Difference between ILR and PR
ILR, PR – what’s the difference?
If you’re looking to settle in the UK and are uncertain about the difference between ILR and PR or about which route is right for you, this article will distinguish the two in terms of the requirements and application process.
It is worth noting that both ILR and PR have the same effect – namely, the individual that possesses either one can settle in the UK without immigration or time restrictions and can choose to do what they wish in the UK.
Permanent residence (PR)
Proving certain criteria have been fulfilled, PR is a right automatically given to EEA nationals and they do not need to apply for it. However, if individuals wish to have this right confirmed on a travel document, they can apply for a Permanent Residence Card (PRC). A PRC is optional and does not grant any rights that the individual does not already have, but simply acts as a valid proof of their status in the UK.
This process is becoming more commonplace due to the current political climate and the uncertainty of European nationals’ rights in the UK due to Brexit. Obtaining a PRC may offer peace of mind to some, as it is proof that they have a certain right in the UK.
If you wish to determine whether you are eligible for PR and whether you can apply for a PRC, please consider the following:
Who does it apply to?
EEA nationals that have stayed in the UK for at least 5 years whilst undertaking a ‘qualifying activity’ under the Citizen’s Directive.
Am I eligible?
If you are an EEA national that has stayed in the UK for more than 3 months but less than 5 years, you are not eligible for PR, unless these exceptions apply. You must continue with the activity until your stay in the UK exceeds at least 5 years and you should not leave the UK for more than 6 months during that time.
If you are an EEA national that has stayed in the UK for 5 years or more whilst undertaking a ‘qualifying activity’ and have not left the UK for more than 6 months, you are automatically eligible for PR.
I’ve been in the UK for 5 years or more without leaving for more than 6 months. But what is a ‘qualifying activity’?
To determine whether you have been undertaking a ‘qualifying activity’, you must have exercised your European Treaty rights in the UK. Essentially, this means that you should have made use of the rights available to you as a European citizen during those 5 or more years in the UK.
‘Qualifying activity’ refers to one or a combination of these categories: worker, self-employed, self-sufficient and student. If you wish to apply for a PRC, you must provide documents evidencing your activity over the years.
If the above apply to you, you are automatically granted PR. As previously mentioned, this enables you to enter and remain in the UK for as long as you wish, without the need for travel, work or study visas and cannot be revoked unless you leave the UK for more than 2 years.
If you wish to apply for a PRC to confirm this right on a document, you can do so here.
Please note that these requirements are subject to change under Brexit; EEA nationals will need to apply for ‘settled status’ from 2019.
ILR is an immigration status given to non-EEA nationals that wish to settle in the UK without time restrictions. Unlike PR, ILR is not a result of European regulation and is obtained through UK national immigration laws.
Who does it apply to?
Non-EEA nationals that have stayed in the UK for at least 5 years under a permitted visa route. If you want to check whether your current visa enables you to settle in the UK, please click here to find out.
My visa permits me to settle in the UK. Are there any more requirements?
You must not have spent more than 180 days each year out of the country during your 5 or more years in the UK. You may also be required to take a Life in the UK test and be subjected to an English language requirement.
Like PR, once you are granted ILR, it is a permanent status. It enables you to enter and remain in the UK for as long as you wish, without the need for travel, work or study visas and cannot be revoked unless you leave the UK for more than 2 years or commit a serious crime.
For a visual overview of the difference between PR and ILR, please click here: ILR, PR – what’s the difference?