Completing application form ECAA 4
This page explains how you should complete application form ECAA 4 to apply for permission to settle in the UK (known as 'indefinite leave to remain'). You can download the form from the right side of this page.
Can I apply using this form?
You should use form ECAA 4 if you want to settle here as a Bulgarian or Romanian citizen who came here to establish yourself in business under the terms of the former European Community Association Agreement (ECAA), which lapsed when Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union (EU) on 1 January 2007.
Bulgarian and Romanian citizens may now exercise their treaty rights of self-employment as citizens of the European Economic Area. See the European citizens section for more information.
If you came to the UK with permission to stay here under the terms of the ECAA, you can apply for permanent residence in this category when you have lived here for five years.
In addition to your initial permission to come here in this category, you will need to have been given at least one extension of your stay. You do not need to obtain a second extension, even if this means your permission to stay here expires before you have lived here for five years. You must meet all the requirements of the ECAA throughout the five years.
You will also be able to apply for permanent residence under EU law after you have exercised your treaty rights as an EU citizen for five years, but those five years cannot be said to have started before Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU on 1 January 2007.
You may apply for settlement using form ECAA 4 if you:
- are a citizen of Bulgaria or Romania;
- entered the UK with a valid visa as a person intending to establish in business under the provisions of an ECAA;
- were given an extension of stay before 1 January 2007 to remain in business under the provisions of the agreement;
- were established in business in the UK, spent a continuous period of five years in the UK in this capacity and are still in that business;
- have submitted audited accounts for the first four years of trading, and management accounts for the fifth year; and
- have sufficient knowledge of language and life in the UK.
Additionally, you must have met the following requirements throughout the five years:
- your share of the profits of the business has been sufficient to maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependants without you needing to seek other work or help from public funds;
- you have not taken or sought other work (apart from your business) in the UK; and
- you have met the requirements in one of the two categories below.
1. If you have established yourself in a company in the UK which you effectively control, the requirements are that:
- you have been actively involved in the promotion and management of the company;
- you have had a controlling interest in the company;
- the company was registered in the UK and has been trading or providing services in the UK; and
- the company owned the assets of the business.
2. If you have established yourself as a sole trader or in a partnership in the UK, the requirements are that:
- you have been actively involved in trading or providing services on your own account or in a partnership in the UK;
- you owned, or together with your partners owned, the assets of the business; and
- in the case of a partnership, your part in the business was not actually employment that you pretended was a business partnership.
There is no fee for making this application.
You must be in the UK to apply. Please do not send us your application more than 28 days before the end of your five-year qualifying period - if you do, we may refuse your application.
When you apply, you will need to show that you have a good knowledge of language and life in the UK unless you are aged under 18 or 65 and over.
Can I include my dependants in my application?
You can use one form for a joint application by you, your partner and any children you have who are aged under 18, if they are applying as your dependants. Children over 18 must apply separately.
Making an application
Section 10 of form ECAA 4 lists the documents that you must send with your application. You should send the original documents, not copies. In exceptional circumstances, we may accept a photocopy that is certified as an accurate copy by the body or authority that issued the original, or by a Notary')">notary - but you must include a letter explaining why you are providing a certified copy rather than the original document.
You must post your application to the address given on the form. For this type of application, you cannot apply in person at our public enquiry offices.
We cannot tell in advance how long it will take to decide your application, so you should not make non-urgent travel plans until we have returned your passport to you. Our service standards for processing applications show how quickly we aim to make a decision.
Your documents will be returned to the address you gave us on your form. If an immigration adviser helped you to complete the form, we will return the documents to that adviser. Your documents will be returned by post, using recorded delivery. If you want your documents to be returned by special delivery, you should provide a prepaid special delivery envelope.
You must complete the form in block capitals using a black pen. Please enter all dates as dd-mm-yyyy (for example, 29-04-2000).
Sections 1 and 2 - personal details
You must complete section 1 in full. If you are including dependants in your application, you must provide their details in section 2.
Section 3 - knowledge of language and life in the UK
You must provide evidence that you have sufficient knowledge of language and life in the UK. You must be able to meet these requirements before you make your application, unless you are in one of the categories that are exempt.
Section 4 - your home
You must provide details of your accommodation and evidence of the costs involved (such as council tax, and gas and electricity), including evidence that these have been paid.
Section 5 - your business
You must provide evidence of the business you have established. You must provide all the relevant documentation, including your business accounts for the past four accounting years.
Section 6 - your finances
You must complete this section in full.
Section 7 - evidence of income and expenditure
You must provide all the evidence requested for your income and total monthly spending in the listed categories.
Section 8 - personal history
You must complete this section on behalf of yourself and any dependants you are including in your application. The information you provide may be checked with other agencies, so you should make sure you include all relevant details. If necessary, you can continue your answers on a separate sheet of paper.
Section 11 - declaration
You must sign and date your completed application form. Your application will not be valid unless you complete this section. If you are including any dependants as part of your application, they do not need to sign the application form.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is my immigration status while my application is being decided? If you make an application before your authorised stay ends, your existing immigration status will continue until your application is decided, even if the decision is not made until after the end of your permitted stay. You can continue to work until your case is decided if the conditions of your existing leave allows you to do so.
Permanent residence for Bulgarian or Romanian nationals
- Form ECAA 4 Bulgarian and Romanian self-employed businesspersonPDF 533KB opens in a new window
- Photo guidancePDF 325KB opens in a new window
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Someone who depends on you financially, such as a husband, wife, partner, or child.
Indefinite leave to remain (often known as 'ILR' and 'settlement') is permission to remain in the UK without any time restrictions on the length of stay. It is not the same as naturalisation as a British citizen and may, in specific circumstances, be ceased or invalidated, for example, if a fraudulent application is uncovered, if the person resides outside of the UK for more than 2 years or as a result of a criminal conviction that results in a Deportation Order coming into force.
A notary is also known as a notary public. A notary is a public official who is legally authorised to witness the signing of documents and perform other formal duties.