General provisions for the right of residence
Council Directive 90/364/EEC of 28 June 1990 on the right of residence.
Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States amending Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 and repealing Directives 64/221/EEC, 68/360/EEC, 72/194/EEC, 73/148/EEC, 75/34/EEC, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC, 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC.
1. Member States will grant the right of residence to nationals of Member States who do not enjoy this right under other provisions of Community law provided that they themselves and the members of their family (spouse, dependent descendants and dependent relatives in the ascending line of the person concerned or his or her spouse) are covered by sickness insurance in respect of all risks in the host Member State and have sufficient resources to avoid becoming a burden on the social security system of the host Member State during their period of residence.
2. Member States will issue a residence permit the validity of which may be limited to five years on a renewable basis. However, they may, if they deem it to be necessary, require revalidation of the permit at the end of the first two years of residence. Furthermore, the right of residence continues for as long as the beneficiaries of that right fulfil the conditions set out in paragraph 1. Where a member of the family does not hold the nationality of a Member State, he or she will be issued with a residence document of the same validity as that issued to the national on whom he or she depends.
3. The spouse and the dependent children of a national of a Member State entitled to the right of residence within the territory of the Member State may take up any employed activity anywhere within the territory of that Member State, even if they are not nationals of a Member State.
4. Member States may not derogate from the provisions of the Directive save on the grounds of public policy, public security or public health. The Directive does not affect existing legislation on the acquisition of second homes.
5. Not later than three years following the entry into force of the Directive, and then every three years, the Commission will draw up a report on the implementation of this Directive and present it to the Council and the European Parliament.
Entry into force - Date of expiry
Deadline for transposition in the Member States
OJ L 180 of 13.7.1990
Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 18 March 1999 on the implementation of Directives 90/364, 90/365 and 93/96 (right of residence) [COM(99) 127 final].
Freedom of movement was originally limited to persons exercising an economic activity, but was subsequently extended to all Member State nationals, even those who were not economically active. This extension to the right of residence, which is subject to certain conditions, was formally confirmed by the incorporation into the EC Treaty of the former Article 8a of the Treaty of Maastricht (now Article 18 of the EC Treaty). This Article gives every EU citizen a basic personal right to move and reside within the territory of the Member States.
The implementation of Directives 90/364, 90/365 and 93/96 has given rise to infringement procedures against nearly all the Member States, as only three had implemented the Directives by the deadline. The infringement procedures have, however, gradually been dropped as the Member States in question have adopted implementing measures.
The evaluation of the tangible implementation of the Directives has been based on the correspondence, complaints and petitions to the European Parliament and on a survey carried out among former Commission officials who, on retirement, have settled in a Member State other than that of their origin or last place of employment. Additional information has been provided by the Euro-Jus advisers' network and by the Citizens Signpost Service. The assessments have highlighted the difficulties which citizens have encountered, such as uncertainties regarding the steps to be taken and the length and complexity of the procedures for obtaining a residence permit. The authorities have also experienced difficulties, mainly in interpreting the conditions relating to financial resources and health insurance.
The preliminary conclusions are that there is a need:
- to step up efforts to inform citizens;
- to continue to ensure strict compliance with existing Community law;
- to make Community law on the free movement of persons easier to understand and to restructure it around the concept of "citizenship of the Union";
- to consider substantive changes to existing law.
Second report from the Commission to the Council and Parliament on the implementation of Directives 90/364, 90/365 and 93/96 (right of residence) [COM(2003)101 final].
This is the second report on the implementation of the three Directives on the right of residence of Union citizens and their family members, of whatever nationality, who are not economically active in the host Member State ("inactive"), covering the period 1999-2002.
Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 5 April 2006, on the application of Directives 90/364, 90/365 and 93/96 - (Right of residence) [COM(2006)156 final].
Fifteen years after the adoption of the Directives on the right of residence of inactive Union citizens, their application is basically satisfactory as the declining number of infringements shows. However, the national implementing measures of six Member States are still subject to infringement procedures for non-conformity or incorrect application mainly on account of a restrictive interpretation of the Directives.
For instance, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to France on 18 October 2004 concerning the requirement imposed by the French authorities on Union citizens to present a series of documents proving their civil status and their domicile in order to obtain a residence card. An additional letter of formal notice was sent a year later because the national legislation was still in force, although the contested practices have been discontinued.
The new Directive 2004/38 improves the current legislation and provides a solution in a number of ways to many of the specific problems encountered with regard to the application of the three Directives: it constitutes a single, simple legal instrument. The Commission indicates that it will give the utmost priority to ensuring that the Directive is correctly transposed into national law.
Last updated: 9.7.2007