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Updated : 01/08/2017

Pensioners - residence rights

As an EU national, you can live in any EU country if you have:

  • comprehensive health insurance cover in your host country
  • sufficient income to live there without needing income support.

Income could come from a pension, if you are a pensioner, or any other source of revenue.

Staying abroad for up to 3 months

Have your national identity card (ID) or passport readily available

As an EU national, the only requirement to stay in another EU country for less than 3 months is to hold a valid national identity card or passport.

In many EU countries you need to carry an identity card or passport with you at all times.

In these countries, you could be fined or temporarily detained if you leave your identity documents at home - but you cannot be forced to return to your home country  for this reason alone.

Check if you have to carry an ID or passport at all times in your host country:

Report your presence

Some EU countries require you to report your presence to the relevant authorities within a reasonable period of time after arrival. They may impose a penalty, such as a fine, if you fail to do so.

Find out more on reporting your presence.

Deportation

In exceptional cases, your host country can deport you on grounds of public policy, public security, or public health - but only if it can prove you represent a serious threat.

The deportation decision must be given to you in writing. It must state all the reasons, for your deportation, and specify how you can appeal and by when.

Staying abroad for more than 3 months

As an EU national, you can live in any EU country if you have:

  • comprehensive health insurance cover in your host country
  • sufficient income to live there without needing income support.

Income could come from a pension, if you are a pensioner, or any other source of revenue.

Register your residence

During the first 3 months of your stay, your host country cannot require you to register your residence. You can do so if you wish.

After 3 months, your host country may require you to register your residence with local authorities, prove you meet the conditions to stay and obtain a document confirming your right to stay.

Find out how to register your residence abroad.

Request to leave and deportation

You may live in the other EU country as long as you continue to meet the conditions for residence. If you no longer do so, the national authorities may require you to leave.

In exceptional cases, your host country can deport you on grounds of public policy or public security - but only if it can prove you represent a serious threat.

The deportation decision or the request to leave must be given to you in writing. It must state all the reasons for your deportation, and specify how you can appeal and by when.

Permanent residence

If you have lived legally, meeting the conditions to stay in another EU country for a continuous period of 5 years you automatically acquire the right of permanent residence there. This means that you can stay in the country as long as you want.

Your continuity of residence is not affected by:

  • temporary absences (less than 6 months per year)
  • longer absences for compulsory military service
  • one absence of 12 consecutive months, for important reasons such as pregnancy and childbirth, serious illness, work, vocational training or a posting to another country.

You can lose your right to permanent residence if you live outside the country for more than 2 consecutive years.

Permanent residence document

Find out how to get a permanent residence document: it will certify your right to stay in your host country unconditionally.

Deportation

In exceptional cases, the country where you live permanently can decide to deport you on grounds of public policy or public security - but only if it can prove you represent a very serious threat.

The deportation decision must be given to you in writing. It must state all the reasons for your deportation, and specify how you can appeal and by when.

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