Residence permit in the EU

Residence permit in the EU

Temporary residence in the EU is the presence of a permit for temporary residence in any of the union states. With a residence permit, a foreigner can stay in the country for a period specified by the status, use social and medical services, get access to education, work (if applicable). Temporary residence is granted to applicants on one of the grounds enshrined in the laws of the European Union state - for example, employment, education, moving to a family member, scientific or special activity. Temporary residence permit is usually valid from half a year to 3-4 years.

Temporary residence is the first step of a foreigner on the way to obtaining the status of a naturalized citizen of an EU country. With this document, the applicant can live in the state for the necessary period and extend it, if necessary, until the moment of compliance with the price of sedentary and obtaining a local identity card.

Temporary residence is the first step of a foreigner on the way to obtaining the status of a naturalized citizen of an EU country.

Advantages of temporary residence in Europe

Residence in an EU country gives the applicant access to the following:

  • Staying in the state for a long time

Temporary residence permit is valid on average from one year with the right to reissue, without restrictions on the number of border crossings.

  • Official work without the need to obtain permission

Depending on the type of residence permit, an immigrant has the right to respond to vacancies in the European Union and get a job on equal terms (salary level, number of days off, duration of working day) with indigenous people.

  • Getting an education

With a temporary residence permit, a foreigner can study at colleges, universities, academies in Europe, as well as arrange minor children depending on their age in a state preparatory institution or school.

  • Social support

Legal residents in EU countries have the opportunity to apply for help to state bodies, count on visiting integration courses, receiving benefits according to status (for example, for child care or disability).

  • Prospects for joining EU citizenship

With a residence permit, a foreigner can legally live in a chosen EU country, subsequently - apply for permanent resident status, and also claim local identity after observing sedentary census and other requirements for an applicant.

  • Business development

Resident status allows an immigrant to register a new enterprise and develop it on the international market within the EU with simplified logistics and customs system. The applicant can also acquire shares of an existing company or become its co-owner.

  • Moving with family members

Most types of temporary residence permits allow immigrants to request family reunification for legal spouses and minor unmarried children. Separate types of permits (for example, Blue Card EC) give the right to immediately move with the above-mentioned relatives without having to submit additional requests.

  • Visa-free travel across Schengen Agreement countries

If the chosen EU country is part of Schengen zone, local resident permit holder can stay up to 90 days within consecutive half-year across entire territory of agreement.

  • Quality medical care

Temporary residents are entitled to apply to state and private clinics within European Union free of charge or at expense of basic EU standard medical insurance.

  • Financial services

With temporary stay permit applicant can open bank account and use credit facilities, mortgage loans, other services not available for foreigners (for example tourists). Temporary resident card holders are usually also entitled to buy residential or commercial real estate.

How to obtain residence permit in Europe?

The grounds for obtaining a residence permit in an EU country are usually determined by the resolutions of the respective state - for example, “On the rules for the entry and stay of foreign persons”. In most cases, an immigrant needs to request a national visa for relocation, providing documentary evidence of the purpose of immigration. Popular ways to obtain residency largely coincide in different EU countries - education, work, commercial activity, investment, moving to relatives, the main ones are detailed below.


Foreigners who are admitted to study at a local university - college, university, academy or other institution of a similar level - can get a permit for temporary residence in the European Union. The right to temporary residence is also available to participants in international programs for the exchange of students, graduate students, doctoral students and interns. The applicant must be financially secure to stay in the country and have a place of residence on its territory, as well as pay for the planned education (at least the first course). The period of naturalization in an EU state usually counts only 50% of the time spent with a student’s temporary residence permit.


Resident status in EU countries is arranged for persons who get a job in one of private or public companies. This category also includes foreigners who are seconded employees or representatives of an international organization transferred within the enterprise. Temporary residence is granted for the duration of the employment contract or for 1-2 years with the right to reissue if the applicant retains grounds for living in the country. Employment must be official, with a salary set at no less than minimum in the state.

Business immigration

Most EU countries grant temporary residency to immigrants who plan to open their own business on their territory or are ready to buy shares or a share of an existing organization. In some states (for example, France), it is possible to open temporary residence for start-ups whose project has been approved and sponsored by a local authorized venture or similar company. An applicant may be required to provide a business plan and extract from a bank account, as well as confirm relevant experience or education in the planned activity sphere.


