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UK permanent residency card for EU nationals

European Union (EU) nationals are entitled to hold a permanent residence card after a period of qualifying residence in the UK. This card, if held for the required amount of time,
will enable the national to naturalise as a British citizen.

Do you qualify to settle in the UK permanently? Contact us.

The two most common routes to British citizenship when it comes to EU nationals are the following:

  • Naturalisation in the UK as an EEA citizen
  • A child is born in the UK to a parent who is an EU citizen with permanent residence

The European citizens to whom this applies are: Austrians, Belgians, Bulgarians, Croatia, Cypriots, Czechs, Danes, Estonians, Finns, French, Germans, Greeks, Hungarians, Italians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Luxembourg Citizens, Maltese, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Romanians, Slovakians, Slovenians, Spanish and Swedes.

Exercising treaty rights in the UK

In the first five years of your stay in the UK, you need to be exercising treaty rights in terms of EU law. This would require, amongst other things, that you are working in the UK.

On 27 October 2015, a new law was passed in the UK to prevent European citizens applying for British passports if they do not first hold the permanent residence card from the Home Office.

What about Brexit?

Given the recent Brexit vote and the likelihood that the UK will exit the European Union over the coming years, the status of those EU nationals living in the UK is unclear.

In order to secure your rights to live and work in the UK, we would urge you to regularise your residency status in the UK and obtain your permanent residency card as soon as possible.


Contact our immigration team

Phone us (SA): +27 (0) 21 657 2180

Phone us (UK): +44 (0) 20 7759 7580

South Africa

Cape Town

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708 +27 (0) 21 657 2120


201 The Annex
Ridgeside Office Park
Umhlanga +27 (0) 31 536 8843

United Kingdom


Castlewood House
77/91 New Oxford Street
WC1A 1DG +44 (0) 20 7759 7514


5-7 Selsdon Road
South Croydon
CR2 6PU +44 (0) 20 7759 7581



9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
VIC 3141 +613 (0) 8651 4500

Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services License issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS License number 335 126).

Please note: Sable International is a trading name of Philip Gamble and Co. Ltd. Philip Gamble and Co. Ltd is registered in the UK with the Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner (OISC) under no. F2001-00004. Our staff based outside of the UK are not regulated by the OISC and may be involved in some client casework. However, they work to the same high standards as our UK staff and clients receive the same service regardless of which office they engage with.

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