Permanent residency is a person's legal resident status in a country or territory of which such person is not a citizen but where they have the right to reside on a permanent basis. This is usually for a permanent period; a person with such legal status is known as a permanent resident. In the United States, such a person is referred to as a green card holder but more formally as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR).[1]

Permanent residency itself is distinct from right of abode, which waives immigration control for such persons. Persons having permanent residency still require immigration control if they do not have right of abode. However, a right of abode automatically grants people permanent residency. This status also gives work permit in most cases.[1] In many Western countries, the status of permanent resident confers a right of abode upon the holder despite not being a citizen of the particular country.

Nations with permanent residency systems

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Not every nation allows permanent residency. Rights and application may vary widely.

All European Union countries have a facility for someone to become a permanent resident, as EU legislation allows an EU national who moves to another EU country to attain permanent resident status after residing there for five years. The European Union also sets out permanent residency rights for long-term resident third country nationals under directive (2003/109/EC). A novel approach was the granting of rights across the national borders of states adhering to the directive.

As for Hong Kong and Macau, both special administrative regions of China, they do not have their own citizenship laws, the term "permanent residents" refer to persons with the right of abode in these territories. Most permanent residents of Chinese descent are Chinese citizens according to Chinese nationality law.

Other countries have varying forms of such residency and relationships with other countries with regards to permanent residency.

Japanese permission for permanent residence issued in 2011 on a French passport

The countries and territories that have some type of permanent resident status include:

Non-standard forms of permanent residency

Former citizens or persons of origin

Some countries grant residency and other specific rights to former citizens or persons of origin in the country:

India does not permit dual citizenship, but former Indian citizens, and persons of Indian origin, are eligible to apply for an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card that allows them to live and work freely in India, apart from running for certain political office posts and occupying constitutional posts. They also cannot vote or buy agricultural land. Spouses who have no other connection to India other than being married to someone with or eligible for OCI can also apply for OCI if they have been married for at least two years. Once the marriage is dissolved, OCI status is automatically lost for spouse with no connection to India. In 2016, India allowed Permanent Resident Status to foreigners with some conditions.

Turkey allows dual citizenship, and former Turkish citizens by birth who have given up their Turkish citizenship with permission (for example, because they have naturalized in a country that usually does not permit dual citizenship, such as Austria, Germany, Japan or South Korea) and their descendants subject to certain conditions, can apply for the Blue Card (Mavi Kart), which gives most of the citizens' rights back, e.g. the right to live and work in Turkey, the right to possess land or the right to inherit, but not the right to vote or the right to be employed as a public servant.


Some countries have made treaties regulating travel and access to the job markets (non-government/non-military-related work)

However, for voting, being voted and working for the public sector or the national security in a country, citizenship of the country concerned is almost always required.[citation needed]


A "golden visa" is a permanent residency visa issued to individuals who invest, often through the purchase of property, a certain sum of money into the issuing country. Dating back to the 1980s, golden visas became much more popular and available in the 21st century. Golden visas require investments of anywhere from $100,000 in Dominica up to £2,000,000 in the UK. The most common method for obtaining a golden visa is through the purchase of real estate with a minimum value.[41] Some countries such as Cyprus and Malta also offer "golden passports" (citizenship) to individuals if they invest a certain sum.[42] The issuing of so-called "golden visas" has sparked controversy in several countries.[43][44]

Since the 1990s, some countries have begun to offer golden passports - which give citizenship as well as residency rights - to foreign nationals who invest (often through the purchase of real estate properties) a certain sum into the issuing country's economy.[45] The issuing of EU passports by Cyprus and Malta has sparked controversy but is expected to produce billions of euros in revenue for the issuing countries.[46]

Limitations of permanent residents

Depending on the country, permanent residents usually have the same rights as citizens except for the following:

Obligations of permanent residents

Permanent residents may be required to fulfill specific residence obligations to maintain their status. In some cases, permanent residency may be conditional on a certain type of employment or maintenance of a business.

