EEA Nationals Registration in the UK: what you need to know?

Who can apply for Permanent Residence Card in the UK?This relates to EEA national registration certificate and non-EEA family member residence card in the UK. And also issuance of the document certifying a right of permanent residence to an EEA national and permanent residence card in the UK. Moreover, the post provides the details of immigration statistics from 2004-17 relating to EEA registration certificates, Non-EEA residence card, the document certifying a right of permanent residence to an EEA national and permanent residence card in the UK to non-EEA nationals.

Registration Certificate for EEA & Residence Card for Non-EEA

An EEA national needs to apply for a registration certificate as proof of residence in the UK. However, a non-EEA national needs to apply for a residence card as a proof of residence in the UK.

Who Needs to Apply for a Registration Certificate?

An EEA national does not need a registration certificate to confirm the residence status in the UK unless he/she is an extended family member of a ‘qualified’ (eligible) EEA national.

Residence Certificate will cease to exist after Dec 31, 2020

Registration certificates will not remain a valid proof of residence in the UK after 31 December 2020. Accordingly, EEA national will need to apply for ‘settled status’ to continue living in the UK after June 2021 even if he/she already has a registration certificate.

Applying for a Registration certificate as a qualified person

EEA or Swiss national who is in the UK as a worker (including those who have retained their worker status), a self-employed person (including those who have retained their self-employed status), self-sufficient person, student or a jobseeker can apply for a registration certificate. Moreover, the applicants need to apply online (where applicable) or using form EEA(QP).

Applying as a direct family member of an EEA or Non-EEA

The direct family member of an EEA national needs to apply for a registration certificate. However, the direct family member of a non-EEA national needs to apply for a residence card. Accordingly, following direct family members of an EEA national or non-EEA national can apply for a registration certificate or a residence card in the UK:

  • of an EEA national who is a qualified person
  • of an EEA national with a right of permanent residence
  • who has retained a right of residence under regulation 10
  • of a British citizen who qualifies under regulation 9
  • of a national of an EEA state who have acquired British citizenship and
    therefore qualifies under regulation 9A

An application for a residence card must be submitted while the applicant is in the UK. Applicants must apply online (where applicable) or using the specified form EEA(FM).

Applying as Extended Family Member of an EEA or Non-EEA National

The extended family member of an EEA national needs to apply for a registration certificate. However,  the extended family member of a non-EEA national needs to apply for a residence card. Accordingly, extended family members can apply for a registration certificate or residence card of an EEA national who is a qualified person or has a right of permanent residence in the UK.

An application for a residence card must be submitted while the applicant is in the UK. Applicants must apply online (where applicable) or using the specified form EEA(EFM).

UK Immigration Statistics: EEA Reg Certificate and Residence Card

From 2005 to 2017, 994,383 applications made for the issuance of registration Certificates and residence Cards from EEA and non-EEA Nationals. Accordingly, 740,881 Registration Certificates and Residence Cards issued during the period. And also 169,103 applications refused and 84,399 applications declared Invalid.

EEA Reg Certificate & Non-EEA Residence Card Refusal Rate 2014-17

Apparently, the invalid applications (84,399) account for 8.40% of the Total Applications (994,383) for Registration Certificates and Residence Cards. Therefore, the overall success rate and refusal rate as a percentage of total applications (994,383) was 74.50% and 17.01%, respectively. Perhaps, the refusal rate as a percentage of valid applications (909,984) is slightly higher at 18.58%.

Registration Certificates (EEA Nationals) and Residence Cards (Non-EEA Nationals) Statistics 2004-17

Year Total Applications (A = B+C+D) Issued (B) Refused (C) Invalid Applications (D) Refusal Rate (E = C/A)
2004 32,865 26,877 5,988 z 18.22%
2005 45,258 40,161 5,097 z 11.26%
2006 70,261 67,054 3,167 40 4.51%
2007 74,048 67,584 6,296 168 8.50%
2008 42,937 36,680 4,961 1,296 11.55%
2009 69,613 60,416 9,123 74 13.11%
2010 57,470 44,550 12,802 118 22.28%
2011 68,794 47,655 8,495 12,644 12.35%
2012 56,135 32,219 9,478 14,438 16.88%
2013 63,768 38,746 20,922 4,100 32.81%
2014 70,744 42,638 21,719 6,387 30.70%
2015 64,929 40,058 17,065 7,806 26.28%
2016 108,407 74,342 22,834 11,231 21.06%
2017 169,154 121,901 21,156 26,097 12.51%
Total 994,383 740,881 169,103 84,399 17.01%

