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FAQs - Residence


Rights, conditions and formalities

  • I forgot to register at the town hall after being in another EU country for 3 months. Will I be expelled?

    NO - You cannot be expelled. However, depending on the country, you may be fined for failing to register when required.

  • I have independent resources and am planning to move to another EU country. Do I need to prove to the authorities there that I have sufficient means to support myself?

    YES – If you can prove you have sufficient resources and comprehensive health insurance valid in that country, you can stay there for more than 3 months.

  • I spend 2 months of every year in my seaside flat in another EU country. Do I have to register at the town hall?

    NO – If you stay for less than 3 months, all you might need to do is report your presence, if that country requires it.

  • I travel to another EU country several times a year for work, staying for a maximum of 1 week each time. Do I have to undertake any formalities?

    NO - If you stay for less than 3 months each time, the only formality you might have to undertake is to report your presence, if the country requires it.

  • I'm a Danish pensioner and moved to Italy 5 years ago. 2 years ago I had to go back to Denmark for medical surgery and spent 10 months there. Will I still be entitled to become a permanent resident in Italy?

    YES – Your "continuity of residence" requirement is not affected by absences of less than 12 months for serious health reasons.

  • I'm a Finnish pensioner planning to move to Italy. I'm able to support myself with my pension and have full health insurance linked to my pension, which covers me in Italy. If I can prove this, am I entitled to become a permanent resident?

    NO – Not straight away. The Italian authorities will initially issue you with a registration certificate. If you then stay in Italy continuously for 5 years, you will acquire the right to become a permanent resident. Once you have that right, you can no longer be required to prove you have sufficient resources to stay in Italy.

  • I'm an Italian project officer, on a 7-month posting in Belgium, ending in 3 months' time. I'm staying in my Belgian girlfriend's flat (free of charge). Am I exempt from compulsory registration in Belgium, as I don't have a rental contract or pay any utilities there?

    NO – You still have to register as soon as possible. In Belgium, this is compulsory for all EU citizens staying for longer than 3 months. You cannot be expelled if you don't register, but you may have to pay a fine.

  • I'm self-employed and have recently moved to another EU country. I'm not required to register there for the first 3 months. Can I start working before I register?

    YES – You're allowed to work whether or not you have a registration certificate.

  • I've been living in another EU country for 6 years. Can I be considered a permanent resident?

    YES – You can apply for proof of that status from the national authorities.

  • I've been working legally in another EU country for more than 5 years. Can the authorities there still ask me to prove I'm employed there when I renew my registration certificate?

    NO – After 5 years, you are automatically entitled to permanent residence in your new country. You should not renew your registration certificate but apply for a permanent residence document, which confirms that you have the right to stay there even if you do not work or need income support.

  • If I go to another EU country as a tourist, are there any formalities to complete?

    NO – If you stay there for less than 3 months, you can only be asked to report your presence to the authorities – but this is usually done by the hotel where you're staying.

EU family members

  • I need to look after my cousin who's seriously ill. He's an EU national but doesn't have any income. I've been offered a permanent job in another EU country. Will my cousin be able to move there with me?

    YES – The best for your cousin would be to apply for residence as a person with independent resources. He may be asked to prove he has enough resources on his own.

    He'll have to prove that you're supporting him on a stable and regular basis and that he has health insurance in the new country. His registration certificate should be issued immediately.

  • I'm Norwegian and am moving to Spain with my same-sex husband. How will the Spanish authorities treat him?

    He should have no problems with residence in Spain, which recognises same-sex marriages.

    However, not all EU countries treat registered same-sex spouses / partners in the same way. In these countries, partner's right to stay is not automatic and will be assessed by the national authorities on a case-by-case basis.

  • I'm a Slovak national who joined my husband (working in Germany) 6 years ago. He died 2 months ago and I have no independent income - my husband's work was our only source of income. The German authorities said I must prove I have sufficient personal resources, but right now I don't. Do I have to return to Slovakia until I find a job?

    NO – Under EU law, you can continue to live in Germany without any conditions because you've been living there legally for 5 years.

Non-EU family members

  • I'm German and going to work as a doctor in Holland. My registered partner, who's Mexican, will be coming with me. Will she be treated as my spouse for the purpose of residence formalities?