Many countries have compulsory military service for citizens. Some countries, such as Singapore, extend this to permanent residents. However, in Singapore, most first generation permanent residents are exempted, and only their sons are held liable for national service.[50]

In a similar approach, the United States has Selective Service, a compulsory registration for military service, which is required of all male citizens and permanent residents ages 18 to 26; this requirement theoretically applies even to those residing in the country illegally.[51] Applications for citizenship may be denied or otherwise impeded if the applicant cannot prove having complied with this requirement.

Permanent residents may be required to reside in the country offering them residence for a given minimum length of time (as in Australia and Canada). Permanent residents may lose their status if they stay outside their host country for more than a specified period of time (as in the United States).

Permanent residents have the same obligations as citizens regarding taxes.

Loss of status

Permanent residents may lose their status if they fail to comply with residency or other obligations imposed on them. For example:

Access to citizenship

Usually, permanent residents may apply for citizenship by naturalization after a period of permanent residency (typically five years) in the country concerned. Dual/multiple citizenship may or may not be permitted.

In many nations, an application for naturalization can be denied on character grounds, sometimes allowing people to reside in the country (as non-domiciled) but not become citizens. In the United States, the residency requirements for citizenship are normally five years, even though permanent residents who have been married to a U.S. citizen for three years or more may apply in three years. Those who have served in the armed forces may qualify for an expedited process allowing citizenship after only one year, or even without any residence requirement.[52]

Automatic entitlement

Full permanent residence rights are granted automatically between the following:

In some cases (e.g. the member states of the European Union), citizens of participating countries can live and work at will in each other's states, but don't have a status fully equivalent to that of a permanent resident. In particular, under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, Australia and New Zealand grant each other's citizens the right to reside permanently and work in each country; however, the rights and entitlements of New Zealanders living in Australia under this arrangement (the so-called Special Category Visa) are somewhat short of those of Australian permanent residents, in particular with respect to unemployment benefits and similar benefits.

Proof of permanent residency

People who are granted permanent residency in a country are usually issued some sort of documentary evidence as legal proof of this status. In the past, many countries merely stamped the person's passport indicating that the holder was admitted as a permanent resident or that he/she was exempt from immigration control and permitted to work without restriction. Other countries would issue a photo ID card, place a visa sticker or certificate of residence in the person's passport, or issue a letter to confirm their permanent resident status.


Main article: European Union Settlement Scheme

The European Union Settlement Scheme is a scheme launched in 2019 by the UK Home Office to process the registration of EU citizens resident in the United Kingdom prior to its departure from the European Union.

