UK residence card and EEA registration certificate guidance!

UK permanent residence card and eea registration certificateThis relates to UK residence card, EEA registration and PR card under the EEA Regulations 2016. And, covers the details of EEA registration certificates, UK residence card for the non-EEA family members, a document certifying permanent residence (aka EEA PR card), derivative and UK permanent residence card. And accordingly, provides the details of frequently asked questions (FAQs), application fee, processing time and certificates of application (COA) and refusal rate of UK residence and PR cards. Therefore, the post covers the following topics:

  1. FAQs: UK residence card and documents under EEA Regulations 2016
  2. EEA registration certificate: who can apply?
  3. UK residence card guidance for non-EEA nationals
  4. EEA registration certificate and UK residence card statistics
  5. UK permanent residence card and EEA documents certifying PR
  6. Permanent residence statistics under the EEA Regulations
  7. What is a certificate of application (COA)?
  8. UK residence cards and documents refusal rate
  9. UK residence cards processing time

1) FAQs: UK residence card and documents under EEA Reg 2016

Most noteworthy: due to Brexit, the UK residence card, EEA registration certificates, PR cards etc issued under EEA Regulations will not remain valid after Dec 31, 2020. However, there will be no change to the rights of EU nationals living in the UK until June 30, 2021. However, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal the EU nationals rights living in the UK will not change until Dec 31, 2020.

Therefore, in order to enable EEA national to continue their residence in the UK, the Home Office from March 29, 2019, has introduced a new route under Appendix EU. Accordingly, the  EEA nationals and non-EEA family members can apply for settled and pre-settled status in the UK under the new EU settlement scheme (EUSS).

Moreover, in addition to EEA family permit, from March 29, 2019, a non-EEA family member can also apply for EUSS family permit from outside the UK without proof of entitlement. Perhaps, if they have a proof of entitlement then can also directly apply under the EU settlement scheme from outside the UK.

Types of applications under the EEA Regulation 2016

Apparently, under the EEA Regulations 2016, EEA nationals and their non-EEA family members can make the following types of applications from inside and outside the UK

  1. EEA family permit (for non-EEA family members from outside the UK)
  2. Registration certificate for EEA nationals
  3. UK residence card for non-EEA family members
  4. A document certifying permanent residence for EEA nationals (perhaps aka EEA PR card)
  5. UK permanent residence card for non-EEA nationals (perhaps aka EEA PR card)
  6. UK derivative residence card

Moreover, applicants can also get a temporary admission for making an application in person.

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. In the UK, the 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.

What is the meaning of a valid application?

Certainly, an application for an EEA registration certificate, UK residence card, document certifying permanent residence (aka EEA PR card), permanent residence card and derivative residence card is only valid if it is:

  1. submitted on the specified application form, with all relevant sections completed
  2. accompanied by the relevant fee, documentation and evidence or proof required under EEA Regulations 2016
  3. not an invalid application due to a removal, deportation or exclusion order

When an application is invalid due to incomplete forms?

Perhaps, an application for EEA registration certificate, UK residence card, a document certifying permanent residence (EEA PR card), permanent residence card and derivative residence card is rejected as invalid if it is incomplete. Accordingly, an applicant needs to complete all relevant sections of the application form. Moreover, when the following sections of the application form are incomplete the application is usually rejected as invalid:

  1. Always required: payment details (and payment of the fee), applicant’s details and applicant declaration
  2. Required, where relevant:
    • biometric information for non-EEA nationals
    • the details of the EEA sponsor for non-EEA family members
    • the declaration of the EEA sponsor
    • inclusion of family members, if the EEA national is applying online with the family members

An application invalid due to a removal or exclusion order

Apparently, an application for EEA registration certificate, UK residence card, a document certifying permanent residence (EEA PR card), permanent residence card and derivative residence card is invalid if the applicant is subject to:

  1. a removal decision under regulation 23(6)(b) of EEA Regulations 2016
  2. a deportation order under regulation 32(3) of EEA Regulations 2016
  3. an exclusion order under regulation 23(5) of EEA Regulations 2016

However, if a deportation or exclusion order against the applicant is not under the EEA Regulation 2016, then such an order does not make an application for EEA registration certificate, UK residence card, a document certifying permanent residence, permanent residence card and derivative residence card invalid.