Permanent Residence Card and Docs Certifying Permanent Residence

For permanent residence, an EEA national needs to apply for a document certifying permanent residence. However, a non-EEA national needs to apply for a permanent residence card.

Eligibility Requirements for EEA and Non-Nationals

Accordingly, the following types of EEA nationals and non-EEA nationals can apply for a document certifying permanent residence or a permanent residence card, respectively, if the EEA or Non-EEA national is:

  • residing in the UK in accordance with the regulations for a continuous period of 5 years.
  • being an EEA national, or the family member of an EEA national with whom they reside, who has ceased activity in accordance with regulation 5
  • being the family member of an EEA national worker or self-employed person who has died, where the conditions of regulation 15(1)(e) are met
  • being a family member of an EEA national who has resided in the UK in accordance with the regulations for a continuous period of 5 years, and at the end of the 5 years have retained the rights to residence, in line with regulation 15(1)(f)

Applicants must apply online (where applicable) or using the specified form EEA(PR).

UK Immigration Statistics: Permanent Residence Card and Documents

From 2004 to 2017, 542,669 applications made for the issuance of documents certifying permanent residence and permanent residence cards by EEA and Non-Nationals, respectively. Accordingly, 401,519 documents certifying permanent residence and permanent residence cards issued during the period. And also 89,678 applications refused and 51,472 applications declared Invalid.

Permanent Residence Cards and Documents Refusal Rate 2014-17

Apparently, the invalid applications (51,472) account for 9.48% of the Total Applications (542,669) for documents certifying permanent residence and permanent residence cards. Therefore, the overall success rate and refusal rate as a percentage of total applications (542,669) was 73.98% and 16.53%, respectively. Perhaps, the refusal rate as a percentage of valid applications (491,197) is slightly higher at 18.26%.

Documents Certifying Permanent Residence (EEA Nationals) and Permanent Residence Cards (Non-EEA Nationals) Statistics 2004-17

Year Total Applications Issued Refused Invalid Applications Refusal Rate
2004 10,781 8,654 2,127 z 19.73%
2005 13,223 10,424 2,799 z 21.17%
2006 10,594 8,782 1,796 16 16.95%
2007 9,100 7,641 1,455 4 15.99%
2008 5,183 4,080 1,095 8 21.13%
2009 13,257 11,441 1,809 7 13.65%
2010 24,422 20,306 4,116 0 16.85%
2011 28,380 21,159 1,999 5,222 7.04%
2012 27,264 15,259 2,437 9,568 8.94%
2013 38,076 22,479 13,204 2,393 34.68%
2014 29,706 19,749 6,935 3,022 23.35%
2015 27,271 18,064 5,984 3,223 21.94%
2016 91,859 65,068 19,064 7,727 20.75%
2017 213,553 168,413 24,858 20,282 11.64%
Total 542,669 401,519 89,678 51,472 16.53%

EEA Document Certifying Permanent Residence in the UK

An EEA document certifying permanent residence in the UK is for EEA nationals who have lived in the UK and exercised Treaty rights for a continuous period of at least 5 years or more.  An EEA Document Certifying Permanent Residence confirms the right of permanent residence in the UK of an EEA national.

Eligibility Reqs: EEA Document Certifying Permanent Residence

An EEA national needs to satisfy the following requirements that he/she has:

  • lived in the United Kingdom for a continuous period of 5 years
  • genuinely exercised the Treaty rights as a self-employed person, student, worker or self-sufficient person during the 5 year period. And also that
  • not remained absent from the UK for more than 6 months in any one year (except for an important reason, such as military service or maternity)

Do an EEA National usually wait for 5 years before applying?

