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The benefits of applying for Permanent Residence as an EEA National after UK’s referendum on EU membership!

As the political decision on Britain’s membership of the European Union and immigration continues to be hotly debated, free movement rights of European migrants are being placed at risk. If you need our support to complete forms please contact us on 03000 075 0105, 07868723419 or e-mail us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This article aims to demonstrate the benefits of applying for permanent residence in the UK even if you are European national and can enjoy a right of free movement in accordance with current European legislation.
Under regulation 15 of The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 European nationals automatically acquire a permanent right of residence in the UK after five years continuous residence as a qualified person.
“Qualified persons” is defined in Regulation 4, 5 and 6 of The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 and this includes workers and jobseekers, self-employed, students, self-sufficient and retired persons. Those European citizens who have been unemployed, incapable of work or who have claimed public benefits in the UK may still fall under the category of qualified persons.
Regulation 3 defines continuity of residence and requires a person not to be absent from the UK for more than six months. Having said that, there are some exemptions, when a six months to one year’s absence from the UK will not break the continuity of the five year period.
Nationals of countries such as Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania should take into account their respective Accession card period when applying for Permanent Residence.
The current Permanent Residence application fee is £65 and the legal deadline for the Home Office to decide your application is 6 months. There have been cases of people receiving compensation for the Home Office’s failure to issue European documents within this timescale. There is no requirement to undertake an English language test or the Life in the UK test in this situation.

So, what are the benefits of getting your Permanent Residence confirmed?
Having extensive experience in different types of case, our immigration team at Diversity Voice can highlight the main advantages of applying for a Permanent Residence. These include:
- Before a person becomes a permanent resident in the UK s/he must be a qualified person, i.e employee, self-employed, student or self-sufficient. There are also potential difficulties with relying on public funds especially with the current government policy. Having acquired a Permanent Residence and having it confirmed by the Home Office, you can be more relaxed in the sense of exercising Treaty rights and you can also rely on public funds should you need help;
- If you are planning to become a British citizen after obtaining the documents confirming your Permanent Residence, you can do so after 1 year and then you will be naturalised as a British citizen. If you can enclose your permanent residence document, there will be no need to go back six years and therefore naturalisation is far easier and quicker;
- If your family members are third country nationals and they want to join or remain with you in the UK you have to be a qualified person if you are in the country for more than 3 months. If you have acquired and received confirmation of your permanent residence and you are no longer a qualified person at that point, your family will still be able to join you or remain with you in the UK;
- If you want to bring your fiancé to the UK and you have documents certifying Permanent Residence, you can use these documents when applying under UK Immigration law as a person settled in the UK;
- In removal and deportation cases, the decision maker will take into account whether a person has acquired Permanent Residence in the UK. The Home Office however can still deport you on serious grounds of public policy or public security even if you have acquired Permanent Residence. We have seen that in deportation and removal cases our clients would benefit from having their right of Permanent Residence previously confirmed.
- If you want to register your child as a British citizen your Permanent Residence in the UK will assist your child’s British nationality application;
- and finally, if the Government and people of Britain vote to leave the European Union and you have obtained a document certifying Permanent Residence in the UK you may be better protected to remain in the UK indefinitely. The changes in immigration policy and legislation if the UK exits the EU are still unknown but as an EU national with Permanent Residence it may provide some peace of mind and ease your concerns to know that you will not need to evidence your right to Permanent Residence should the UK exit the EU.

If you think that you may have an entitlement to Permanent Residence in the UK and you would like to apply for a Permanent Residence card under EEA PR form attached; or if you have any questions in relation to your immigration status in the UK as a European national then please feel free to contact our office and we would be pleased to help you with your application.
Diversity Voice offers a range of advice to migrants including benefits advice, Social Housing advice, Habitual Residency Test (HRT) support and Right to Reside (R2R) help.

Our website: http://www.diversityvoice.com/en/information/legal-advice.html contains information and links to downloadable useful forms for non UK nationals and benefits forms.