Does the Home Office deduct administration charges?

Yes, from 18 March 2016, the Home Office retains an administration fee from in-country invalid applications for EEA registration certificate, UK residence card, a document certifying permanent residence, permanent residence card (EEA PR card) and derivative residence card. Accordingly, deducts £25 administration fee before refunding the application fee to the applicant.

Can Home Office waive the application fee?

No, apparently there is no legal basis to waive the application fee for EEA registration certificate, UK residence card, a document certifying permanent residence, permanent residence card (EEA PR card) and derivative residence card. Accordingly, the Home Office does not process an application if an applicant fails to pay the correct fee. Perhaps, even in such cases where the Home Office has accepted an application in error!

Is the translation of documents necessary?

Apparently, the Regulation (EU) 2016/1191, aka Simplification Regulation, applies from Feb 16, 2019. And accordingly, the regulation removes the need to have documents legalised (i.e. no more apostilles, or their equivalents in the other EU member countries). Therefore, applicants no longer required to provide a certified English translation. Instead, on request from the applicant, the EU/EAA Member countries, provide the multilingual standard forms (MSFs) for onward submission.

Home Office accepts MSF from Feb 16, 2019

Accordingly, from Feb 16, 2019, the Home Office accepts MSFs in place of certified English translations of documents. Therefore, at the time of presenting the original documents, an applicant should also provide the MSFs for documents such as a birth, marriage, death, divorce or adoption certificate. Perhaps, there is no exhaustive list for MSFs.

Can I keep my EU/EEA passport during application processing?

Apparently, from April 9, 2019, the service has been discontinued. Perhaps, in the context of EEA residence document and PR card, the European Passport Return Service (EPRS) was an optional service, which allowed the applicants to keep his/her EU/EEA passport during the application processing. Accordingly, as per procedure, an applicant required to take his/her EU/EEA passport to a participating local authority for verification and copying. And the local authority then sends a copy of the applicant’s passport to the Home Office. Therefore, instead of submitting the original EU/EEA passport, the EPRS enabled an EEA/EU national to keep his/her passport during the application processing.

2) EEA registration certificate: who can apply?

Certainly, an EEA national can apply for a registration certificate under EEA Regulations 2016 if he/she is a qualified person. Perhaps, EEA nationals can also apply for an EEA registration certificate as a family member of: 

  1. another EEA national who is either a qualified person or permanent residence in the UK
  2. another EEA national and has retained a right of residence in the UK

Applying for EEA registration certificate as a qualified person

Apparently, an EEA national in the UK can apply for an EEA registration certificate if he/she is a:

  1. worker, including applicants who have retained a worker status
  2. self-employed person, including those who have retained the self-employed status
  3. self-sufficient person
  4. student
  5. jobseeker

Document checklist for a valid application

Accordingly, an EEA national can make a valid application for an EEA registration certificate as a qualified person if the applicant:

  1. submits the application either online (if applicable) or by using the specified form EEA(QP)
  2. submits a correct and complete application for EEA registration certificate
  3. pays the relevant application fee for EEA registration certificate i.e. £65 for each applicant
  4. provide a valid original EEA national identity card or passport issued by an EEA state
  5. provides the evidence as a qualified person in the UK

Can a qualified EEA national apply with family members?

Yes, if a qualified EEA national is applying for registration certificate online then can add family members. However, if a qualified person applying for an EEA registration certificate using the EEA(QP) form then cannot include their EEA family members on the same application form. Therefore, needs to use either EEA(FM) for a direct family member or EEA(EFM) for an extended family member.

Applying EEA Registration certificate as a direct family member

Certainly, an EEA national, who is not a qualified person, can also apply for an EEA registration certificate as a direct family member. Accordingly, an EEA national can apply for a registration certificate as a direct family member if he/she:

  • is the family member of an EEA national who is a qualified person or the sponsoring EEA national has a right of permanent residence
  • has retained a right of residence under regulation 10 of EEA Regulations 2016

Moreover, direct family members of a British citizen, who qualify under Regulation 9, can also apply for an EEA registration certificate. And also that of a national of an EEA country who have acquired British citizenship and qualifies under regulation 9A.

