Council Directive 2003/109/EC concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents
The European Union grants European resident status to Non-EU Member Country nationals who have resided legally and continuously within the territory of the Member States for five years. In addition, the Directive approximates national legislation and practices regarding the terms for conferring resident status and lays down the conditions for residence in Member States other than the one which conferred resident status. The Directive is also designed to give full effect to Article 63(4) of the EC Treaty by setting out the rights of Non-EU Member Country nationals residing legally in a Member State to reside in the other Member States.
By creating a single status for long-term resident Non-EU Member Country nationals, the Directive approximates the laws of the Member States and ensures equal treatment throughout the Union, whatever the Member State of residence. For the purposes of the Directive, the following definitions apply:
- Non-EU Member Country national: any person who is not a citizen of one of the Member States of the European Union;
- long-term resident: any Non-EU Member Country national who has the status provided for in the Directive;
- first Member State: the Member State which for the first time granted long-term resident status;
- second Member State: any Member State other than the one which for the first time granted long-term resident status to a Non-EU Member Country national and in which that long-term resident exercises the right of residence;
- family members: persons defined as family members by the Directive on the right to family reunification;
- refugee: any person enjoying refugee status within the meaning of the Geneva Convention;
- long-term resident's EC residence permit: the permit issued
by a Member State upon the acquisition of long-term resident
The Directive applies to all Non-EU Member Country nationals residing legally in the territory of a Member State. Some categories of individual are excluded from its scope because their situation is precarious or because they are resident on a short-term basis (refugees, asylum seekers awaiting a decision on their status, seasonal workers or workers posted for the purpose of providing cross-border services, persons who have been granted temporary protection or a subsidiary form of protection, persons residing in order to pursue studies or vocational training). The Member States must apply the Directive in accordance with the principle of non-discrimination pursuant to Article 13 of the EC Treaty and Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
The Member States must take the necessary measures to implement this Directive by 23 January 2006 at the latest. No more than five years after that date, the Commission will report to the European Parliament and Council on implementation, proposing such amendments as may be necessary.
DG Justice, Freedom and Security
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