6 Reasons to Apply for Permanent Residence if you are an EU National in the UK

On the 23rd June, 2016 the people of the UK had their say in the EU Membership Referendum. The slim majority of votes were interpreted as the people’s will to leave the EU.

Some EU nationals took the referendum result personally and withdrew their private banking mandates in London. Others set up English subsidiaries of their EU companies as they wished to benefit from the UK double taxation treaty network and its international trade links.

In the days after the referendum, we saw the British pound sterling plummet, which made the real estate cheaper to buy. If you are into currency trading and understand how it is done, this time was for you.

EU (EEA/Swiss) nationals experienced greater uncertainty and sought to formalise their immigration status with the Home Office. One of the best ways to do so is to apply for the document certifying the permanent residence in the UK.

Here are the reasons why we think the EU (EEA/Swiss) nationals ought to formalise their status in the UK.

1. Greater certainty and predictability

A document certifying the permanent residence in the UK means that the EU national is no longer subject to UK immigration restrictions in the UK.

It is awarded after 5 years of lawful and legal residence in the UK and if the person is the ‘qualifying person’ under the EU law. The qualifying person is a worker, student, self-employed person or in certain cases a retired person.

However, the permanent residence only lasts if the person continues to live in the UK and does not go to live overseas for 2 years.

2. British citizenship

From November, 2015 permanent residence status is the required first step to apply for British citizenship through naturalisation for EU (EEA/Swiss) nationals.

British citizens are permitted to reside in the UK permanently and indefinitely. They also do not lose their citizenship and the right to live in the UK if they go to live overseas for the indefinite period of time.

However, at the time of application, the applicant is expected to forge their lasting ties with the UK and want to continue to live in the UK.

UK permits to hold more than one citizenship and it is regarded as one of the strongest passports globally.

3. Protection under the EU Treaty

The rights of the EU (EEA/Swiss) nationals in the UK are derived directly from the EU Treaty and are directly applicable in the UK.

One of the key provisions within the Treaty that the EU (EEA/Swiss) nationals are to be treated no less favourably than the British nationals. The authorities in the UK are under the legal obligation under EU law not to discriminate EU (EEA/Swiss) nationals in favour of the British nationals.

The rights of the EU (EEA/Swiss) nationals are protected not only under the domestic law, but also EU law and its institutions. The legal action becomes available directly under the provisions of the EU law.

4. Treatment of non-EEA/Swiss nationals

It has been long suggested that there is too much influx of immigration in the UK and therefore, a number of UK national immigration policies are adopted that aim to curb the immigration numbers in the UK.

Extensive immigration categories have been revised not to permit the applicants to settle permanently and indefinitely in the UK. Certain leave holders are expected to leave the UK once the permitted number of years of their legal stay expires.

5. Treatment of British family members who are non-EEA/Swiss nationals

British family members who are non-EEA/Swiss nationals would normally seek to base their legal immigration status, if it is possible directly under the EU Treaty rather than UK immigration domestic policies.

A well known case is that of Singh where a family member sought re-entry to the UK under the EU law rather than the UK law. The person did not qualify for the right to entry under the UK domestic, but could come back to the UK and gain entry to the UK under the EU law.

Over the recent years one of the most eroded categories are that of the dependants. It became practically impossible to bring dependants into the UK under the UK domestic route because of extremely stringent criteria.

However, the route afforded to the family members and dependants for EU (EEA/Swiss) is much more generous provided the necessary criteria is met.

6. The ease of international travel

If you need to apply for a visa to enable your international travel, it is more likely that an EU (EEA/Swiss) national will be required to produce less supporting documents for their visa application.

Normally, it will be regarded sufficient if the EU (EEA/Swiss) national produces only their passport and document certifying permanent residence in the UK. Meanwhile, a British national may be required to produce a little bit more evidence in addition to their passport.

Lastly, a non-EE/Swiss national may be required to leave their documents for much longer timeframe to complete their inspection.


At the moment, EU (EEA/Swiss) nationals receive the most favourable treatment in the UK if they are regarded the qualifying person under the EU law.

Permanent residence status is the opportunity to seal your current immigration status permanently and indefinitely in the UK provided you do not leave the UK to live overseas for two years after such status is granted to you.

At the moment, the rejection rate for EU (EEA/Swiss) nationals applying for permanent residence is at 28%. Normally, the reason of rejection is a poorly prepared application and the absence of evidence that is mandatory for the application.

We have a strong background in the EU law and therefore, we are well placed to guide you through the application process and its requirements. For any queries, please contact us on: saule@hnilondon.co.uk or 0203 286 4887.

I am the single point of contact for ultra and high net worth individuals who need to develop their global wealth strategy, which aligns with their personal vision, their business and investment goals and then meets regulatory, legal and compliance requirements. I help them navigate the applicable regulatory and legal framework and tailor bespoke and comprehensive approach across UK immigration law, global financial structuring and tax advice, set up, administer and review their trust, business and fiduciary structures and benefit with cost effective foreign currency conversions. As their trusted adviser, I preserve the integrity of their global vision and keep their personal and business matters private and protected; while they build, grow and expand their wealth worldwide.

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