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Waiting times for EEA residence applications


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Brexit: this blog post was up to date when it was published. As I say in the post, though, the waiting times are likely to have increased since 2015, perhaps very substantially, given the uncertainty caused by the referendum.

I recently made a partially successful Freedom of Information request on waiting times for different types of EEA residence documents. The information for the whole of 2015 taken as an average was released but not more recent information on current waiting times in 2016.

The waiting times were as follows:

EEA Case Types

AVG App to Despatch

EU permanent residence cards


EU permanent residence certificates


EU residence cards


EU residence certificates


The numbers are presumably days. “AVG App to Despatch” presumably translates as “average time between application and despatch of decision.”

The average time for EEA nationals to receive a residence certificate was therefore just short of 2 months, but interestingly was less than that at about a month and a half for permanent residence certificates. The average time for family members applying for either residence cards or permanent residence cards comes in at just over 4 months.

It may be that with the surge in permanent residence applications brought about by the UK Brexit referendum, the waiting times have lengthened since 2015. It would not be surprising if the Home Office had failed to anticipate the surge in demand, particularly given the referendum date was unknown.

I have requested an internal review of the refusal to release more up to date statistics, which you can read here. Given that current visa processing times are available for non EEA nationals it seems particularly unfair and indeed unlawful not to provide the same information to EEA nationals.

The Home Office is obliged by EU law to decide EU residence document applications within 6 months of an application being made. Where applications are particularly urgent it is possible in some circumstances to ask that the decision is expedited (made more quickly). I have written about this previously: Expediting an EU residence card application. Getting your local MP to write to the Home Office is one way forward, or writing to the email address provided, or to the address on the EEA forms, or all of the above. Putting forward a personal reason would be a good idea, such as needing identity documents or passports for travel, employment or right to rent checks.

It is also possible to request return of a passport once it has been submitted, although there is no guarantee the Home Office will oblige:

Need help?

Here on Free Movement I try to provide information to help people with their own cases. Those interested in making an EU law application may be interested in my ebook guide making an application and the Application Checking Service provided via Free Movement:


immigration application checking service

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Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.