Updated : 16/03/2017
UK referendum: For the time being, the United Kingdom remains a full member of the EU and rights and obligations continue to fully apply in and to the UK:
As an EU national, you automatically acquire the right of permanent residence in another EU country if you have lived there legally for a continuous period of 5 years. If you fulfil this requirement, you can apply for a permanent residence document, which confirms your right to live in the country where you now live permanently, without any conditions.
This is different from the registration certificate which is compulsory in many countries. The permanent residence document is not compulsory.
But it can be useful when dealing with the authorities or for administrative formalities. The authorities may no longer require you to prove that you have a job, sufficient resources, health insurance, and so on.
To get a document certifying your right of permanent residence, you must submit proof that you have been living legally in the country for 5 years.
You need to send different supporting documents with your application, depending on your situation (employed, self-employed, jobseeker, pensioner, student). This could include:
The authorities must issue the permanent residence document as soon as possible and cannot charge you more than nationals pay for their identity cards. If they do not, you can call on our assistance services.
The document is automatically renewable without any condition or requirement. However, its validity may differ depending on the issuing country.
In some specific cases you may apply for permanent residence before 5 years. Check if you qualify.
You can lose your right of permanent residence if you live outside the country for more than 2 consecutive years.
The same rights apply to your EU family members. They are also entitled to a permanent residence document in the country where they have resided with you legally for a continuous period of 5 years.
Read more on the right to reside in the EU of your family members.
See also how to get permanent residence for your non-EU family members.