Documents for a valid EEA registration certificate application

Accordingly, an EEA national can make a valid EEA registration certificate application as a direct family member if the applicant:

  1. submits the application either online (if applicable) or by using the specified form EEA(FM). Apparently, a family member can only submit an EEA registration certificate online if he/she is applying with a relevant EEA national sponsor.
  2. submits a correct and complete EEA registration certificate application
  3. pays the relevant application fee – £65 for each applicant
  4. submits a valid EEA original national identity (ID) card or passport issued by an EEA member country for the applicant
  5. a valid passport or valid national ID card for the relevant EEA national sponsor
  6. proof that the applicant is a family member of a relevant EEA national sponsor. For instance, the evidence may include a marriage or birth certificate
  7. proof that the relevant EEA national is a qualified person or a permanent residence in the UK. Perhaps, the evidence relating to a qualified person may vary depending upon the basis on which the relevant EEA national is exercising his/her free movement rights under the EEA Regulations 2016

EEA registration certificate for an extended family member

Certainly, an extended family member (EFM) of a qualified EEA national or with a right of permanent residence in the UK do not have an automatic right of residence. Accordingly, if an extended family member (EFM) intends to reside in the UK, under the EEA Regulations 2016, beyond an initial 3 months then needs to apply for an EEA registration certificate.

Who can apply for an EEA registration certificate as an EFM?

Apparent, a partner of the EEA national in a durable relationship can apply as an extended family member (EFM). However, such a partner should not be a spouse or civil partner. Moreover, a relative of the EEA national, who is not a direct family member, can also apply for an EEA registration certificate if he/she:

  • has been dependent on the EEA national before coming to the UK and continues to be dependent on the EEA national
  • has been a member of the EEA national’s household and continues to remain a member of an EEA national’s household
  • is experiencing serious health problems and requires personal care of the EEA national. And also would meet the requirements in the immigration rules for indefinite leave to enter/remain as a dependent relative in addition to the entry clearance requirements

What is the required documentary evidence?

Accordingly, an EEA national, if he/she has not previously been issued with residency documentation, then can make a valid application for an EEA registration certificate as an extended family member (EFM) if the applicant:

  1. submits the application either online (if applicable) or by using the specified form EEA(EFM)
  2. submits a correct and complete EEA registration certificate application
  3. pays the relevant application fee – £65 for each applicant
  4. submits a valid original EEA national identity (ID) card or passport issued by an EEA member country for the applicant
  5. provides a valid passport or valid national ID card for the relevant EEA national sponsor
  6. evidence of the relationship between the EFM and the relevant EEA national sponsor
  7. proof that the relevant EEA national has permanent residence or is a qualified person. Perhaps, this evidence will vary depending upon the basis on which the EEA national is exercising his/her free movement rights
  8. if applicable, evidence that EFM is in a durable (lasting) relationship with the qualified EEA national
  9. if applicable, a relative of the EEA national and are dependent on them, a member of their household, strictly need the personal care of the relevant EEA sponsor on serious health grounds or would meet the requirements in the immigration rules for indefinite leave to enter/remain as a dependent relative

3) UK residence card guidance for non-EEA nationals

Certainly, a non-EEA national can apply for a UK residence card if he/she is the family member of a qualified EEA national or a family member of an EEA national with a right of permanent residence. Moreover, non-EEA nationals can also apply for UK residence card if he/she has retained a right of residence under regulation 10. However, non-EEA nationals can only apply for a UK residence card from inside the UK.

