The Home Office recently changed its advice on applying for residency registration certificates and Permanent Residence documents in April 2017.
It reiterates its position published earlier on its overview page:
Article 50 and UK residence
You don’t need to do anything as a result of Article 50 being triggered. There will be no change to the rights and status of EU nationals living in the UK while the UK remains in the EU.
Under EU law, you don’t need a document to confirm your permanent residence status in the UK.
It now continues with the following new development:
If you’re planning to apply for a document to confirm your status, you can sign up for email alerts instead.
These email updates will let you know about developments that might affect you, including the steps that you may need to take to confirm your status after the UK leaves the EU. https://www.gov.uk/eea-registration-certificate
This message is repeated on both its pages relating to applying for a registration certificate and applying for a permanent residency document, where it states:
You only need to apply for a permanent residence document if you want to either:
- apply for British citizenship
- sponsor your partner’s visa application under the Immigration Rules
This is all well and good but as anyone who has experienced preparing an application for a permanent residency document knows it begs overwhelming questions relating to the issue of providing evidence in support of the application.
First let us take the matter of quality of evidence required to accompany an application for documentation certifying permanent residence. The Home Office doesn’t leave any room for doubt about this.
Page 2 of the latest HO guidance notes v 3.0states:
Passports and identity documents must be originals – we will only accept alternative evidence of identity or nationality if you are unable to obtain or produce the required documents due to circumstances beyond your control. Copies of these documents will not be accepted. (Note: Online applicants only can have their passports verified, copied and submitted to the Home Office by a local authority participating in the European Passport Return Service.)
Other documents, such as marriage or birth certificates should be originals. If there is a valid reason for not being able to provide the original document you can send a copy certified by:
- the body or authority which issued the original
- a legal representative
If you need to send us bank statements as part of your evidence, and you only receive them in an online or electronic format, ask your bank to stamp each page with their official stamp.(Have you ever tried this?)
All documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by an official English translation provided by a qualified translator. Ask the translator or translation company to confirm in writing:
- that the translation is a ‘true and accurate translation of the original document’
- the date of the translation
- the full name and contact details of the translator or a representative of the translation company
Original documents must be included with any translations submitted.
The Home Office may contact your translator or translation company to conduct further enquiries into any translated documents provided.
(Emphasis HO originals)
Now it is not unreasonable to say that the Home Office is presently extremely exercised by the topic of what is sufficient and adequate evidence. This is both in relation to demonstrating a five years qualifying period on grounds of continuous residency as a qualified person and also evidence of residency since any qualifying period.
In fact the latest HO guidance notes actually emphasises this latter point by bolding the following at page 7- 8:
Please ensure you provide evidence of your residence in the UK since any 5 year qualifying period ended otherwise your application may be refused. This is because your right to permanent residence is lost if you have been absent from the UK for a continuous period of 2 consecutive years since acquiring the right to permanent residence, or if you have been deported.
It continues to explain that the applicant, family member or sponsor, if applicable must show they have been living in the UK for the relevant period.
It goes on to explain what is considered acceptable:
If you are applying on the basis of 5 years’ continuous residence, the evidence must cover the 5-year period. The documents should be spread evenly throughout the 5 years.
The advice even gives a helpful table which breaks down the evidential quality of the evidence it expects to be submitted at page 8.
It does allow one small concession:
If you are an EEA national relying on periods of residence as a worker, and are providing evidence of employment to confirm this(see Section 9), you do not need to provide additional evidence of residence for the same periods covered by your evidence of employment. However, if you are relying on any period of residence in another activity (for example, as a jobseeker, self-employed person, self-sufficient person or student), or are applying as a family member, you will need to provide one piece of evidence for every qualifying 12 month period to confirm residence in the UK
Don’t forget the evidence required of possession of Comprehensive Sickness Insurance Cover for people claiming on grounds of self sufficiency or because they are students.
Altogether quite an evidential burden is required and it is up to the applicant to provide this proof and verification to support their application.
So to the questions:
1. How does registering for an email update move anyone forward to providing the required evidence as soon as they do need to show that they do indeed hold permanent residency status in the UK?
2. How does it confirm their status “instead” as stated on its Permanent Residency page?
For these questions and more, HJT will be delivering a session on Permanent residency in JUNE!! Look out for it HERE