No. Perhaps, it is quite possible to get an EEA Document Certifying Permanent Residence immediately without waiting for five years. An applicant can apply earlier if he/she has stopped working permanently due to an illness or accident, and an EEA national’s spouse or civil partner is a British national. And also if a work-related accident or illness that entitles a UK pension.

Can an EEA National apply for Permanent Residence after 2 years?

Yes. Perhaps, an EEA national can get an EEA Document Certifying Permanent Residence after two years due to a genuine reason, if an EEA national has continuously lived in the UK for 2 years because of an accident or illness has to stop working as an employed or self-employed person. However, it is important that the applicant was either working or self-employed when he/she had to stop working due to an illness or accident.

Can an EEA National apply for Permanent Residence after 3 years?

Yes, an EEA national can get an EEA Document Certifying Permanent Residence after three years if an applicant has:

  • reached the age for the state pension. However, the applicant needs to be self-employed or worked continuously in the UK for at least one year prior to reaching the state pension age
  • retired early. However, the applicant needs to work continuously in the UK for at least one year prior to early retirement
  • started work as an employed or self-employed person in another EEA country. However, the applicant usually needs to return to home in the UK once a week and has worked as employed or self-employed in the UK for three years continuously prior to the application

Naturalisation and EEA Document Certifying Permanent Residence

Apparently, it is not a legal requirement to obtain an EEA Document Certifying Permanent Residence. Perhaps it is due to the fact that the right of permanent residence exists as a matter of EU law. However, an EEA Document Certifying Permanent Residence acts as confirmation of the rights of permanent residence in the UK and this will make it easier to re-enter the UK, prove the right to work and obtain various services in the UK.

Certainly, it is necessary to obtain an EEA Document Certifying Permanent Residence before applying for Naturalisation as a British Citizen. And also if an EEA national intend to sponsor his/her spouse or civil partner’s application under the immigration rules.

Processing time for EEA Document Certifying Permanent Residence

The service standard of the UKVI to process an application for permanent residence (settlement) such as EEA Document Certifying Permanent Residence is usually within 6 months. However, due to the administrative workload, the complexity of the case and other considerations the actual processing time may exceed beyond 6 months.

How to apply for EEA Document Certifying Permanent Residence?

An EEA national may apply online for an EEA Document Certifying Permanent Residence and can also add direct or extended family members to the application. Moreover, an applicant does not really need to provide evidence for the entire duration of time spent in the UK. Perhaps, an applicant can rely on and may provide evidence for any continuous 5 years period for qualifying for the permanent residence.

Furthermore, if an applicant is relying on a qualifying period of residence that ended more than 2 years ago then the applicant needs to provide the evidence that he/she has not spent more than 2 consecutive years outside the UK since the qualifying period ended. Perhaps, the one loses the permanent residence status is one remain outside the UK for 2 years continuously.

Who is a European Economic Area (EEA) National?

A person is a European Economic Area (EEA) national if he/she is a citizen of one of the following countries:

Austria (EU 14), Belgium (EU 14), Bulgaria (EU 14), Croatia (EU Other), Republic of Cyprus (EU Other), Czech Republic (EU 8), Denmark (EU 14), Estonia (EU 8), Finland (EU 14), France (EU 14), Germany (EU 14), Greece (EU 14), Hungary (EU 8), Iceland (not a member of EU), Ireland (EU 14), Italy (EU 14), Latvia (EU 8), Liechtenstein (not a member of EU), Lithuania (EU 8), Luxembourg (EU 14), Malta (EU Other), Netherlands (EU 14), Norway (not a member of EU), Poland (EU 8), Portugal (EU 14), Romania (EU 14), Slovakia (EU 8), Slovenia (EU 8), Spain (EU 14), Sweden (EU 14) and the United Kingdom.

However, if a person has a permanent residence of EEA country and not the citizenship then the person is not an EEA national.

Freedom of Movement Rights for an EEA National

A European Economic Area (EEA) National has the same freedom of movement rights as that of a European Union (EU) citizen. The UK’s EEA Regulations extend free movement rights to all EEA and Swiss nationals. Switzerland is neither a member of the EU or the EEA. Since June 2002, Swiss citizens have had rights which are similar to those of EEA nationals.

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