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Uniform format for residence permits
The European Union has introduced a uniform format for residence permits for third-country nationals.
This Regulation replaces Joint Action 97/11/JHA concerning a uniform format for residence permits * and the measures adopted by the Council with a view to its application (see below, "Related acts"). Under the Schengen Agreement, a residence permit accompanied by travel documents may replace a visa. Third-country nationals * who present their passport and residence permit can enter a Schengen country and stay there for a limited period.
The Regulation sets out the general characteristics of the uniform format, a model of which is annexed to the document. The residence permits are to be issued as stand-alone documents, based on the given format. Other technical specifications designed to prevent counterfeiting and forgery are adopted by the Commission and the Committee set up by Regulation (EC) No: 1683/95 laying down a uniform format for visas. If it is decided to keep these provisions secret, they are passed on only to the bodies designated by the Member States to print residence permits.
As provided by Directive 95/46/EC on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, a person to whom a residence permit has been issued has the right to request corrections be made regarding his/her personal details on that permit.
Biometric * identifiers are used in the residence permits to verify the authenticity of the document and the identity of the third-country national in question. The identifiers consist of a facial image (photograph) and two fingerprints, which will be processed according to national practices and respecting the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The technical specifications for the collection of biometric identifiers are adopted in compliance with the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and based on the technical specifications for issuing national passports as provided by Regulation (EC) No 2252/2004.
This Regulation does not apply to the following third-country nationals:
- the family members of EU citizens who exercise their right to free movement;
- the nationals, and their family members, of the European Free Trade Association countries that participate in the Agreement on the European Economic Area, and who are exercising their right to free movement;
- the nationals of countries that are exempt from visa requirements and have the right to a maximum three months stay in a Member State.
Member States may use this uniform format for purposes other than those specified in the Regulation. However, steps must be taken to ensure that such use does not create confusion with the uniform residence permit.
The Regulation requires the Member States to issue the uniform format for residence permits no later than one year after adopting the additional security measures. The biometric identifiers are to be implemented no later than two years (facial image) or three years (fingerprints) after the appropriate technical specifications have been adopted. Authorisations granted in other types of residence permits issued previously continue to be valid unless the Member States decide otherwise. The residence permit may be issued in sticker form for a transitional period of two years after the technical specifications relating to the facial image have been adopted.
Ireland and the United Kingdom have declared their wish to participate in the adoption and application of the Regulation. As far as Denmark, the Republic of Iceland, the Kingdom of Norway and the Swiss Confederation are concerned, this Regulation constitutes a development of the provisions of the Schengen acquis.
The European Council, at its meeting in Thessaloniki on 19 and 20 June 2003, expressed the need for coherency with regard to biometric identifiers in order to provide for consistency in documents for third-country nationals, passports of EU citizens and information systems. A uniform format for residence permits for third-country nationals contributes, first of all, to preventing illegal immigration and residence. The use of biometric identifiers, in turn, protects the residence permits against fraudulent use by connecting the permit and its holder in a more reliable manner.
Key terms used in the act
|Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002||15.6.2002||-||OJ L 157 of 15.6.2002|
|Amending act(s)||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Regulation (EC) No 380/2008||19.5.2008||-||OJ L 115 of 29.4.2008|