What is the change? Under a legislative change taking effect Nov. 12, nationals of European Economic Area member states applying for British citizenship must include documentary proof of permanent residency in the U.K.

What does the change mean? Before applying for citizenship, EEA nationals must obtain one of the following: a permanent resident card, a document certifying permanent residence, or a residence document or residence permit indicating indefinite leave to remain in the U.K.

  • Implementation time frame: Nov. 12.
  • Visas/permits affected: Naturalization.
  • Who is affected: Nationals of EEA member states.
  • Impact on processing times: EEA nationals should plan to apply for the appropriate documents and allow several months for processing.
  • Next steps: BAL can assist in applying for the appropriate documentation.

Background: EEA nationals are automatically granted permanent residency status after five years of qualifying residency in the U.K. and are eligible to apply for British citizenship after an additional year of permanent residency.

Under a legislative change beginning Nov. 12, EEA nationals will have to obtain a document certifying their permanent resident status before they can apply for citizenship. Previously, documentary evidence of permanent residency was not required.

BAL Analysis: To avoid delays in applying for British citizenship in light of the new requirement, EEA nationals should apply as soon as possible for a permanent resident card or other document certifying permanent resident status and allow up to six months to obtain the document.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact

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