Movement and residence
Citizens of the EU and their family members have the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the EU, subject to certain conditions.
This right is conferred directly on every EU citizen by Article 21 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
As specified in a Commission directive from 2004 , the following rules apply:
- EU citizens can reside on the territory of another EU country for up to three months without any conditions other than the requirement to hold a valid identity card or passport;
- To reside in another EU country for more than three months, EU citizens are required to meet certain conditions depending on their status (i.e. worker, student, etc.) and may also be required to meet certain administrative formalities;
- EU citizens can acquire the right to permanent residence in another EU country after legally residing there for a continuous period of five years;
- The family members of EU citizens have the right to accompany or join them in another EU country, subject to certain conditions.
Where can I find more information and assistance?
To find out more on the right to free movement:
- Guide to free movement - comprehensive information on the right to move and reside freely within the EU;
- Your Europe - Citizens - the Commission's online information portal on EU citizenship;
- Guide to working in another EU country - information on free movement of workers, including transitional arrangements for workers from Bulgaria and Romania.
If you think that your free movement rights have not been upheld, you can make use of the means of redress available at national level to assert your rights. Only national courts can award you reparation for damage suffered. You may also wish to contact a local solicitor to provide you with legal advice.
The following EU services assist citizens in solving individual problems: