If you have lived legally in the UK for a five-year period you can apply for a permanent residence card to prove your immigration status and your entitlement to settle in the UK.
Are you eligible?
You can apply for the card if you have lived in the UK with a EEA family member over a continuous period of five years and the family member in question was a ‘qualified person’ or has been granted the right to live permanently in the UK.
You may also be eligible for permanent residence if you have lived in Britain for five years as an EEA national’s extended family member and have had a valid residence card or EEA family permit; if you have lived in the UK for five years as an EEA national’s family member and then held a retained right of residence; or if you came to the UK as a result of the Surinder Singh route as a British citizen’s family member.
If you have no EEA relations in Britain, you may still be able to qualify for permanent residence in the UK after living in the country for ten years. Find out more in our Guide to ten-year long residence applications.
Becoming a permanent resident before five years
It may be possible to get permanent residence early if the EEA family member with whom you were living dies or they experience a change in circumstances. This may include ceasing work as a result of illness or retirement. You must also meet certain other conditions. Seeking advice from an experienced immigration lawyer can allow you to find out more about these criteria.
In order to apply for a permanent residence card to prove your immigration status you will need to provide biometric information. This can be achieved at certain branches of the Post Office and costs £19.20. It should take less than five minutes to complete.
The process involves having a digital facial image taken, providing your signature and having your fingers scanned on a glass screen.
Children aged under six years will not need to give fingerprints but they will need to have their photograph taken. Children younger than 16 will also need to be accompanied by an adult who has legal responsibility for them, such as a parent or guardian. Any responsible adult who isn’t the child’s guardian or parent must have been included in the youngster’s application form.
In some cases, physical or medical conditions can prevent the gathering of some of this biometric information. If you cannot provide fingerprints as a result of amputated hands or fingers, for example, notes must be made on your records.
Anyone who may need special arrangements in order to provide their biometric information should obtain a doctor’s letter explaining the issues and include this with any application. The letter should include the nature of the special arrangements that will be required and details of the specific condition or conditions that make special arrangements necessary.