FAQs – Permanent Residence

Here are the answers to the most FAQs on Permanent Residence:


FAQs on Permanent Residence

What is Permanent Residence?

Permanent Residence (PR) is a residence status that gives an EEA national the right to permanently live, study and work in the UK without any immigration restrictions or ongoing requirements, while still holding their non-UK citizenship and passport.

Who can acquire PR?

PR can be acquired by EEA nationals who have continuously resided in the UK for 5 years as a ‘qualified person’. Family members of ‘qualified’ EEA nationals can also acquire PR.

What is a ‘Qualified Person’?

A ‘qualified person’ is someone living in the UK that falls into one (or more) of the following categories:

  • a worker
  • self-employed person
  • self-sufficient person
  • a student
  • a job seeker
What is a PR card?

A PR card is the document which proves a person’s PR status. Successful applications for PR grant the holder a PR document, also known as a PR card.

Does obtaining PR make me a dual national?

No, PR simply signals your right to stay in the UK. It does not make you a British citizen nor does it have any effect on your current nationality.

Is it compulsory for EEA nationals to apply for a PR card?

Applying for a PR card is optional. However, obtaining a PR card gives you the option to apply for British naturalisation (citizenship).

As an EEA national, do I need to apply for a PR card before I can apply for a British passport?

Yes, as of November 2015 you must have proof of your PR status before you can apply for British nationality and a British passport.

What is the cost of applying for a PR card?

The application fee is £65 per person.

Can my family members apply at the same time as me?

Yes, your family members’ applications can be submitted along with your application. However, you must remember to make a separate payment for each application.

How long will it take for the Home Office to process my PR card application?

Most applications can take between 4 to 6 months to be processed. However, this is not a fixed time frame and the response time can vary depending on the complexity of the application.

If I need to travel while my PR card application is being processed, can I submit a copy of my passport instead of the original?

If our clients show us their original passports, we can submit a verified copy with their application. This will allow you to travel during the time your application is being processed.

Can I apply for a PR card if I live in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales?

Yes, you can apply from any country part of the United Kingdom.

Do I need to pass the Life in the UK test before applying for a PR card?

No, there is no requirement to take the Life in the UK test for a PR card application. You are only required to pass the Life in the UK test if you are applying for British naturalisation.

Do I need to show proof of the English language before applying for a PR card?

No, there is no requirement to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the English language.

What if I’ve been in the UK for more than 5 years as a Qualified Person?

You can select the 5 years you would like to rely on for the application, as long as a qualifying activity has been carried out during those years and you can prove the same. For example, if you’ve been in the UK for 9 years and were a student for 4 years and working for 5, you can decide to rely on the 5 working years as long as you can provide sufficient proof. You could also combine two or more qualifying activities to rely on as part of the application.

Are all of the requirements for the qualifying activities the same?

No, the requirements differ based on the nature of the activity involved:

  • a worker – proof of employment throughout the 5 years
  • self-employed person – proof of registration as self-employed with HMRC and proof of income and NI contributions
  • self-sufficient person – proof of self-sufficiency and private medical health insurance
  • a student – proof of study and private medical health insurance
  • a job seeker – proof of applying for jobs and job applications
I have lived in the UK for more than 10 years and want to apply for British naturalisation. I have already passed the Life in the UK test, do I still have to get a PR card?

Yes, a PR card is still required. Due to changes in the law in November 2015, EEA nationals must have proof of their PR status before they can apply for British naturalisation. This is necessary even if you have been living in the UK for more than 5 years prior to November 2015.

I have lived in the UK for 4 years and 5 months, can I apply for a PR card in advance? 

No, you need to provide evidence demonstrating at least 5 years of continuous residence in the UK on the date of your application. Your application will be refused if you apply before this time. Additionally, you will not receive a refund for the Home Office application fee.

I am married to a British national, do I still need to apply for a PR card before applying for British citizenship?

Yes, EEA nationals married to British nationals are still required to apply for a PR card before applying for British citizenship. However, they can apply for British citizenship as soon as they acquire PR whereas PR card holders that are not married to British nationals have to hold PR for a year before applying for citizenship.

What is continuous residence?

It is one of the requirements of obtaining PR – you must not have left the UK for more than 6 months in one calendar year during the 5 qualifying years in the UK. Unless under exceptional circumstances, those who do not abide by this rule will not be granted a PR card and they will have to apply once they have 5 years of continuous residence.

I have been going on holiday every year for 2 months during my 5 years of residence in the UK, can I still apply for a PR card?

Yes, you can still apply. Continuous residence is defined as being present in the UK for at least 6 months in one calendar year. You may be absent from the UK for more than 6 months in one calendar year in exceptional circumstances.

I have had gaps in my employment during my 5 year continuous residence in the UK, can I still apply for a PR card?

You can apply for a PR card if you can prove that you were actively seeking work during your employment gaps. Evidence can include letters or emails to potential employers, your CV and other information related to your job search.

I have been working in the UK for more than 5 years and am currently on maternity leave, can I apply for a PR card at this time?

Yes, you are eligible to apply for a PR card.

I have been convicted of criminal offences, can I still apply for a PR card?

The seriousness and nature of your criminal convictions will be considered when your PR application is reviewed by the Home Office. Therefore, it is crucial that your application includes a full disclosure of any past convictions.

Is it possible to lose my right to PR?

Yes, you can lose the right to PR if you have been deported or if you have been living outside the UK for 2 continuous years.

How can NA Law Solicitors help?

As specialists in individual immigration, we can help you apply for your PR card. If you have any questions about anything mentioned in this FAQs or have specific queries about your immigration matter, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free 15-minute telephone consultation.

For more information PR and about each route to obtaining PR, visit the following:

The PR card application process 

PR as a worker

PR through self-employment

PR through self-sufficiency

PR as a student

PR through a combination of qualifying activities 

PR and absences from the UK

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