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EU format for residence permits

EU format for residence permits



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


It sets out 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), and the start and end of a permit’s validity.
  • 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:

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 2 fingerprints.
  • The procedure for taking these identifiers must respect national legislation and the safeguards contained in the United Nations human rights and rights of the child conventions.
  • The data from the biometric identifiers must be stored and secured so that their integrity, authenticity and confidentiality are guaranteed.

Because the current format for residence permits has been used for over 20 years, Regulation (EU) 2017/1954 was adopted.

It introduces a new uniform template for permits with new security features so as to prevent forgery. The images and text specifications contained in the annex to Regulation (EU) 2017/1954 replace those in the annex to the original 2002 regulation. EU countries have a 6-month transitional period to use up existing stocks of residence permits.

Neither Ireland nor the UK (1) is bound by this regulation, and Denmark can decide within 6 months of its adoption whether it should become law in Denmark.


Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002 has applied since 15 June 2002.

Regulation (EU) 2017/1954 applies no later than 15 months after the European Commission adopts new additional technical specifications for residence permits.


For more information, see:


Biometric indentifiers: 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)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002 have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of 15 March 2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (OJ L 81, 21.3.2001, pp. 1-7)

See consolidated version.

last update 04.04.2018

(1) The United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union and becomes a third country (non-EU country) as of 1 February 2020.