Workers - residence rights
UK decision to invoke Article 50 of the TEU: More information
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:
You have the right to live in any EU country where you work, as an employee, a self-employed person or as a posted worker.
Staying abroad for up to 3 months
Have your national identity card (ID) or passport readily available
As a 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.
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.
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
You have the right to live in any EU country if you work there.
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, to show that you're working there and obtain a document confirming your right to stay.
Find out how to register your residence abroad.
If you lose your job
If you lose your job while living in another country, you can still stay there if you are:
- unable to work temporarily because of illness or accident
- registered with the relevant authority as being involuntarily unemployed. If you have been employed for less than a year before that, you retain the right to equal treatment with nationals for a limited period of at least 6 months.
- following vocational training. If you are not involuntarily unemployed, the training must be related to your previous job.
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 meet these requirements, 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.
If you have lived legally as a worker 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 for 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 before 5 years
You may qualify for permanent residence in less than 5 years in any of the following situations:
- if you retire and have worked in the country for the last year, or have lived there continuously for 3 years
- if you stop working because you are no longer able to work and have lived in the country continuously for 2 years
- if you stop working because you are no longer able to work due to an accident at work or occupational illness. In this case you have the right to remain regardless of how long you have lived in the country prior to the accident or malady
- if you start working in another EU country as a cross-border worker - you must return to your place of residence at least once a week - but have worked in the country where you want to obtain permanent residence for 3 years continuously beforehand.
Permanent residence document
Find out how to get a permanent residence document: it will certify your right to stay in your host country unconditionally.
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.