Last checked: 23/09/2019

Economically inactive EU citizens

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As an EU citizen (In this case, a citizen from the 28 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.), you have the right to move to any EU country (In this case, the 28 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.) for a period of up to 3 months as long as you have a valid identity card or passport. If you want to settle in another EU country but you have no intention to take up any work or education there, you need to prove that you:

Reporting your presence and registering your residence

During the first 3 months of your stay in your new country, as an EU citizen, you cannot be required to apply for a residence document confirming your right to live there - although in some countries you may have to report your presence upon arrival.

After 3 months in your new country, you may be required to register your residence with the relevant authority (often the town hall or local police station), and to be issued with a registration certificate.

You will need a valid identity card or passport and:

Can you be requested to leave or be deported?

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 genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society.

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, you are entitled to be treated as a national of that country and you enjoy more protection against deportation. You can apply for a document certifying permanent residence.

Your continuity of residence is not affected by:

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

If you are economically inactive but you are joining a family member who is an EU citizen residing legally in a host EU country, you can stay there as their dependant.

See also:

Need more information on rules in a specific country?

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