If you reside within the territory of the European Union as a citizen of a third country – in other words, a country that is not a Member State of the European Union – you may be granted long-term resident status (EU residence permit). You may be issued with an EU residence permit after five years of continuous residence. Continuous residence does not include residence under a temporary residence permit issued on the basis of study or temporary employment, for example.
By creating a single status for long-term resident non-European Union (EU) nationals, Council Directive 2003/109/EC of 25 November 2003 concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents, approximates the laws of EU countries and ensures equal treatment throughout the Union, whatever the EU country of residence.
The directive applies to all non-EU nationals residing legally in the territory of an EU country. Some categories of individuals 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 and persons residing in order to pursue studies or vocational training).