Documents checklist for UK residence card application

Accordingly, a non-EEA national can make a valid application for a UK residence card as a direct family member if the applicant:

  1. submits the application either online (if applicable) or by using the specified form EEA(FM). Apparently, a family member can only submit an application for a UK residence card if he/she is applying with a relevant EEA national.
  2. submits a correct and complete application for UK residence card
  3. pays the relevant application fee – £65 for each applicant
  4. submits his/her valid original passport
  5. provides a valid passport or valid national ID card for the relevant EEA national, who is sponsoring the application
  6. submits required proof that the applicant is a family member of the relevant EEA national. For instance, a marriage or birth certificate
  7. submits proof that the relevant EEA national is a qualified person or has permanent residence. Perhaps, the evidence relating to a qualified person may vary depending upon the basis on which the relevant EEA national is exercising his/her free movement rights under the EEA Regulations 2016

Applying for UK residence card as an extended family member

Certainly, an extended non-EEA family member (EFM) of a qualified EEA national or with a right of permanent residence in the UK do not have an automatic right of residence. Accordingly, if an extended non-EEA family member (EFM) intends to reside in the UK, under the EEA Regulations 2016, beyond an initial 3 months then needs to apply for the UK residence card.

Who can apply for a UK residence card as an EFM?

Apparent, a partner of the EEA national in a durable relationship can apply as a non-EEA extended family member (EFM). However, such a partner should not be a spouse or civil partner of the relevant EEA national. Moreover, a non-EEA relative of the EEA national, who is not a direct family member, can also apply for UK residence card if he/she:

  • has been dependent on the EEA national before coming to the UK and continues to be dependent on the EEA national
  • has been a member of the EEA national’s household. And apparently continues to remain a member of an EEA national’s household
  • is experiencing serious health problems. And requires personal care of the EEA national and would meet the requirements in the immigration rules for indefinite leave to enter/remain as a dependent relative in addition to the requirements relating to entry clearance

Documentary evidence for UK residence card for an EFM

Accordingly, a non-EEA national, if he/she has not previously been issued with residency documentation, can make a valid application under Regulation 18 for UK residence card as a non-EEA extended family member (EFM) if the applicant:

  1. submits the application either online (if applicable) or by using the specified form EEA(EFM)
  2. submits a correct and complete application for UK residence card
  3. pays the relevant application fee – £65 for each applicant
  4. submits a valid passport
  5. provides a valid passport or valid national ID card for the relevant EEA national, who is sponsoring the application
  6. evidence of the relationship between the EFM and the relevant EEA national
  7. submits proof that the relevant EEA national has permanent residence or is a qualified person. Perhaps, evidence relating to a qualified person may vary depending upon the basis on which the relevant EEA national is exercising his/her free movement rights
  8. if applicable, evidence that EFM is in a durable (lasting) relationship with the relevant EEA national
  9. if applicable, the applicant needs to provide proof that he/she is a relative of the relevant EEA national and dependent on them, a member of their household, strictly need their personal care on serious health grounds or would meet the requirements in the immigration rules for indefinite leave to enter/remain as a dependent relative

4) EEA registration certificate and UK residence card statistics

During 2005-2017, a total of 994,383 applications made for the issuance of EEA registration certificates and UK residence Cards by EEA and non-EEA nationals, respectively. Accordingly, the Home Office issued a total of 740,881 registration certificates and UK residence cards. Moreover, 169,103 applications refused and 84,399 applications declared Invalid.

UK residence card refusal rate

Apparently, the invalid applications (84,399) account for 8.40% of the total applications (994,383) for EEA registration certificates and UK residence cards. Therefore, the overall success rate and refusal rate for EEA registration certificates and UK residence card 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%.

YearTotal applicationsResidence cards and certificates issuedApplications refusedInvalid applicationsRefusal Rate for valid applications
Total994,383740,881169,10384,39917.01%
200432,86526,8775,988z18.22%
200545,25840,1615,097z11.26%
200670,26167,0543,167404.51%
200774,04867,5846,2961688.50%
200842,93736,6804,9611,29611.55%
200969,61360,4169,1237413.11%
201057,47044,55012,80211822.28%
201168,79447,6558,49512,64412.35%
201256,13532,2199,47814,43816.88%
201363,76838,74620,9224,10032.81%
201470,74442,63821,7196,38730.70%
201564,92940,05817,0657,80626.28%
2016108,40774,34222,83411,23121.06%
2017169,154121,90121,15626,09712.51%

5) UK permanent residence card and EEA documents certifying PR

Apparently, 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 UK permanent residence card.

