Should I Get A Resident Permit in the EU?

Expats seeking the freedom to travel and stay in a favourite country where they have overseas property, business or family interests could go the extra mile to relieve them of increasing travel bureaucracy and controls.

ProACT Sam explains with ProACT know how.

Any Expat who wishes to stay beyond 90 days in a country has to consider whether to use a Visa for longer term stays or move on to a resident permit for that country.

A resident permit offers additional freedoms over and above a visa.


Visas allow cross-border travel for specific period of time to conduct a specific activity, such as work, study, family, holidays, or medical treatment.

For the EU, the Schengen zone has a common visa system for the EU Schengen zone, although it is still has complications cross border that require adaption to on a country by country trip basis


EU Citizens have got freedom of movement to work, to buy and visit property, move capital in business and investments throughout the EU without a Visa or any short stay restriction. So legally EU Citizens could be resident in any part of the EU for an unlimited amount of time.

An EU citizen doesn’t need a resident permit to be resident in another EU country other than to become a tax resident in that country.


EU Citizen already have an ID card which includes biometric data including facial recognition and fingerprints, which is linked within the EU including Europol police services which allows checks to be done in the event of an investigation. That could be a tax check.


An expat, who stays more than six months in a country is liable to be tax resident in that country, and could be deemed tax resident under the sovereign tax laws of a member state of the EU Schengen zone.

Tax residence can if you extend residence beyond 6 months in a year.

For nomads working abroad their tax residence may not change for short stays so for a nomad tax residence could be determined by the nomad expat’s domicile and citizenship status.

In EU and Non-EU and UK expats a resident permit is required to obtain tax residence.


Expats with a resident permit obtain and receive similar rights to those of a citizen to be able to buy property, work or stay with family.

However the requirements to obtain a resident permit and the freedoms vary on a country by country basis even within the EU Schengen zone. When an expat has a resident permit for any single country around the world, they don’t need a visa.


VIsa’s are for short stays of a limited time and may have different titles in different countries.

The EU Schengen zone visa short stay rule is unique to the EU and enforces 90 days (3 months) spent in any 180 day (6 month) period for travellers.

Other countries may allow multi day trips with only a day or weekend trip across borders allowing residence up to 180 days in one stretch.

Noting tax residence then becomes a factor.


Short stay 90 day EU Schengen and visa restrictions are not applied for movement between a home country and the resident permit country, although a passport will still be required cross-border.


A permanent residency status can be obtained, having been in possession of resident permit for five years or more.

This gives an expat, as its name implies, a more permanent status to the right of residency in that country without being a citizen of a country.

In Cyprus, for example, it would include a right to universal healthcare, not afforded to Expats with a ‘temporary’ resident permit, unless they are working and paying social insurance in country.


And electronic travel authority ETIAS is being introduced in November 2023 to the EU / Schengen area but they are not required by EU citizens or anyone needing and using an EU / Schengen Visa. ETIAS is required by anyone using visa free travel into the EU Schengen zone country, including UK travellers.

Electronic travel authorities already exist for other countries including USA, Australia and New Zealand. While not a Visa, the ETIAS is still checking against government databases such as Interpol and Europol to be sure better security for the EU. But it also allows border checks to enforce the 90 day short stay rule for those enjoying visa free travel into the EU Schengen zone.

An Expat, with a resident permit in any specific EU country is not subject to the short-stay rule and has freedom of movement between their home country and the resident permit country. However, that an expat has a resident permit freedom for one country does not extend to other EU Schengen zone countries where Visa free travel is available to them.

An electronic travel authority ETIAS will be required for any other traveller to EU Schengen zone country visa free with an EU Resident Permit or Permanent Resident Permit for another country, and they will be subject to the 90 day short-stay rule of the EU Schengen zone.

If an EU Schengen Visa is required to the multiple EU Schengen zone countries on one or more trip the Visa would be required for each those trips. Again, the short-stay rule would apply each time to each country.


A longer term Schengen Visa to specifically study or work is possible

A resident permit gives the Expat, with overseas property, cross border business or family overseas, the extra freedom of movement within that country to undertake study work holidays of medical treatment to suit their family needs.

It doesn’t extend to taking dual citizenship or changing citizenship, so is a great way forward for expats Living and Working Abroad in countries where that may not be an option.

Need help? Contact us for help & guidance. We also offer a free review.

Tel: 26 819 424

Visit our website here

Subscribe to all the lastest expat news, views & analysis here

Similar Articles


Most Popular