Permanent Residence V. Settled Status


In all the chaos and confusion surrounding brexit it is easy to focus on the politics and forget the people. However, permanent residence immigration solicitors will tell you that the people matter. It isn’t just the moral responsibility of looking after EU nationals who chose to settle in the UK under the EU freedom of movement rules but it is also in the best interests of UK businesses to ensure that current EU workers have security and status in the UK post Brexit


permanent residence solicitors   

If you need advice on your best brexit options or want to make an application for permanent residence then call our brexit team hotline on 0203 959 9123 or complete the online enquiry form.

The permanent residence option

If you read the news you would be forgiven for thinking that if you are an EU national living in the UK, your only option is to apply for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Immigration solicitors say that isn’t right and they are urging EU nationals to look at the option of applying for permanent residence. That is because potentially permanent residence status is a better option for many EU nationals who are already living and working in the UK.

What is permanent residence

If you are an EU citizen you could apply for permanent residence and if it is granted by the Home Office then the status of ‘Permanent Resident’ confirms a right of permanent residence in the UK. That means you can live and work in the UK after brexit, free from immigration control.

Can I apply for permanent residence?

You will be eligible to apply for permanent residence if:

• You have lived in the UK continuously for five years; and 

• Over the five year period, you did not leave the UK for more than six months in any twelve month period (although the rules allow a long absence if it is for an important reason such as a family bereavement); and 

• You have been exercising treaty rights over the five-year period of your continuous residence in the UK. 


Five years residence rule 

Many of us lead complicated lives. You may find, for example, in the last twelve months you have been working abroad for well in excess of six months. If you apply for permanent residence your five year residence period does not have to occur immediately prior to your application.
Take the case of Pierre, he moved to the UK in 2010 and lived and worked continuously  in London until 2018 when he returned to France for work reasons. In 2019 he came back to live and work in London and sought advice from brexit solicitors. 
Pierre can't apply for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme as he hasn’t lived in the UK for five years immediately preceding his Settled Status application. He could apply for pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (and convert to Settled Status once he has been resident in the UK for five years) or he can apply for permanent residence under the EU regulations based on over five years continuous residence from any 5 years period between 2010 and 2018. 
The fact that Pierre was not living in the UK from 2018 to 2019 won't affect his ability to make a permanent residence application. That is because you can be outside the UK for a continuous period of up to two years after completing your five years of continuous residence. 
It can be inferred that Pierre has acquired permanent residence before 2018 (earliest 2015), even though he didn’t make his permanent residence application until 2019. That is because the Home Office backdates the permanent residence to the date of your five year continuous period of living in the UK.   
Whether pre-settled status or permanent residence is best for Pierre will depend on his citizenship plans and whether he anticipates that his employer will send him back to France, or another country, for work purposes. If he secures permanent residence he can then either apply for British citizenship or for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

permanent residence solicitors 

If you are not sure whether permanent residence or Settled Status is the best option for you call brexit solicitors on the brexit team hotline 0203 959 9123 or use our online enquiry form to contact us.

Will permanent residence make me British? 

If you apply for permanent residence, and get it, then permanent residence status will not affect your nationality and will not make you a British citizen. However, getting permanent residence is a path to British citizenship because if you have Permanent Resident status you can make a British naturalisation application. 
If you choose not to apply for British citizenship then your permanent residence gives you the right to live and work in the UK and, subject to ongoing changes in brexit immigration policy, you can apply to convert your permanent residence into Settled Status rather than British citizenship

Will my permanent residence end?


permanent residence cards normally lasts for five years and can be renewed but the latest Home Office brexit guidance says that permanent residence cards won’t be valid after the 31 December 2020 or after the UK exits the EU. However, you could either use your permanent residence card to apply for British citizenship or you can transfer your permanent residence status to Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme.  

permanent residence card or Settled Status  

You may think that it doesn’t really matter whether you go for permanent residence or Settled Status because they both give you the document that you need to show that you are an EU national living in the UK prior to brexit and are therefore entitled to continue to live and work in the UK free from immigration control. That is true but there are important differences:

Planned application for British naturalisation application:


With permanent residence:

If your long-term goal is to make an application for British naturalisation then if you get permanent residence you can potentially make an application for British citizenship straight away.

With Settled Status:

If you plan to apply for British citizenship after you secure Settled Status, then you will need to wait for twelve months from the date of grant of your Settled Status unless you are married to a British citizen.

Plan to move overseas for a while and then return to the UK:


With permanent residence:

If you secure permanent residence, then your status may be revoked if you spend more than two years outside the UK. However, if you apply for British Nationality (once you have permanent residence) you are not restricted to two years absence from the UK.

With Settled Status:

If you secure Settled Status, then you can spend up to five years out of the UK without losing your Settled Status.
So, in Pierre’s case, as his permanent residence status is backdated to 2018, he can apply for British citizenship without delay. If, on the other hand, he had applied for pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme he would not be able to make a British naturalisation application until twelve months after he gets Settled Status (so a long wait). If Pierre had been eligible to apply for Settled Status straight away he would still have to wait another twelve months before then being eligible to apply for British citizenship
For Pierre, taking legal advice on his best brexit options can save him a lot of hassle and extra years of waiting to achieve his UK settlement goals.

permanent residence - how can OTS Solicitors help?

If you are not sure about your future plans and want to discuss if permanent residence or Settled Status is the best option for you call us the brexit team hotline on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. 
OTS Solicitors are recommended for immigration law in the two leading law directories, Legal 500 and Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession. London based OTS Solicitors have Law Society accredited solicitors status as trusted specialists in immigration law. 
Whether it is permanent residence or Settled Status our brexit team will be able to quickly and efficiently process your permanent residence application or help you will your Settled Status application using our same day Settled Status service


Relevant People: 

For the best expert legal advice and outcome on your UK immigration application, contact OTS immigration solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.


We are one of the UK’s top firms for immigration solicitors and civil liberties lawyers. We can advise on a broad range of immigration issues including Appeals and Refusals, Judicial Reviews, Spouse Visas, student visas, Work Permit Visas, Indefinite Leave to Remain, EEA Applications, asylum and human rights, British citizenship, All types of visas, Business Immigration Visas, entrepreneur visas and Investor Visas.

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