I'm a EU citizen living in the UK since 2001. In 2014 I obtained the permanent residency certificate for EU/EEA citizens, using application form EEA(PR). This form asks to prove whether the applicant fulfils residence requirements in terms of presence in the UK. Specifically, it asks to list all travel in the five years prior to the application and sets a limit to the number of days spent outside the UK. Specifically, these are: "To satisfy the residence requirement you should not have been absent for more than 90 days in the last 12 months. And the total number of days absence for the whole 5 year period should not exceed 450."
I fulfilled these requirements and obtained a permanent residency permit. I believe that once permanent residency is acquired, one is able to travel in and out of the UK without restriction, provided the absence period does not exceed 2 years, in which case the permanent residency status is lost.
From July 2014 to September 2015 I have attended a graduate course at a EU university. During this time, I have come back to the UK only sporadically. I have been back in the UK since September 2015 but I have since travelled extensively within the EU.
I would now like to apply for British citizenship. Section 2 of the AN form asks the same information that I needed to provide for the permanent residency application. It also asks, for EU/EEA citizens, to provide the details of the permanent residency permit.
My questions are:
- As a permanent resident, do I need to provide this evidence, even though the permanent residency status allows me to travel in and out of the UK without restrictions?
- As I studied abroad and I have also travelled extensively, I may not meet the residence requirements set out above. However I do have a permanent residency status. How is this apparent conflict resolved?
I have searched extensively, but I haven't been able to find any clarity regarding the above, expecially point 2.
Thanks for the great answers below and in the comments.
I can see how, formally, there may not be a conflict between the PR and the citizenship's residence requirements, but I still cannot get my head around the following:
- PR and citizenship are not handled by different government departments. Both applications go to the Home Office. It's the Home Office that decides in both cases.
- The residence requirements are the same for PR and citizenship
- I have fulfilled the PR requirements and I have had a PR certificate since 2014 confirming that. Given that i'm one person, how could I both be permanent resident and not permanent resident at the same time?
- The PR application and citizenship application for EEA/EU citizens have now been directly and explicitly linked by the Home Office by asking for the PR certificate to be obtained before an application for citizenship can be made. The number of the certificate is asked for in the citizenship application form. What is the purpose of that if the same requirements need to be proven again?
Perhaps i'm just not getting some finer points of the law, but this still seems like an inconsistency to me. I suspect it may just be one of those bureaucratic inconsistencies that just have to be accepted.