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© Pathfynder Limited 2018. Pathfynder Solicitors is a trading name of Pathfynder Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company registration number 10170947. The registered address is King House, 5-11 Westbourne Grove, London, W2 4UA. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, SRA No. 629672.


permanent residence card refusalsOn 27 February 2017, the Guardian reported that 28% of European citizens who had applied for a permanent residence card in the UK were unsuccessful.

According to the article, at least a quarter of all applicants since the referendum on 23 June 2016 had failed to meet the criteria, with 12,800 applications being refused and a further 5,000 applications being declared invalid.

We looked into what was happening.

Who is eligible to apply for an EEA permanent residence card?

To apply for a permanent residence card, an EEA national must have lived in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years as a years as a qualified person. What this means is that an EEA national must have been in the UK as a worker, a self-employed person, a self-sufficient person, a student or a jobseeker.

Although these terms might seem straightforward, often their meaning from a legal perspective can be confused by applicants. For example, for a self-sufficient person it is not enough to show that one had enough money to look after themselves in the UK. An applicant relying on this category would also have to show that they had comprehensive health insurance in the UK during the time they had been resident.

Why are so many applications being unsuccessful?

Although the article does not give all the reasons, it does suggest that minor errors such as paying the incorrect fee were to blame. This is perhaps due to applicants’ lack of preparation and/or understanding of this area of law operates. This is unsurprising given all the rhetoric that has played out in the media over the last year.

Other common mistakes include not providing a full set of documents to show how an applicant has acquired permanent residence in the UK, for example a worker not providing a full five years’ worth of pay records.

The above points may seem simple enough, but too often these are the reasons why applications are refused. Unsuccessful applications can mean that a lot of time and energy is wasted and can be the source of much frustration, especially when there are travel plans which have to be rescheduled. It is therefore vital to get these right the first time around.

If you are about the apply for a permanent residence card and are unsure of how to go about this, please feel free to contact us. We would be delighted to assist.

Written by Beata Podolecka

Please note that this article is for information only and should not be taken as legal and/or financial advice. Immigration law changes regularly and it may be the case that this page has not been updated to take into account the latest changes. If you would like advice on your personal circumstances, please feel free to contact us.

EEA nationals’ permanent residence card refusals - 7 May 2017