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Uniform format for residence permits

The European Union has introduced a uniform format for residence permits for third-country nationals.

ACT

Council Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002 of 13 June 2002 laying down a uniform format for residence permits for third-country nationals [See amending acts].

SUMMARY

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.

Background

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

  • Residence permit: any authorisation issued by the authorities of a Member State allowing a third-country national to stay legally on its territory (with certain exceptions defined in Article 1(2)(a)).
  • Third-country national: anyone who is not a citizen of the Union (with certain exceptions defined in Article 5).
  • Biometrics: the use of one or more physical characteristics of an individual (fingerprints, facial structure, iris), stored on a medium such as a smart card, bar code or document, to check the identity of the person presenting a document. Because the biometric feature is unique to that person, it is the decisive factor in authenticating identity.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1030/200215.6.2002-OJ L 157 of 15.6.2002
Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EC) No 380/200819.5.2008-OJ L 115 of 29.4.2008

RELATED ACTS

Council Decision 98/243/JHA of 19 March 1998 on the sharing of the costs of preparing film masters for the uniform format for residence permits [Official Journal L 99 of 31.3.1998].

Council Decision 98/701/JHA of 3 December 1998 on common standards relating to filling in the uniform format for residence permits [Official Journal L 333 of 9.12.1998].

Joint Action 97/11/JHA of 16 December 1996 adopted by the Council on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union concerning a uniform format for residence permits [Official Journal L 7 of 10.1.1997].
The Joint Action establishfkjeed a uniform format for residence permits for third-country nationals. A residence permit is defined here as "any authorisation issued by the authorities of a Member State allowing a third-country national to stay legally on its territory…" The Joint Action does not apply to:

  • visas;
  • permits valid for no more than six months;
  • permits issued pending examination of an application for a residence permit or for asylum.

Nor does it apply to:

  • members of the families of citizens of the Union exercising their right to free movement;
  • nationals of Member States of the European Free Trade Association party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area and members of their families exercising their right to free movement.
Last updated: 24.04.2009
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