Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the difference between Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), Permanent Residence (PR) and a Registration Certificate (RC)? What is the difference between a residence permit and a residence card?

There is an extremely important difference between these statuses / documents.


  • If you have a document stating you have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Indefinite to Enter (ILE), then you have a UK Immigration status, and you do not have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

    However, to demonstrate that your ILR/ILE is valid (for example to apply for a new job, a new rental, or to enter the UK after travelling abroad), you will need a valid (in-date) biometric residence permit.

    See this page on our website for more details about how to obtain such a document, and also to read about the advantages and disadvantages of applying for settled status (which is also ILR, but it is ILR under the EU Settlement Scheme and therefore has slightly different rights).

    See also this Government page for more information.


  • A UK-issued permanent residence document, registration certificate or residence card on the other hand, are documents evidencing now expired EU status, and are no longer valid now that the UK is no longer a member of the EU. These documents are not a UK Immigration status.

    For EU citizens, these documents are typically found in a small blue cardboard folder, entitled “UK RESIDENCE DOCUMENTATION FOR A NATIONAL OF AN EEA STATE”. Within the folder, there will be a sticker marked “Document Certifying Permanent Residence” or “Registration Certificate”.

    For non-EU family members of EU citizens, these documents are typically a credit-card sized plastic card, with the words “RESIDENCE CARD” (not “RESIDENCE PERMIT”) at the top, and “RESIDENCE CARD OF A FAMILY MEMBER OF A UNION CITIZEN” along the bottom.

    If you hold this status, you should have applied for status under the EU Settlement Scheme before 30 June 2021. If you have not done so, you should still make an application as soon as possible, as the Home Office is accepting late applications for those who have ‘reasonable grounds’ to apply late, and one of the reasonable grounds listed on this Government webpage is “you had permanent residence status or a residence document that stopped being valid after 30 June 2021, and you did not know you needed to apply to the scheme”.

    You will not have rights in the UK until you receive a Certificate of Application. See a summary of rights affected at: https://www.the3million.org.uk/rights-table.

    See this Government webpage for details on making a late application.