EU long term residency

EU Long-Term Residency

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The EU long-term residence permit is a permanent residence title, which enables you to live and work in any EU member country.

To be eligible, third-country nationals must have lived in the EU country where they apply, for at least five years. The best thing about an EU long-term residence permit is that it is permanent and automatically renewable after a period, and it facilitates the move to a different EU country.

(Please note that Denmark and Ireland are excluded).

As a long-term resident you have the right to be treated equally with the citizens of the host EU country in the following areas:

  • Access to employment and self-employment (this may not apply for some activities which are only for nationals or EU citizens, such as access to some positions in the public administration);
  • Conditions of employment and work;
  • Education and work-related training, including study grants;
  • Recognition of diplomas and qualifications;
  • Social protection, social assistance and social security as defined by national law (EU countries can limit social assistance to basic benefits only, such as the minimum income);
  • Tax benefits;
  • Access to goods and services (e.g. transport, museums, restaurants, etc.);
  • Freedom of association and trade union membership;
  • Free access to the entire territory of the EU host country.

Benefits of the EU Long-Term Residence Permit

You can apply to have your family join you in the EU, and they will be entitled, in the same way as you, to the following:

  • Access to employment / self-employment (this may be limited for a maximum of one year);
  • Access to education; 

EU Long-Term Residence Permit Application

The application for an EU long-term residence permit is to be submitted at the immigration authorities in the EU country you are residing. We recommend to apply three months prior to the current residence title expiring.

The European Blue Card

An EU Blue Card gives highly-qualified workers from outside the EU the right to live and work in an EU country, provided they have higher professional qualifications, such as a university degree, and an employment contract or a binding job offer with a high salary compared to the average in the EU country where the job is.

When applying for a Blue Card the applicant must meet the following conditions:

  • Prove that you have ‘higher professional qualifications’, by showing a higher education qualification (such as a university degree). Some Member States may also accept at least five years of relevant professional experience;
  • Work as a paid employee – the EU Blue Card does not apply to self-employed work or entrepreneurs;
  • Your annual gross salary must be high, at least one and a half times the average national salary – except when the lower salary threshold applies;
  • You must present a work contract or binding job offer in an EU country for at least one year;
  • You must have the necessary travel documents. You must have health insurance for yourself and any relatives joining you;
  • You must prove that you fulfil the legal requirements to practice your profession, where this profession is regulated.

The EU Long-Term Residence Permit in Spain

Spain is one of the EU countries where you can apply for and obtain the permit. Therefore, if you are a long-term resident you can apply for an EU long-term residence permit in Spain.

As mentioned at the start, this permit allows you to live and work in any other EU country. However, please bear in mind that you will need to apply for a similar permit in the new host country, in accordance with the legislation in force, when you move to another EU country.

The Requirements

In Spain, just like in any other European Union country, the supreme International legislative act setting objectives for EU long-term residence is the Council Directive 2003/109 / EC of 25 November 2003 concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents.

The specific Spanish national legislative acts regarding long-term residence EU are:

  • Organic Law 4/2000, of 11 January, on the Rights and Freedoms of Foreigners in Spain and their Social Integration (article 32).
  • Regulation of Organic Law 4/2000, approved by Royal Decree 557/2011, of 20 April (article 151 to 154).

In Spain, to be eligible for the EU long-term residence permit:

  • You must be a non-EU/EEA citizen, nor be a Swiss citizen or a family member of citizens to which the EU regime applies;
  • Have no criminal record in Spain, nor in previous countries of residence for crimes recognized by Spanish law;
  • Not being subject to a ban on entry (recorded in the S.I.S. [Schengen Information System] or in the National Register);
  • You must have resided legally and continuously in Spain for five years. Continuity will not be affected by absences, but these cannot exceed a total of 10 months during the last five years or more than six continuous years.
  • Have fixed and regular resources to maintain yourself, and where appropriate, your family. The resources may come from one’s own resources or from work or professional activities.
  • Have public or private health insurance that covers the risks normally insured for Spanish citizens.

The Financial Means Explained

The minimum amount of money requested by the IPREM to obtain the EU long-term residence permit currently is the following:

For family units that include two members, an amount representing 150% of the IPREM will be required annually. For 2021, the IPREM is €564.90 a month, meaning that you would need a monthly income of €847,35 (€10,168.20 yearly), or its equivalent in the foreign currency.

For each additional family member, 50% of the IPREM must be added on top, meaning that you would require €282,45 per additional family member or its equivalent in the foreign currency.

What is the IPREM?

Spanish Immigration uses a calculation based on a system called IPREM, literally “the Public Multiple Effects Income Indicator” or Indicador Público de Renta de Efectos Múltiples in Spanish.

As well as being used for Immigration purposes, IPREM is used in Spain as a reference for granting various public funds and benefits including scholarships, housing, school, nursery, social benefits, unemployment payments etc.

Medical Insurance apt for the EU long-term Residence Permit in Spain

It is obligatory to provide medical insurance with the same coverage as the one provided by the social security system in Spain. In other words, hospitalisation must be covered and copayments aren’t an option.


  • The health insurance policy must provide a full coverage in case of any type of illness or accident;
  • The health insurance must be valid for the entire period of residence in Spain;
  • On the other hand, if your health insurance policy expires at the end of the year, it should be renewable yearly;
  • At the time of renewal, you will require proof of such.

List of documents

  • Application form.
  • Copies of all the passport pages, travel document or registration card.
  • For holders of the EU-blue card please provide documentation proving previous residence in EU countries.
  • Proof of income. This could be your work contract, bank statements, pay slips etc.
  • Health insurance. Submit evidence that you have health insurance.

Important: For documents issued in other countries, you will require legalised translations into Spanish or the co-official language of the territory where the application is submitted.

Additional documentation when applying with family members

Marriage certificate – legalised with the Apostille of The Hague and translated by a Spanish translator certified by the Spanish Government.

Birth certificate (applicants under 18 only) – legalised with the Apostille of The Hague and translated by a Spanish translator certified by the Spanish Government.

Application process

  • If you are in Spain, you can apply in person or via a representative in any public registry and addressed to the Immigration Office of the province where you reside;
  • If you are not in Spain, the application must be submitted in person at the Spanish diplomatic mission or consular office of your country of residence.
  • The fee for a EU long-term residence permit, which for 2021 is €21.44, will be accrued at the time of admission and must be paid within ten working days.
  • The application resolution period is of three months, starting on the next day from the date on which the application has been entered into the registry of the competent body for processing.

Once this period has elapsed without you receiving an administrative notification, it may be understood that the request has been approved due to administrative silence, except in the following scenario:

  • having contributed notably to the economic, scientific or cultural progress of Spain, or to the projection of Spain abroad, in which it will be understood that the request has been approved if, after three months the Administration has not not notified the applicant.
  1. You have one month from the notification date to collect the permit in person at the responsible Immigration Office of Police Station.
  2. When submitting your biometric data you will be asked to show your valid travel document, together with:
  3. The application;
  4. Proof of payment;
  • Three recent passport-sized photos in colour and on a white background.

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