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Right of residence for employees who have ceased their occupational activity

This summary has been archived and will not be updated, because the summarised document is no longer in force or does not reflect the current situation.

Right of residence for employees who have ceased their occupational activity

This Directive should remove obstacles to the free movement of persons and extend the right of residence enjoyed by all employed or self-employed persons to the non-active part of their working life.


Council Directive 90/365/EEC of 28 June 1990 on the right of residence for employees and self-employed persons who have ceased their occupational activity.

Repealed by:

Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States amending Regulation (EEC) 1612/68 and repealing Directives 64/221/EEC, 68/360/EEC, 72/194/EEC, 73/148/EEC, 75/34/EEC, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC, 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC.


Member States will grant the right of residence to nationals of Member States who have pursued in the Community an activity as an employee or self-employed person provided that they are the recipients:

  • of an invalidity or early retirement pension or old-age benefits, or
  • a pension in respect of an industrial accident or disease,

and provided that they are covered by sickness insurance or have sufficient resources to avoid becoming a burden on the social security system of the host Member State during their period of residence. The right of residence will also be granted to members of their family (spouse, dependent descendants and dependent relatives in the ascending line of the nationals concerned or their spouse).

Member States will issue a residence permit, the validity of which may be limited to five years on a renewable basis. However, they may, if they deem it to be necessary, require revalidation of the permit at the end of the first two years of residence. Furthermore, the right of residence continues for as long as the beneficiaries of that right fulfil the conditions set out in paragraph 1. Where a member of the family does not hold the nationality of a Member State, he or she will be issued with a residence document of the same validity as that issued to the national on whom he or she depends. For the purposes of issuing the residence permit or document, the Member State may require only that the applicant present a valid identity card or passport and provide proof that he or she meets the conditions laid down.

The spouse and the dependent children of a national of a Member State entitled to the right of residence may take up any employed or self-employed activity anywhere within the territory of the Member State, even if they are not nationals of a Member State.

Member States may not derogate from the provisions of this Directive save on grounds of public policy, public security or public health.

Not more than three years following the entry into force of the Directive, and then every three years, the Commission will draw up a report on the implementation of the Directive and present it to the Council and the European Parliament.



Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 90/365/EEC



OJ L 180 of 13.7.1990


Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 18 March 1999 on the implementation of Directives 90/364, 90/365 and 93/96 (right of residence) [COM(99) 127 final]. Freedom of movement was originally limited to persons exercising an economic activity, but was subsequently extended to all Member State nationals, even those who were not economically active. This extension to the right of residence, which is subject to certain conditions, was formally confirmed by the incorporation into the EC Treaty of former Article 8a of the Treaty of Maastricht (now Article 18 of the EC Treaty). This Article gives every EU citizen a basic personal right to move and reside within the territory of the Member States.

The implementation of Directives 90/364, 90/365 and 93/96 has given rise to infringement procedures against nearly all the Member States, as only three had implemented the Directives by the deadline. The infringement procedures have, however, gradually been dropped as the Member States in question have adopted implementing measures.

The evaluation of the tangible implementation of the Directives has been based on the correspondence, complaints and petitions to the European Parliament and on a survey carried out among former Commission officials who, on retirement, have settled in a Member State other than that of their origin or last place of employment. Additional information has been provided by the Euro-Jus advisers' network and by the Citizens Signpost Service. The assessments have highlighted the difficulties that citizens have encountered, such as uncertainties regarding the steps to be taken and the length and complexity of procedures for obtaining a residence permit. The authorities have also experienced difficulties, mainly in interpreting the conditions relating to financial resources and health insurance. The preliminary conclusions are that there is a need:

  • to step up efforts to inform citizens;
  • to continue to ensure strict compliance with existing Community law;
  • to make Community law on the free movement of persons easier to understand and to restructure it around the concept of "citizenship of the Union";
  • to consider substantive changes to existing law.

Second Commission Report to the Council and Parliament on the implementation of Directives 90/364, 90/365 and 93/96 (right of residence) [COM(2003) 101 final]. This is the second report on the implementation of the three Directives on the right of residence of Union citizens and their family members, of whatever nationality, who are not economically active in the host Member State; it covers the period 1999-2002.

Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 5 April 2006 on the implementation of Directives 90/364, 90/365 and 93/96 (right of residence) [COM(2006) 156 final]. Fifteen years after the adoption of Directive 90/365/EEC, the application of the law on the right of residence is basically satisfactory, as the declining number of infringements shows. However, the Commission has received several complaints arising from failure to comply with the Directive.

For instance, the report states that a letter of formal notice was sent to Spain on 21 December 2005 concerning the requirement that retired British pensioners who spend more than three months per year in Spain but do not wish to transfer their residence definitively to Spain must submit a form 121, provided for by Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71, in order to obtain a residence permit. The Commission considers that this is contrary to Directive 90/365.

Last updated: 09.07.2007