European Citizens in the United Kingdom

Current Position

Until the United Kingdom formally leaves the European Union, citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) continue to have a right to visit and to reside in the UK. We will have to wait to see what routes to residency or citizenship that the UK may grant as part of its withdrawal negotiations. In the meantime, EEA citizens are able to apply for Permanent Residence and then British Citizenship under the current rules summarised below.

Permanent Residence Card

A Permanent Residence Card grants to an EEA citizen the right to stay and to work in the UK for as long as they wish with continued access to the National Health Service.

An EEA citizen will be eligible to apply for the Card if

  • They have lived in the UK for a continuous period of five years; and
  • They are a ‘qualified person’ such as a worker, self-employed, self-sufficient, student or jobseeker or certain family members of a qualified person.

British Citizenship

British Citizenship grants the additional rights to vote and hold office in the UK and provides access to the UK’s global visa arrangements.

After an EEA citizen has held a Permanent Residence Card for one year they can apply for British Citizenship if they:

  • Have spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the previous year
  • Have spent no more than 450 days outside the UK in the previous 5 years (or no more than 270 days out of the previous 3 years if married to a British spouse)
  • Are of good character, evidenced by references
  • Plan to remain living in the UK
  • Have met the knowledge of English and life in the UK requirements
  • Are able to communicate satisfactorily in English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic

Applying for Permanent Residence or Citizenship

If you would like more information on applying for Permanent Residence and Citizenship, please contact Andrew Cooper on 020 7034 4200 or at  and he will be glad to assist.