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Saturday, 15 April 2017

Viva the United Kingdom, or how to get your permanent residency

I moved to the United Kingdom when I started to work at the University of Sheffield, on October 1st, 2011.  So in October this year I matured the five years required to apply for permanent residency, which would then allow 12 months after to apply for citizenship, if you want.

The timing was not the best: in June UK voted for the Brexit, and the Guardian published every day horror stories of dutch mothers of three living in UK since the 19th century, who when applied for the residency were offered instead expulsion.

Like most EU citizens I admit I was quite concerned.  I did a first search and I found the infamous 80 pages application form; I saved it and forgot about it.  During the Xmas break, I allocated a whole day to fill in this crazy thing, which required among the other things to list all my trips abroad (dozen every year).  I did it, but then I was so distressed that I never found the will to complete the procedure and submit it.

In February I decided it was time to be a bit more rational.  But his time I spent a little bit more time seeking information. My situation is the simplest of all: I am an Italian citizen (thus an EU citizen), who have a permanent employment contract with an good salary in a UK university, and for the moment I do not need to get residence for any other family member.  If you also are in this situation you should use this on-line application.  If you do you will realise that the process is infinitely simpler than the 80-pages form.  It took me three hours, but this because I am obsessive-compulsive and I scanned every document I sent them.  My application was submitted on Feb 26th, 2017; the documents were sent by post a couple of days after.  The application tells you it may take six months, so I relaxed.

A week ago I got an a note to pick up a parcel, but I could go only today.  The parcel contained my permanent residence, all my original documents, and a very nice and detailed letter that explain that now I can do pretty much what I want in this country forever, as far as it is legal.  The whole process took less than two months.  But the best part of the story is that my permit is retroactive to the date I matured the five years, which is October 1st, 2016.  So, if I want, in October this year I will be able to apply for full citizenship.

Last point: yes, you need to submit some P60, some bills, some bank statements, and a proof of nationality.  If you come from a country that provide ID cards like Italy, that is fine; sent them my ID, and kept my passport to travel.  If not, you need to get an appointment in an office (nearest is Manchester I think) where they look at your passport, give it back, and submit your application for you.  so no need to send them your passport.

I was not happy when the majority voted for the Brexit.  But this is still a great country, and they clearly want me to stay.  I lived in Italy 20 years while the majority of my countrymates voted for Berlusconi, I can surely live here after 52% of British voted to leave Europe.  Now I only need to come to term with the idea of becoming a subject of her Majesty the Queen ...

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