Residence Permit

Residence Permit

Residence Permit

A residence permit is a card or document allowing a foreign citizen to reside in a country for a fixed or indefinite length of time.

Residency status may be granted for a number of reasons, but the requirements and application process are different for each country.

A temporary residency permit is issued for a defined period of time, while a permanent residence permit enables its holders to have indefinite residence in the country.

A permanent residence permit can be obtained after a few (sometimes more) years of legal residing in the country under a temporary residence permit.

What is a residence permit?

A residence permit is a document that confirms the legal status to reside in the country. It is issued by the immigration authorities and contains holder’s personal information, the period during which a person can reside in the country, and the purpose of stay.

The valid purposes for getting a residence permit include:

  • buying real estate
  • being employed
  • marrying a citizen of that country
  • reuniting with family (a spouse, child, or parent)
  • investing in the country’s economy
  • opening business
  • studying
  • having medical treatment
  • conducting official activities
  • carrying out a scientific research

Note: A residence permit is not an entry visa. Unlike a visa, a residence permit confirms the right of a foreign national to reside in the country for a more extended period and gives more rights.

How to obtain a residence permit

The procedure for getting a residence permit differs between countries. Still, normally, people willing to obtain a residence permit must take the following steps:

  1. Complete a visa application. Apply for a long-term visa – for example, a work, student, or immigrant visa.
  2. Provide the necessary documents. In most cases, you need to hold a valid passport, health insurance, proof of sufficient funds, proof of accommodation, and a criminal record.
  3. Wait for the result. The immigration authorities will process your application and check the attached documents. Sometimes an applicant may need to have an interview with an immigration officer.
  4. Collect the permit. After the application review, if your application is successful and your residence permit is approved, you will need to collect the document. Depending on the country, you should do it in person or via mail.
  5. Apply for renewal. If you have a temporary permit, see when it expires and renew it on time.

Before applying for a residence permit, you must thoroughly examine the requirements applicable to the country you want to reside in.

Types of residence permits

A residence permit may be granted as:

  • temporary residence permit (for a fixed period of time)
  • permanent residence permit (with an indefinite validity period)

A fixed-term residence permit is issued as a temporary or a continuous residence permit. To get a permanent residence permit, one should obtain a temporary residence permit first.

After several years of legal and uninterrupted life in the country (the number of years and conditions varies among countries), one can apply for a permanent permit which provides more rights and privileges.