What Is the EU Long Residence Permit and Benefits?
The European Union (EU) is a collection of 27 diverse countries, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. Core to the EU’s philosophy is that people should be able to move around freely within the EU, whether they wish to visit, work, study, or live. For nationals of countries outside the EU, however, a visa is typically needed for those coming to the EU for more than 90 days. But after five years, migrants who have lived lawfully in an EU country can gain permanent residence by applying for an EU Long term Residence Permit (note this is not available in Denmark, Ireland or the United Kingdom). In this article, we will explain the purpose of the EU Long Term Residence Permit, the benefits, who is eligible, and how to apply.
What is the EU Long Residence Permit?
The EU Long Residence Permit is available to third-party nationals (i.e., not from a country in the EU) who have been living in an EU country for at least five years. Once secured, Long Residence Permit holders have the right to remain permanently, and it does not need to be extended or renewed. EU Long Residence Permit holders are able to live, work, study, and access social security.
EU long-term residents are given the right to be treated in the same as all other citizens of their adopted EU country, including in relation to:
- The ability to work and become self-employed
- The rights to the same conditions of employment and work;
- Access to education
- Recognition of diplomas and qualifications;
- Taxation and tax benefits
- Social welfare and assistance
Can I get an EU Long Residence Permit?
If you have been living in the EU for five or more years, you will no doubt be keen to secure your right to permanent residence in your adopted country. The first step in the process is to ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements for EU Long Residency; these are as follows:
- Applicants must have lived in the EU country in which they apply for an EU Long Residence Permit for a minimum period of five years.
- Candidates are required to show they have sufficient financial means to support themselves and their dependant family members while living in the EU.
- It is necessary to speak the national language of the country in which you are applying to a sufficient standard.
- Applicants are required to have a rudimentary understanding of living in their newly adopted home country – including legal, social, and lifestyle matters.
- It is also necessary to have enough living space for yourself and your dependant family members where you will be living.
If you are unsure if you meet all of the eligibility requirements for an EU Long Residence Permit, speak to an immigration lawyer specialising in immigration law in your chosen European country who will be able to clarify this for you, and if you choose will complete the application process on your behalf.
What is the process of applying for an EU Long Residence Permit?
Your application for an EU Long Residence Permit will be made in the country in which you have been residing for five years or more. We recommend always ensuring that you apply for your EU Long Residence Permit well in advance of your current residence permit expiring, otherwise your application may be refused. The application process will vary depending on which country you are in, but in general, you will need to take the following steps:
- Complete the EU Long Residence Permit application form (this may be an online electronic form or a physical paper form).
- Collate the documents required to support your application – this will include:
- Passport photos
- Evidence of living in the EU country for five years or more – this may include your registration certificate, copies of rental agreements and bills covering the period required, payslips and bank statements.
- Evidence of income – you will need to prove that you have sufficient money to live on – this may take the form of payslips and bank statements
- Evidence that you have sufficient accommodation – such as a rental agreement and should outline the size of the living space in the building which is available to you and your dependents.
- Evidence of health insurance
- Enrol your biometrics – you will be asked to visit an immigration office to have your fingerprints scanned and a photo taken. Note, this is not an interview (there is no interview required to gain an EU Long Residence Permit); biometrics are required for identity and security.
- Pay the application fee for an EU Long Residence Permit – the method of payment and the amount will vary from country to country.
- Wait for your EU Long Residence Permit to be processed – if successful, you will be able to collect your permit from your local immigration office
How long will it take to get my EU Long Residence Permit?
While the timeframes for processing EU Long Residence Permits can vary from country to country, assuming that you have provided all the information and documentation required and you have paid your application fee, you can expect to receive a decision in four to six weeks from the date of submission.
How long will my EU Long Residence Permit last?
While EU Long Residence Permits effectively provide permanent residency, they do have an expiry date. Unlike other residence permit types, your residence will be automatically renewed without needing to meet any special eligibility requirements or to apply. Your local immigration office should write to you to inform you each time your permit is automatically extended.
The EU Long Residence Permit scheme is generous in terms of benefits and is easy to apply for. Application costs are also typically low, at between €100 and €200. If you need any assistance with your application, speak to immigration solicitors who can advise how to overcome any problems, check your eligibility and application, or handle the application process on your behalf.