Spouses of citizens or legal residents of EU countries have the right to apply for local temporary residence. Some countries (for example, Slovakia) immediately grant these categories of applicants’ permanent resident status. The family union can be legal or factual, depending on the requirements of the respective state. EU representatives pay close attention to international marriages and carefully check them for fictitiousness (for example, they ask to prove cohabitation or long-term relationships) before issuing documents for foreigners.

Family reunification

Temporary residence permit in EU countries is available for close relatives of local citizens or residents. A request for family reunification can often be made by parents and children (usually under 18 and unmarried). As an exception, a temporary residence permit can be granted to other relatives if they or the host party need care and/or are unable to provide for themselves. Some states grant family members of local citizens permanent resident status bypassing preliminary stay with temporary residence.


EU citizenship programs for investments were closed in 2023. However, foreigners have the opportunity to arrange temporary resident status in an EU state by investing a certain amount in regulated laws spheres. Usually, investment is possible through the purchase of real estate, shares of state companies, development of economically lagging regions of the chosen country, charitable organizations. Some countries (for example, Malta and Bulgaria) can immediately provide a foreigner with permanent residence for large-scale financial investments.


Residence in the European Union is available to persons who need medical care and have an invitation from the appropriate clinic or charitable organization. Usually, temporary residence is issued for a short period (up to 12 months or for the period of treatment) and is extended only in exceptional circumstances. In many EU countries, a residence permit issued on this basis is not counted towards the total naturalization period and cannot be used for subsequent obtaining of permanent residence and citizenship.


EU countries provide humanitarian protection to persons who cannot return to their home country due to threats to life and health, for example, due to military actions or personal insults on racial, religious or national grounds. The status of a refugee can also be claimed by foreigners who have become victims of sexual or labor exploitation. Each request is considered by immigration authorities with the assistance of the police on an individual basis. Refugees often have the opportunity to obtain EU citizenship in an accelerated manner, but cannot use the first passport.

Dossier for obtaining temporary residence

To arrange residency in an EU state, a foreigner may need the following:

  • valid foreign passport or similar travel document (for example, seafarer’s identity document);
  • standard format photo (3.5 x 4.5 cm);
  • certificate of no criminal record from the country of permanent residence;
  • confirmation of financial solvency;
  • application filled out in the state language of the established sample;
  • registration of place of residence in the EU state;
  • receipt for payment of mandatory state fees


The applicant also needs to confirm the existence of grounds for arranging a residence permit using one of the following documents:

  • employment contract;
  • business plan;
  • certificate of enrollment at a university;
  • proof of marital union with a local resident;
  • invitation from a hospital.

Step-by-step arrangement of temporary residence

The basic procedure for arranging a residence permit in EU countries:

  1. Studying legislation and choosing grounds for immigration.
    The applicant determines a legal reason for relocation and opening a residence permit, after which he prepares a corresponding package of documents.
  2. Arranging entry permit.
    For a D category visa, a foreigner applies to the diplomatic representation of the chosen EU country in his homeland. On average, applications are considered by authorized bodies within a period from one month to one year.
  3. Relocation and arrangement of resident status.
    After arriving in the chosen EU country, a foreigner applies to territorial bodies of Ministry of Internal Affairs for opening temporary residence permit. Temporary residence can also be requested in advance in applicant’s country of residence through consulate or embassy.
  4. Receiving resident card.
    In case of approval request, applicant is provided with temporary residence card with personal data and specified validity period.

Refusal to obtain a residence permit

Most often, applicants for European temporary residence are denied when providing an incomplete dossier or submitting knowingly false data or fake documents. A residence permit is not issued if a foreigner does not meet all the requirements of immigration legislation (insufficiently financially secure or has a criminal record in his homeland). Temporary residence in the EU will not be granted to persons who have entered into a fictitious marriage, as well as those who pose a threat to public health or safety. Temporary residence will be denied if its provision is associated with reputational risks for the EU state.

Obtaining a residence permit in an EU country is real for applicants from any state if there is a legislatively established basis for issuing this document. However, temporary residence restricts an immigrant in rights (for example, it is impossible to claim positions in the state apparatus), requires regular renewal and is annulled if the reason for living in the state disappears. Residents of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus, other countries of the former USSR can immediately arrange EU citizenship according to a simplified procedure, bypassing the stage of living in the European Union with temporary and permanent residence. You can learn more about obtaining a second passport abroad within 12 months at a free consultation with immigration lawyers.

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