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EEA Permanent Residence Refused?

With guidelines and regulations constantly changing - especially since Brexit - what happens if your EEA Permanent Residence application is refused? Find out why this can happen and how you can appeal in this guide.

The EEA - or European Economic Areas - was established in January 1994, and allows for the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within this region, which includes the ability for EEA residents to choose residency in any country within the EEA. In 2016, the UK voted for Brexit and this has caused unrest among a lot of EEA residents; there are still many uncertainties, meaning that EEA national are unsure and worried about their status in the UK. In order to avoid this uncertainty, many EEA nationals are seeking to safeguard their position by applying for permanent residence. Related: What Will Brexit Mean for Immigration? If you have resided in the UK for a continuous period of five years then you automatically quality for permanent residence. However, you must apply for legal confirmation that you have acquired this right (also known as 'indefinite leave to remain').

How to Qualify for Permanent Residence

In order to qualify:

  1. You must be able to show that you have lived in UK for a continuous period of 5 years before you submit your application
  2. You must have exercised your treaty rights during this period of five years by participating in qualified activity (including studying, working, being self-employed or economically self-sufficient while residing in the UK).

During these 5 years that you reside in UK, there are no strict rules on how many days you spend outside UK - but you must not spend more than 6 months outside UK at any one time. In order to apply, you need to submit your application to the Home Office, along with the necessary documents that prove that you qualify for permanent residence in UK. You must submit an original copy of your identification document; this can be your EEA passport or your national ID card.

Reasons for EEA Permanent Residence Refusals

Despite EEA residents automatically qualifying for permanent residence in the UK, there are a number of reasons why EEA permanent residence applications can be refused. These include:

  • If you filled in the application wrongly
  • If you fail to provide required the evidence, such as documents prove you have participated in qualifying activities
  • If you lived for more than 6 months at a time outside UK during your 5 years continuous living in the UK

The Home Office has published guidelines for all EEA national applicants which gives advice about the documents which applicants must provide as part of their application. If your application for permanent residence is refused, you will be given the option to appeal or you can also make a new application. If you need help with an EEA permanent residence application or advice about how to appeal a refused application, get in touch with our immigration experts. 


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Visa and Migration is a private OISC regulated company (F201500999) and is not an official Government body. If you would like to prepare and submit your UK immigration application yourself you can do so by visiting the UKVI website.