Successful applicants receive either 'Pre-settled status' or 'Settled status', depending on the length of time they have been resident in the United Kingdom.[60]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR)". U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS). October 2, 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-17. See also 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(20) ("The term 'lawfully admitted for permanent residence' means the status of having been lawfully accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States as an immigrant, such status not having changed."); Landon v. Plasencia, 459 U.S. 21, 32 (1982) Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain. ("As we explained... once an alien gains admission to our country and begins to develop the ties that go with permanent residence, his constitutional status changes accordingly.").
  2. ^ For details, see the Unofficial translation of the “Administrative Measures for Treatment of Foreigners Residing Permanently in China” Archived 2013-08-07 at the Wayback Machine, 2012-12-18
  3. ^ "Sedula Curaçao". Vergunning Curaçao (in Dutch). Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  4. ^ Settlement of Austria
  5. ^ Belgian Immigration Office: Right of permanent residence
  6. ^ Cyprus permanent residency Andreas Demetriades & Co LLC
  7. ^ Cyprus permanent residency GEORGE K. KONSTANTINOU LAW FIRM
  8. ^ Permanent Residence: Czech Ministry of the Interior
  9. ^ New to Denmark: You want to apply for a permanent residence permit
  10. ^ Estonia: Right of residence and residence permit for foreign nationals
  11. ^ "Finnish Immigration Service: Fact Sheet:Redidence permit for Finland Other than EU/EAA citizen (pdf)".
  12. ^ EU residence permit (P-EU)
  13. ^ "Étranger en France : carte de résident de 10 ans". Archived from the original on 2010-02-15.
  14. ^ Welcome to France: Resident card
  15. ^ Settling in Germany
  16. ^ Greek Visas and Residency Permits for U.S. Citizens
  17. ^ Residence Permits Embassy of Hungary in Washington
  18. ^ Residency and Citizenship
  19. ^ How to Obtain Permanent Residence in Italy: Lexia Avvocati
  20. ^ Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs
  21. ^ Residence Permit
  22. ^ Wanneer heb ik recht op een verblijfsvergunning voor onbepaalde tijd?
  23. ^ Pobyt stały- małżonek obywatela polskiego
  24. ^ EGovernment Portugal: Residency for non EU Citizens
  25. ^ Permisul de sedere
  26. ^ Slovenia: Entry and Residence
  27. ^ Permanent residence (more than five years)
  28. ^ Kunskapskrav för permanent uppehållstillstånd
  29. ^ Permanent residence permit
  30. ^ Permanent Residency Status to Foreign Investors Embassy of India- Seoul
  31. ^ "Residence Permit". Archived from the original on December 16, 2009.
  32. ^ United States Embassy: Nicaraguan Immigration Laws
  33. ^ "Want to apply: Permanent residence – UDI".
  34. ^ "Dirección Nacional de Migración y Naturalización". 2 January 2007. Archived from the original on 2 January 2007.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  35. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 February 2001. Retrieved 14 January 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  36. ^ Qatar Ministry of the Interior: Permanent Residency
  37. ^ "中華民國內政部移民署全球資訊網 NATIONAL IMMIGRATION AGENCY".
  38. ^ Permit C (settlement permit) – Federal Office for Migration Archived October 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ Ministry of National Security – Immigration Division
  40. ^ Live permanently in the UK
  41. ^ "Want To Live In Europe? "Buy" A Residency Permit". Retrieved 2016-12-21.
  42. ^ "Where is the cheapest place to buy citizenship?". BBC News. 2014-06-03. Retrieved 2023-08-11.
  43. ^ Canada kills investor visa popular with Chinese, by Sophia Yan @sophia_yan March 25, 2014: 2:21 AM ET, CNN, [1]
  44. ^ "Buying their way in". The Economist. 2014-11-20. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  45. ^ The Oxford Handbook of Citizenship, Ayelet Shachar, Chapter 35, Citizenship For Sale?, pg. 790, Oxford University Press, 2017
  46. ^ "Malta's golden passport scheme draws fresh criticism". Financial Times. 2016-04-08. Retrieved 2023-08-11.
  47. ^ "D70391". Retrieved 2016-12-21.
  48. ^ "Consular Services Charter | Smartraveller: The Australian Government's travel advisory and consular assistance service". Archived from the original on 2011-11-27.
  49. ^ "Embassies | New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade". Retrieved 2016-12-21.
  50. ^ "Singapore Permanent Residency". Expat Experience Singapore. Archived from the original on 2015-02-15.
  51. ^ "Selective Service Systems > Home". Archived from the original on 2006-11-05. Retrieved 2016-12-21.
  52. ^ General Naturalization Requirements Archived March 7, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  53. ^ "El Registro Nacional de las Personas (RENAPER) eliminará el sello "extranjero" del DNI". Frente de Organizaciones en Lucha (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-06-04.
  54. ^ Shown in an official PDF.
  55. ^ "Check visa details and conditions".
  56. ^ "LISSA Permanent Residence Permit - Legal Migration Services". LISSA. Archived from the original on 2018-12-11. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  57. ^ "UK Border Agency - Settling in the UK". Home Office. Archived from the original on 2014-03-08. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
  58. ^ "nb Waiouru: No need to hide". Thomas Everard Jones. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
  59. ^ "Green Card". U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). February 22, 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  60. ^ "Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status)". UK Government. Retrieved 2 November 2019.