The 5-year route for permanent residence

Perhaps, there are different immigration routes available for acquiring permanent residence aka settlement in the UK. However, the most common route to acquire permanent settlement is to reside in the UK under the EEA regulations for a continuous period of 5 years. Accordingly, this may include time spent in the UK as:

  1. an EEA national qualified person
  2. the family member of a qualified EEA national
  3. the family member of an EEA national with a right of permanent residence
  4. a family member who has retained a right of residence under regulation 10

An applicant can rely on more than one category

Perhaps, an applicant can rely on residence in more than one of the above-listed categories to make up the 5 year period as long as that period was continuous. For instance, an EEA national may have resided in the UK for a period of time as the direct family member of an EEA national before becoming a qualified person in his/her own right.

Moreover, an EEA national, or the family member of an EEA national, may also qualify for UK PR card or documents certifying permanent residence after a period of fewer than 5 years in certain circumstances. Perhaps, these may include:

  1. an EEA national, or the family member of an EEA national with whom they reside, who has ceased activity in accordance with regulation 5
  2. a family member of an EEA national worker or self-employed person who has died, where the conditions of regulation 15(1)(e) are met

Meaning of continuity of residence under the EEA Regulations

Perhaps, the overarching principle applied to the consideration of minor gaps in evidence is aligned to the Free Movement of Persons Directive (2004/38/EC) rule that continuity of residence is not broken by absences from the UK of up to 6 months in any 12 month period. However, the decision-maker can exercise evidential discretion on a case by case basis.

For instance, if an applicant provides 5 years of P60s then this is usually a cogent piece of evidence for residence in the UK. Perhaps, if there is a period of job-seeking for less than 6 months and the period is immediately followed by strong evidence that the applicant was working then the decision-maker may conclude that the job-seeking activity was undertaken in accordance with the 2016 regulations.

Can an applicant apply for permanent residence after 2 years?

Yes, if under the EEA Regulations the applicant has continuously lived in the UK for 2 years and 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 applicant apply for permanent residence after 3 years?

Yes, an applicant can apply for permanent residence under EEA Regulations after three years if he/she 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

Documentary evidence for permanent residence

Accordingly, an EEA national and their EEA and non-EEA family members and extended family member can apply for permanent residence in the UK under the EEA Regulations 2016, if the applicant:

  1. submits the application either online (if applicable) or by using the specified form EEA(PR)
  2. submits a correct and complete application for UK permanent residence card (non-EEA national) or document certifying permanent residence (EEA national)
  3. pays the relevant application fee – £65 for each applicant
  4. submits proof of identity, which is:
    • for EEA nationals – a valid original national identity card or passport issued by an EEA member country
    • for non-EEA nationals – a valid original passport
  5. provides evidence relating to a right to permanent residence, either:
    • because they have resided in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years and had a right of residence under the regulations throughout that period or
    • because they fulfil one of the other qualifying conditions to obtain permanent residence

Applying as a family member or an extended family member

If an applicant is applying as a family member (FM) or extended family member (EFM) of an EEA national then needs to provide:

  1. a valid passport or valid national identity card for the relevant EEA national sponsor
  2. evidence, where relevant, to show they are, or their family member is, an EEA national worker or self-employed person who has ceased activity
  3. evidence, where relevant, that they were the family member of an EEA national worker or self-employed person who has died, they resided with that EEA national immediately before their death, and either:
    • the worker or self-employed person had resided continuously in the UK for at least the 2 years immediately before their death
    • the death was the result of an accident at work or an occupational disease

Moreover, an applicant with a retained right of residence needs to submit evidence that he/she has resided in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years.

Why an EEA national should apply for a document certifying PR?

Apparently, it is not a legal requirement for an EEA national to obtain a document certifying permanent residence in the UK. Perhaps, the right of permanent residence exists as a matter of EU law. However, for an EEA national, a document certifying permanent residence acts as confirmation of the rights of permanent residence in the UK. Therefore, enables an EEA national to easily re-enter the UK, prove the right to work and obtain various services in the UK.

What if an EEA national intends to apply for naturalisation?

If an EEA national intends to naturalise in the UK then it is necessary to obtain a document certifying permanent residence before applying for British naturalisation. And also if an EEA national intend to sponsor his/her spouse or civil partner’s application under the immigration rules.

6) Permanent residence statistics under the EEA Regulations

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.

UK permanent residence card refusal rate

Apparently, the invalid applications (51,472) account for 9.48% of the Total Applications (542,669) for EEA documents certifying permanent residence and UK 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%.

YearTotal ApplicationsIssuedRefusedInvalid ApplicationsRefusal Rate
Total542,669401,51989,67851,47216.53%
200410,7818,6542,127z19.73%
200513,22310,4242,799z21.17%
200610,5948,7821,7961616.95%
20079,1007,6411,455415.99%
20085,1834,0801,095821.13%
200913,25711,4411,809713.65%
201024,42220,3064,116016.85%
201128,38021,1591,9995,2227.04%
201227,26415,2592,4379,5688.94%
201338,07622,47913,2042,39334.68%
201429,70619,7496,9353,02223.35%
201527,27118,0645,9843,22321.94%
201691,85965,06819,0647,72720.75%
2017213,553168,41324,85820,28211.64%

7) What is a certificate of application (COA)?

Apparently, a certificate of application (COA) is a document issued by the Home Office that confirms the holder has submitted an application for a UK residence or derivative residence card under the EEA Regulations 2016. Certainly, the COA does not confirm that the holder has a right of residence in the UK. According, this section covers the following facets of a certificate of application (COA):

  1. What is the difference between short and long COA?
  2. Why biometrics enrolment for UK residence card is necessary?
  3. The time limit for biometrics enrolment and issuance of COA
  4. Issuance of short COA due to a change in the identity
  5. COA timelines for UK residence cards
  6. COA timelines for UK derivative residence cards
  7. Issuance of long COA for direct family members
    • When a direct family member gets a short COA?
  8. Long COA for persons who have retained a right of residence
    • Exceptions
  9. Issuance of short COA for extended family members
  10. Issuance of long COA for derivative rights applications

What is the difference between short and long COA?

Perhaps, a short COA confirms receipt of an application but does not confirm any right to work for the applicant. However, a long COA not only confirms receipt of an application but also confirms that the applicant can take employment in the UK whilst their application is outstanding.

Why biometrics enrolment for UK residence card is necessary?

From April 6, 2016, in terms of the Immigration (Provision of Physical Data) Regulations 2006, a non-EEA national applying for a UK residence card needs to enrol for biometrics for the issuance of a document confirming the right to reside in the UK under European Union (EU) law. Accordingly, if an applicant fails to enrol for biometric information then the application deems as an invalid. And in such instances, the Home Office does not issue a certificate of application (COA).

The time limit for biometrics enrolment and issuance of COA

Apparently, an applicant has 15 days to enrol from biometrics. And the Home Office issues a COA after biometrics. Therefore, the time limit for issuance of COA mainly depends on how quickly an applicant went through the biometrics for the PR card application. Perhaps, usually, the Home Office issues either a long or a short COA within 2-3 working days after biometrics.

Issuance of short COA due to a change in the identity

Perhaps, if the Home Office has evidence that the applicant has previously known by a different identity then the most recent identity for a UK residence card or derivative residence card, then the Home Office issues a short COA.

COA timelines for UK residence cards

Apparently, as per regulation 18(3) of the EEA Regulation 2016, on receipt of a valid application for a UK residence card, the Home Office issues a COA immediately.

COA timelines for UK derivative residence cards

Moreover, as per regulation 20(2), on receipt of a valid application for a UK derivative residence card, the Home Office issues a COA as soon as possible.

Issuance of long COA for direct family members

Usually, the Home Office issues a long COA to an applicant applying for a UK residence or derivative residence card as a direct family member. Accordingly, an applicant can take employment in the UK during the application consideration process. However, in order to get a long COA, a direct family member needs to ensure the submission of:

  1. a valid passport
  2. a valid EEA national ID card or passport for the EEA national
  3. evidence of relationship to their EEA national. For instance, marriage or birth certificate
  4. evidence that the EEA national has either:
    • exercised free movement rights in the UK as a jobseeker, worker, self-employed person, self-sufficient person or student or
    • permanent residence in the UK

When a direct family member gets a short COA?

