I was checking if it was possible to get EU permanent residence as a Union citizen of another EU country in less than 5 years. Generally, PR is obtained by working/living in another EU country for 5 years, but in some situations, it is allowed in less than 5 years.

One way is:

"if you retire and have worked in the country for the last year, or have lived there continuously for 3 years"

I am having some confusion in understanding it. Can anyone elaborate?

Edit: My understanding is that say if you moved to another EU country when you were 50 years of age and retired after working for at least 1 year, or after having lived there for 3 years without working in those 3 years. You can get PR straightaway. Is this right? Also, what if someone moves to another EU country as a retiree already? Will they qualify for PR after 3 years?

  • 1
    There seems to be an error in the page you linked to. From the quotation in the answer, it should be "if you retire and have worked in the country for the last year and have lived there continuously for 3 years"
    – phoog
    Sep 2 '20 at 16:18

I assume that you are an EU citizen who exercised his right of freedom of movement and residence in another EU (EEA+Switzerland) state.

Then yes, there are some exception to get permanent residence status sooner than after 5 years. The exceptions are described in Article 17 of EU Directive 2004/38/EC:

Article 17

Exemptions for persons no longer working in the host Member State and their family members

  1. By way of derogation from Article 16, the right of permanent residence in the host Member State shall be enjoyed before completion of a continuous period of five years of residence by:

(a) workers or self-employed persons who, at the time they stop working, have reached the age laid down by the law of that Member State for entitlement to an old age pension or workers who cease paid employment to take early retirement, provided that they have been working in that Member State for at least the preceding twelve months and have resided there continuously for more than three years. If the law of the host Member State does not grant the right to an old age pension to certain categories of self-employed persons, the age condition shall be deemed to have been met once the person concerned has reached the age of 60;

(b) workers or self-employed persons who have resided continuously in the host Member State for more than two years and stop working there as a result of permanent incapacity to work. If such incapacity is the result of an accident at work or an occupational disease entitling the person concerned to a benefit payable in full or in part by an institution in the host Member State, no condition shall be imposed as to length of residence;

(c) workers or self-employed persons who, after three years of continuous employment and residence in the host Member State, work in an employed or self-employed capacity in another Member State, while retaining their place of residence in the host Member State, to which they return, as a rule, each day or at least once a week. For the purposes of entitlement to the rights referred to in points (a) and (b), periods of employment spent in the Member State in which the person concerned is working shall be regarded as having been spent in the host Member State. Periods of involuntary unemployment duly recorded by the relevant employment office, periods not worked for reasons not of the person's own making and absences from work or cessation of work due to illness or accident shall be regarded as periods of employment.

For more details see the whole Article 17:


There may be other ways to get permanent residence under national law, just one real-world example:

My wife got permanent residence in the Czech republic just after 2 years of residence because she is a wife of Czech or EU citizen with permanent residence. The EU Directive 2004/38/EC does not forbid more favourable national provisions.

  • 1
    So the quotation on the page linked in the question appears to be incorrect.
    – phoog
    Sep 2 '20 at 16:20
  • Yes seems like a minor error. Sep 2 '20 at 16:34

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