Permanent Residency

Chetcuti Cauchi

By definition, permanent residence is the right to remain in a country indefinitely. 

Permanent Residence around the world

Permanent residency (PR) is a strong form of resident status held by an individual or family in a country other than their country of origin. Permanent residence status allows the holder of the PR certificate or PR permit together with a PR card.  This entitles the permanent resident to the right to legally reside in the issuing country for life.  In certain cases a PR is also entitled to work, enroll children to public schools and access the national healthcare system.  Whilst is up to each country to set the rules for permanent residency, European legislation for EU and non-EU nationals who have resided in an EU country for more than 5 years define the residence rights termed "permanent residence" or "long-term residence" under European Law.  Examples of national laws on permanent residence include:

MaltaMalta Residence by Investment grants Permanent Residence at the outset to families obtaining residence under the Maltese Residence Visa Programme or Malta Permanent Residence Programme.
UKIndefinite Leave to Remain or ILR can be obtained after a number of years of residence in the UK under any of the available visa types, including the entrepreneur visa, the innovation visa or the UK Tier 1 Investor Visa
PortugalThe Portuguese Golden Visa grants residence conditional to the holding of property in Portugal, leading to long-term residence according to EU laws upon satisfying the language test and physical presence requirement.
GreeceThe Greek Golden Visa grants permanent residence conditional to the holding of property in Greece. This is lost if the holder sells his property in Greece without having an alternative qualifying property.

Permanent Residence vs Citizenship

Permanent residency is distinct from citizenship but entitles the beneficiary to most of the rights granted to citizens except for the right to vote and to stand for local elections. Not every country allows permanent residency and different countries grant PR after different levels of presence in the country.  

European Permanent Residence vs Long Term Residence

Under the European Permanent Residence Directive, European nationals residing in a second member state for 5 years are entitled to "Permanent Residence" status in the EU.  Equivalent rights are granted to Non-EU Nationals ('third country nationals') under the EU Long-Term Residence Directive, that grants Long Term Residence Rights.

Temporary vs Permanent Residence

Different definitions apply according to the national laws of different countries.  Temporary residence often describes a residence status intended for a temporary period such as a touristic or holiday visit, a short conference visit or a business meeting limited to a number of days or a number of months.  Permanent residence indicates an unlimited stay in a given country throughout the year, with or without any restrictions to seek employment or do business. Permanent residence also indicates a right to avail one's self of public health and educational services and could involve voting rights on a local and/or national level.

Permanent Residence vs Citizenship

Permanent residence differs from citizenship in that it does not denote any nationality rights.  Citizenship is more permanent than PR and an individual can be deprived of citizenship in exceptional circumstances laid down by law.  Citizenship also entails the full set of civic rights and duties arising from a close bond to the state; permanent residence, while enjoying strong rights in the country, is a permission to stay that is not as strong as citizenship.

Permanent Residence in the European Union

"Permanent residence" under EU Permanent Residence Directive has a specific meaning applicable to EU nationals who acquire superior residence rights after 5 years of legal residence in a European Member state other than the country of nationality.

Permanent Residence in the Schengen Area

Permanent residence of a country that is a signatory of the Schengen Area Treaty (like Malta, Greece or Portugal) grants freedom of movement free of visa-checks and border controls within the 26 Schengen member states.

Our Residence Services 

Over the last 20+ years, CCLEX's award winning team of immigration and relocation lawyers has successfully represented thousands of individuals and families ranging from expatriate retirees, entrepreneurs and HNWIs listed in Fortune 500. 



Contact Us
Please send me legal and other updates
Related Practices
Related Services