Apparently, if an applicant fails to submit all the requisite evidence then an applicant may get a short COA, which certainly does not confirm a right to take employment in the UK. However, in such cases, even after submission of the requisite evidence, the Home Office does not issue a long COA. Therefore, an applicant cannot take employment during the decision-making process.

Long COA for persons who have retained a right of residence

Certainly, Home Office issues a long COA to an applicant applying for UK residence card on the basis of the retained right of residence under regulation 10. However, the applicant needs to provide the following evidence with the application:

  1. a valid passport
  2. a valid national ID card or passport for the EEA national
  3. evidence of the termination of a relationship. For instance, decree absolute, a final order of dissolution of a civil partnership, death certificate. And also the evidence that the EEA national either:
    • exercised free movement rights in the UK as a jobseeker, worker, self-employed person, self-sufficient person or student at the date of the termination
    • had permanent residence in the UK at the date of the termination

Exceptions

Perhaps, in some cases of retained rights, an applicant may not be able to provide either the EEA national’s identity or evidence they were exercising free movement rights at the date of the termination. Therefore, if an applicant is able to provide a reasonable explanation for the missing information then the Home Office may issue a long COA. For instance, if an applicant provides evidence that he/she was the victim of domestic violence by the EEA national then may get a long COA.

Issuance of short COA for extended family members

Apparently, the Home Office only issues a short COA to extended family members (EFM). Perhaps, irrespective of the evidence submitted by the applicant.

Issuance of long COA for derivative rights applications

Apparently, Home Office issues a long COA to an applicant applying for UK derivative residence card. However, the applicant needs to provide the following evidence with the application:

  • a valid passport
  • a valid passport or EEA national ID card for the person they claim to derive a right from
  • the evidence of relationship to the person for whom they claim to be the primary carer

However, if the applicant fails to provide any of the above evidence with the application, then gets a short COA.

8) EEA PR and UK residence card processing time

Perhaps, in the light of the EEA Regulations 2016 and procedural requirements, the timelines for the issuance of EEA registration certificate and a document certifying permanent residence, aka EEA PR card, to EEA nationals is quicker than that for issuing the UK residence card, permanent residence card and derivative residence cards to non-EEA nationals and family members. However, if an EEA national apply online with the non-EEA family members, then the processing time may be the same. Perhaps, within 3-5 weeks.

EEA registration certificates processing time under Reg 17(1)

In terms of Regulation 17(1) of the EEA Regulations 2016, Home Office needs to issue an EEA registration certificate to a qualified person, immediately on receipt of an application and production of the relevant documents. Therefore, in most of the cases, an applicant can receive an EEA registration certificate quite quickly. Perhaps, within 1-2 weeks if not within 2-3 days. However, if the applicant has not submitted a correct application or failed to provide all the relevant documents then the application processing may experience delays or even refusal!

UK residence card processing time under Reg 18(3)

In terms of regulation 18(3) of EEA Regulations 2016, the Home Office needs to decide a non-EEA national’s within 6 months of receiving a valid application. However, the actual UK residence card processing time is usually within 6-10 weeks.

EEA document certifying permanent residence processing time

In terms of Regulation 19(1) of the EEA Regulations 2016, Home Office needs to issue a document certifying permanent residence as soon as possible after receiving a valid application and relevant supporting documents. Therefore, in most of the cases, an applicant can receive an EEA document certifying permanent residence aka EEA PR quite quickly. Perhaps, within a week’s time if not within 2-3 days. However, if the applicant has not submitted a correct application or failed to provide all the relevant documents then the application processing may experience delays or even refusal!

UK permanent residence card processing time under Reg 18(3)

In terms of regulation 19(2) of EEA Regulations 2016, UK permanent residence card processing time for a non-EEA national with a right of permanent residence is within 6 months after the date of receiving a valid application. However, in most of the cases, the actual UK residence card processing time is usually within 4-8 weeks. Moreover, the Home Officer under the EEA Regulation usually issues a permanent residence card with a validity period of 10 years.

