A residence permit is a document that allows foreign citizens or people who do not have the appropriate citizenship to legally reside in the country on a long-term basis. In some countries and in some cases it can also be used as an ID.
Key features of a residence permit
A residence permit generally allows you to leave a country and enter it freely within the period of a residence permit validity. At the same time in some countries, even with this document, foreign citizens must apply for visas additionally.
Often residence permit holders can apply for a permanent resident status only after 5 years. Such rules are established in most countries of the EU. However, in some of these countries (Hungary, Belgium), it is possible to obtain a permanent resident status instead of after only three years of legal residency. The most strict requirements are set in Switzerland, where in most cases the possibility to obtain a permanent resident status is provided only after 10 years of legal residence in the status of a foreign citizen.
The common ways of obtaining a residence permit
There are various ways to become a residence permit holder. The most common are marriage, studying and employment. Almost every country provides special conditions for entrepreneurs, highly qualified professionals, scientists and investors. In some cases, the document may be issued by the authorities for certain contributions, such as assisting the police in catching dangerous criminals.
In general, there are several popular ways to obtain a residence permit:
- . Such programmes are available in a number of European countries. The minimum investment is €250,000.
- Investment in the economy. You can invest in any European country, but only a few of them provide preferential conditions for obtaining a residence permit.
- Opening a business and employing people. However, it is important to note that this option is available not in all European countries.
- Getting married to a citizen of the state. A common method, which is often used by marriage fraudsters.
- An employment contract. This method works if the European employer is interested in having the specialist.
- Family reunion. A foreigner can apply for a residence permit based on family ties, but only if his relatives have a residence permit.
- Studying at a university. A residence permit is granted for a period of 4-5 years. In order to stay in the country after graduation, the graduate has to be employed under a contract in a short period of time.
- The performance of official duties. This option is suitable for diplomats, members of delegations and representatives of international companies.
- Science related occupation. A contract with a company commissioning scientific work is required.
- Medical treatment. This method is suitable if an applicant requires a long-term treatment course.
It is also possible to obtain a residence permit by proving one’s worth to the state. You are eligible for this if you have rendered special services to the country or if you have done voluntary work.