Help Print this page 

Summaries of EU Legislation

Title and reference
EU format for residence permits

Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.
Multilingual display

EU format for residence permits


Council Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002 — uniform format for residence permits for non-EU country nationals



It establishes a uniform format for residence permits, and the information they must contain, for non-EU nationals living legally in the EU.


The permits must be stand-alone documents in card form (initially they could also be stickers attached to another official paper).

The regulation specifies the form and content of all the visible information to be given on the document, such as an individual’s surname and first name (in that order), the start and end of a permit’s validity and the data to be stored on the contactless chip.

Technical specifications cover the colour, printing process and techniques, and material to be used for the permits.

The specifications include security features to prevent forgery and counterfeiting. These are kept secret and only made known to the national authorities responsible for printing the permits.

EU countries may add further national security features in compliance with the list in the annex to the regulation if they wish, so long as they do not change the uniform appearance of the card.

The regulation does not apply to families of European citizens exercising their right to live in another EU country, to visa holders or to those non-EU citizens who may stay for up to 3 months without requiring a visa.

Regulation (EC) No 380/2008 amends Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002 as regards the integration of biometric identifiers* into the uniform format for residence permits.

Biometric identifiers are used to verify the permit’s authenticity and the holder’s identity. These consist of an applicant’s recent photo and two fingerprints.

The procedure for taking these identifiers must respect national legislation and the safeguards contained in the UN human rights and child conventions.

The data from the biometric identifiers must be stored and secured so that their integrity, authenticity and confidentiality are guaranteed.


* Biometric identifiers: the use of one or more physical characteristics of an individual (fingerprints, facial structure, iris), stored on a medium such as a smart card, bar code or document, to check the identity of the person presenting a document.


Council Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002 of 13 June 2002 laying down a uniform format for residence permits for third-country nationals (OJ L 157, 15.6.2002, pp. 1-7)

last update 29.10.2015