Experience # 1 UK residence card processing time

The applicant made the application for UK residence card by special post (next day delivery) on March 11, 2019. Accordingly, the Home Office received the application on March 12, 2019. And the applicant made the payment by card on March 14, 2019. 

The Home Office sent the biometrics letter on March 19, 2019, which the applicant received on March 22, 2019. Accordingly, the applicant went through the biometrics on March 23, 2019. Subsequently, within 2 working days, the Home Office issues the Certificate of Application (COA) on March 26, 2019, which the applicant received on March 29, 2019. Accordingly, on May 2, 2019, the Home Office issued the UK permanent residence card. And the applicant received the documents and the non-EEA permanent residence card on May 5 and May 7, 2019, respectively.

Therefore, from the date of the application (March 11, 2019) to the date of receiving the UK permanent residence card (May 7, 2019), the UK permanent residence card processing time was approx 8 weeks.

Experience # 2 UK permanent residence card processing time

The applicant’s non-EEA 5-year UK permanent residence card was about to expire on March 4, 2019. So, he called the Home Office in Feb 2019, who advised the applicant to apply for the UK permanent residence card one month before the expiry date.

Accordingly, the applicant submitted the application for the UK permanent residence card on Feb 6, 2019. The Home Office received the application on Feb 7, 2019, and the applicant made the payment on Feb 9, 2019. Accordingly, the applicant received the confirmation email with case ID on Feb 13, 2019. And also received the biometric letter (dated Feb 13) on Feb 15, 2019. Therefore, the applicant went for the biometrics on Feb 18, 2019, and received the COA (dated Feb 18) on Feb 20, 2019.

Afterwards, on March 8, 2019, the applicant received the letter from the Home Office that the PR card is due within 10 days. And eventually received the UK permanent residence card on March 11, 2019. Certainly, the applicant is happy to receive the PR card as he may be eligible for British citizenship through naturalisation in due course.

Therefore, in this case, the UK permanent residence card processing time was approximately 5 weeks i.e. application submitted on Feb 6, 2019, and the PR card received on March 11, 2019.

Experience # 3 UK residence card processing time

The following individual experience relates to the UK residence card application by a non-EEA national, who has retained a right of residence, indicates a timeline of approx 6 weeks. Apparently, the applicant applied on Jan 18, 2019, and received a refusal letter on March 5, 2019. Accordingly, the details of the applicant’s UK permanent residence card processing time are as under:

  1. Application sent for UK permanent residence card on Jan 18, 2019
  2. Application received by the Home Office on Jan 21, 2019
  3. Fee payment on Jan 23
  4. The applicant received the biometrics letter on Jan 28, 2019, and also did the biometrics on the same date
  5. Received the long COA on Feb 4, 2019
  6. The applicant received the documents with the refusal letter on March 5, 2019

Experience # 4 EEA PR and UK residence card processing time

The following experience relates to an online application for EEA document certifying permanent residence (aka EEA PR card). The applicant applied along with non-EEA family member UK permanent residence card. Accordingly, the details indicate a UK permanent residence card processing time of approx 3-4 weeks. Apparently, the applicant made an online application on Jan 11, 2019, and received the EEA PR card and non-EEA UK permanent residence card on Feb 9 and Feb 7, 2019, respectively.

Accordingly, the details of the applicant’s UK permanent residence card processing time are as under:

  1. Application sent online and paid the application fee on Jan 11, 2019
  2. The Home Office received the application on Jan 14 and also issued Case ID on the same date
  3. The applicant received the biometric on Jan 18, which the Home Office sent on Jan 15, 2019
  4. Biometrics on Jan 18, 2019
  5. Home Office issued COA letter on Jan 23, which the applicant received on Jan 25, 2019
  6. The applicant received all the documents/passports on Feb 4, 2019
  7. EEA PR card issued on Feb 04, 2019 and received by the applicant on Feb 9, 2019
  8. The UK permanent resident card issued on Feb 5, 2019, for the non-EEA family members. And received on Feb 07, 2019

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