    YES - When it comes to residence rights, registered partners enjoy full rights in Holland. The formalities will be the same as if you were married.

    However, not all EU countries treat registered partners in the same way – in these countries, your partner's right to stay is not automatic and will be assessed by the national authorities on a case-by-case basis.

  • I'm a Bulgarian doctor and have found a job in a Hungarian hospital. My half-brother, a Russian national who's been living with me and my parents in Bulgaria since he was a child, would like to accompany me to Budapest. Does he have an automatic right of residence in Hungary, as a family member of an EU national?

    NO – Because he is not your dependent direct ascendant or descendant but if the Hungarian authorities refuse residence, they must justify it, which they can do only after extensive research into your personal relationship with your half-brother.

  • If I go to another EU country to work for a month, does my non-EU wife, who will be coming with me, have to undertake any formalities?

    NO – To live with you there for less than 3 months, she does not need to register with the authorities, though she might be asked to report her presence. However, she should carry a valid passport at all times - this is sufficient to give her right of residence.

Elections

  • If I am on the electoral roll of my new country of residence and voting is compulsory there, am I obliged to vote?

    YES - Like nationals of that country.

Rights, conditions and formalities

  • If I spend a year in another EU country as an Erasmus exchange student and do not work or have any income, how can I prove I have sufficient resources for the length of my stay?

    Your parents/legal guardian can provide you with sufficient resources, for example by paying money into your bank account every month.

  • If I take a language course in another EU country, do I have to register at the town hall?

    It depends how long you stay – if you stay for less than 3 months you don't have to register, but may be asked to report your presence to the authorities.

    If you stay for longer, you may be required to register with the relevant authorities.

  • What happens if I forget to report my presence in a country where this is required? Can I be expelled?

    NO - You can't be expelled, but you may have to pay a (proportionate) fine, depending on that country's laws.

EU family members

  • I'm Belgian and am moving to Sweden with my same-sex husband. How will the authorities treat him?

    The Swedish authorities will treat him the same as any other spouse, as Sweden recognises same-sex marriages.

    However, not all EU countries treat same-sex spouses/ registered partners in the same way. In these countries, same-sex spouses'/partner's right to stay is not automatic and will be assessed by the national authorities on a case-by-case basis.

  • I'm Hungarian, and moved to Austria 6 years ago to be with my Hungarian husband, who was studying there. Two months ago, he died. The Austrian authorities have told me that to qualify for permanent residence, I must prove I have sufficient resources to support myself (which I don't - we lived from my husband's savings). Are they right?

    NO - You can continue to live in Austria because you've been legally resident there for 5 years. Your right of permanent residence is no longer subject to the condition of sufficient resources.

  • I'm an Estonian doing my PhD in the UK. My Estonian parents are dependent on me and would like to join me in London for the duration of my studies. As family members of an EU national, are they automatically entitled to a residence certificate?

    NO – Your nationality may be a factor that supports their application for residence but it does not confer any automatic rights. If the British authorities reject your parents' application, they must send them their decision in writing, stating all their reasons for refusing and the implications for your parents.

Non-EU family members

  • I am Japanese, living in Sweden in a registered partnership with a Swedish man, together with my son (23) from a previous marriage. My partner decided to study for a Master's degree in Iceland and I'd like to go with him, along with my son. My son is a Japanese national and a student, dependent on us. Will he get a residence card in Iceland?

    YES – (As the child of the partner of an EU national) because as a student he's dependent on you, even though he's over 21.

  • I'm a Romanian student, studying in Norway for a year. My parents (Moldovan nationals) would like to come and live with me for the duration of my studies. Do they have an automatic right of residence in Norway, as parents of an EU national?

    NO – But you can ask the Norwegian authorities to consider their application. If the Norwegian authorities refuse residence, they must justify their refusal, which they can only do after extensive research into your personal circumstances.

  • I'm going to Holland for a 1-month language course. My same-sex wife, a non-EU national, who I married in Belgium, is coming with me. Does she have to go through any formalities?

    NO – In the Netherlands, she'll be treated the same as any other spouse.

    For a stay of less than 3 months, all she needs is a valid passport (though she might also need a visa, depending which country she's from).

    She might also have to report her presence in the country and should carry her passport at all times.

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