If you have lived in the United Kingdom for a 5 year period of time, then, as an EEA national, you will obtain the right of Permanent Residence (PR). If the requirement is fulfilled, then you can apply for confirmation of your right to PR in the United Kingdom. Once the permanent residence has been granted, you will no longer be restricted by the immigration rules on the work or business you do in the UK. Therefore, you should not confuse PR with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), which has other conditions you must fulfil and, the people who have it are under regular UK immigration rules.
Before applying, you should find an agency that can help you with the application. There will always be questions you won’t find answers on the internet, so you should get advice from people who are capable of giving you the best solutions. You should check EEA Permanent Residence Advice for EU Nationals – WM Immigration for further information regarding this matter and for getting help with your application.
A qualified person for PR must have lived in the United Kingdom for 5 years or more and must be either working or be a self-employed, studying, self-sufficient or just looking for work and you must prove it with additional documents. The family members of an EEA citizen who engages in one of the activities written above will also qualify for PR after five years of continuously living in the United Kingdom. To explain it better, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t been in the same criteria during the 5 year period. You could have been first a student, then unemployed for a couple of time, then self-employed or employed, as long as you can prove your status, you will be qualified for permanent residence. To put it in another way, you can choose any five year period of residence in order to qualify ( in case you’ve spent more than 5 years in the UK ). Contrary to getting ILR, an absence of up to 6 months from the UK will not disqualify you from obtaining permanent residence.
If you are a qualified person, then there are two options from which you can choose to apply: complete the EEA form given by the Home Office or use the online version of the EEA (PR). The first one is known to request far too much information and details that can be used for refusals of dubious legality. The online application has, in this case, a few advantages. You can use the passport checking service which gives you your passport back immediately (while the application is still decided). This version is easier and simpler than the form because it contains only questions which are relevant to your own situation. But, you should know that is no difference between the waiting time for online applications and form application.
Along with your application, you will have to provide supporting documents, such as: a valid registration certificate from the moment you arrived in the country, evidence that you’ve spent the last 5 years in the United Kingdom (such as rental contracts, utility bills) and evidence like tax returns, payslips or bank statements. Also, you should provide letters from each employer confirming the salary, working hours, the dates you worked for them and the reason you got fired/you quit if it’s relevant. All these documents are a must because they will make you a qualified person and make the decision easier.
You should know that the EEA Permanent Residence applications must be processed within 6 months, but this will depend on how you’ve made the application and how you’ve submitted it. Note that you can lose the right of PR if you live outside the country for 2 years continuous. So, even if you are away for a period of time, you should maintain ties to the UK and consider the United Kingdom as your home.