The Home Office recently produced updated guidance to their application form for proof of Permanent Residence although the much criticized, 85 page form EEA (PR) has remained unchanged. Here is a summary of the main changes in the guidance:
Form of application
From 1 February 2017 the use form EEA (PR) or the online process has been mandatory. Applications in other forms will now be treated as invalid and returned, with £25 deducted for administration costs.
The five-year qualifying period
Although the form asks for details of the applicant’s activity since entering the UK the guidance indicates the applicant can choose to provide information about any continuous five year period. If this period ended more than two years ago then evidence of continued residence should be provided for each subsequent year to show the status has not been lost due to absences of more than two years.
But when choosing which years to provide evidence for remember –
- if there is any doubt whether all requirements were met at one time provide evidence of additional years as a safety net
- the date of gaining Permanent Residence recorded by the Home Office could impact on a child’s nationality.
- applications for British citizenship require evidence Permanent Residence was gained at least 12 months previously unless the applicant has a British spouse or partner.
The recommended types of evidence and number of items for different circumstances are set out in the guidance. For some applicants, the amount suggested may be less than previously thought necessary.
However, it is also indicated that each applicant needs to consider their own circumstances and supply evidence showing they have met the requirements of the Regulations.
So, while P60s are generally enough for people to show employment, if they show low earnings it may be necessary to provide additional evidence to demonstrate the person continued to be a employed and the type of work being undertaken.
The guidance indicates travel dates are not required unless absences from the UK total more than six months in each 12 months of the five year qualifying period. Details of absences before the five year period are also not required and only absences of more than two years have any impact after permanent residence has been gained.
Therefore, statements confirming the above requirements are met could be made on the form, or in a covering letter, instead of listing dates.
The effect of this guidance
The intention of this guidance was probably to respond to criticisms of the process, especially in regard to travel information and the volume of documents required. Taken at face value, these requirements have been made simpler.
However, there are no guarantees that the suggested evidence will be sufficient in individual cases. Applicants, particularly those with complex histories, should carefully consider whether evidence shows all legal requirements have been met. Writing a covering letter setting out the individuals circumstances can be helpful and the guidance suggests this for complex cases.
And more than ten months after the referendum, difficulties still being experienced demonstrate not enough has been done to make the process manageable.
If you require assistance with making an application for proof of permanent residence please get in touch.