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Applying For A UK Residence Permit

If you reside in the UK for more than six months at a time, you may need a UK residence permit. This guide offers you a brief overview of UK residence permits, permanent residency, and derivative residence rights, and tells you where to turn if you need more information.
Not everybody needs a residence permit to live and work in the UK.
  • A biometric residence permit holds migrants’ biographic details and biometric information.
  • Expats from EEA member states can apply for a permanent UK residence permit after five years.
  • Some non-EEA citizens may have derivative rights of residence, even if they do not fall under the free movement directive.

Applying for a Biometric Residence Permit

Expats who want to extend their stay past six months will require a biometric UK residence permit which holds biographic details and biometric information. Please remember that you can only apply for this permit if you want to:

  • extend your temporary stay to six months or more;
  • apply for indefinite leave to remain;
  • transfer your visa from an old passport to a new document, using form NTL or TOC;
  • apply for a Certificate of Travel or a Convention Travel document (1951 refugee or 1954 stateless person).

You can submit your application to extend your stay online or by post. Once the UK Border Agency has received your documents, they will send you a notification letter. You can then visit any post office in the UK to register your biometric information. Alternatively, you can visit a public enquiry office. Please remember that, either way, it may take up to twelve weeks until your residence permit application is processed.

If you find that any of the information on you biometric residence card is not correct, you should get in touch with the UK Border Agency within 10 days. Otherwise, you will have to pay for a replacement. Contact the UK Border Agency for more information.  

Permanent Residence for European Citizens

After five years, expats from EEA member states can apply for a permanent UK residence permit. You can apply for a permanent UK residence permit by completing the application documents and paying an application fee of 65 GBP for each individual on the application. This is what you need to submit for a successful application:

  • the application fee
  • a valid passport or ID
  • evidence that you are eligible to apply
  • two passport-sized pictures

Please remember that it can take the UK Border Agency up to six months to process your application, so plan ahead and try to be patient. Once your application has been approved, you will receive a registration certificate that proves you have the legal right to reside in the UK. This is important if you want to act as a sponsor or want to support a family member who is not an EEA national in their application for a residence card.

Derivative Rights of Residence: Do You Qualify?

Although non-EEA citizens usually do not qualify for a UK residence permit, you may still have “derivative rights of residence”. This might be the case even if you do not fall under the free movement directive. You qualify for derivative rights of residence if

  • you are the primary caretaker of a British child or a dependent adult;
  • you are the primary caretaker of an EEA national child, exercising free movement rights in the UK;
  • your parents are EEA national workers and you receive your education in the UK;
  • you are the primary caretaker of an EEA national worker and a child receiving an education in the UK;
  • you are the child of a primary caretaker, mentioned in the categories above, and under 18 years of age.

Please remember that you are only eligible to stay in the UK while you meet the above requirements. If your situation changes, you may lose your derivative right of residence.

You can apply for your derivative residence card, which grants you the right to work and reside in the UK, by submitting the following:

  • a completed DRF1 form
  • a fee of 65 BGP
  • your passport
  • evidence that you are eligible to apply for derivative rights
  • two passport-sized photographs

You will need to provide an official translation for any documents not written in Welsh or English. You can submit your application documents by mail. If you are unsure about your application or whether you qualify, please contact the UK Border Agency.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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