten years continuous legal residency in the UK
- Returning resident: if settled in the UK prior to departure and returning to the UK within two years of departure, then may be able to apply immediately on return
You will need to be free of any unspent convictions irrespective of your visa type.
What will I need to show to apply for Permanent Residence?
As part of your application you will need to provide supporting evidence of your eligibility.
When completing the application form for your Permanent Residence card, you will also have to provide biometric information.
In the 12-month period prior to your application, you should aim to not be outside the UK for more than 90 days, and no more than 180 days in any prior consecutive 12-month period, with limited exceptions.
What you need to know about Permanent Residence
There is no time limit on Permanent Residence, but to keep your residency valid, you must adhere to a number of requirements. This includes avoiding spending periods of more than two years outside the UK, as this may lead to the loss of your Permanent Residence status.
Permanent Residence may also be revoked if you commit an offence that could lead to you being deported from the UK, or for reasons of national security.
Currently the Home Office advise that most applications take four to six months to be processed. The waiting time for appointments for a same-day decision is between four to six weeks.
How we can help
At DavidsonMorris we have the experience to advise you on the most appropriate type of application for your individual circumstances and have the insight to make the application process as smooth as possible. We can also advise if your permanent residence application has been refused.
As a team of immigration lawyers and former Home Office employees, we have an established reputation for effective and efficient management and processing of UK Permanent Residence applications.
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Your Questions Answered
How long do I need to have been in the UK for to apply for permanent residence?
You can apply for a permanent residence card after you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years.
I am an EEA national, do I have to apply for permanent residence?
Because of the uncertainty around Brexit and future changes to UK immigration rules, many EU citizens in the UK are choosing to apply for permanent residence to secure their status in Britain now.
In addition, EEA citizens wishing to apply for British Citizenship must first hold EEA permanent residence.
What does the application process entail?
The permanent residence form is 85 pages long. With more than a quarter of applications failing to meet the requirements, it is clearly causing issues for applicants.
You can submit your application using the paper form or online. A number of changes have been made to the online form since its introduction, but it remains a less flexible alternative to the paper form as all questions are mandatory.
Once you have completed the online form, you must then submit a signed and printed copy to the Home Office, along with the required supporting documentation that you must collate.
However you choose to apply, it is important you follow the process requirements and provide all relevant, valid supporting documentation to avoid delays or refusals with your application.
How long is the application process?
Due to increased application numbers since Brexit, applications have been taking longer to process. However, applications are currently taking around four to six months to be processed. The waiting time for appointments for a same-day decision is between four to six weeks.
What does it cost to submit a permanent residence application?
The current UKVI processing fee for permanent residence is £65 per applicant.
Can my family members also apply?
Direct family members of EEA citizens such as children, spouses and civil partners can apply as a direct family member.
Extended family members of EEA nationals can also apply, provided certain criteria are met.
Can I leave the UK with permanent residence?
Permanent residence permits you to leave and enter the UK without restriction.
However, you are advised to avoid spending periods of more than two years outside the UK, as this may lead to the loss of your Permanent Residence status.
How long does Permanent Residence last?
Permanent residence is just that – permanent. However, your status may be revoked if you spend long periods outside of the UK, if you commit an offence that could lead to you being deported from the UK, or for reasons of national security.
What happens if my application is refused?
If your application for permanent residence has been refused, you will be given the option to appeal, or you may make a new application.
Your next step will depend on your particular circumstances, and you would be advised to seek professional advice on which course of action is most appropriate for you.
Other points to note
As part of your application you will also have to provide biometric information.
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Permanent Residence Application
When making a permanent residence application, you are required to provide evidence of your participation in a ‘Qualifying Activity’ for a continuous period of five years