Whether is it possible to hold several residence permits in Schengen

Nowadays there are many ways of obtaining a residence permit of the European Union member state. So far as our clients often ask us: is it legal to hold several residence permits of different countries at the same time?

Response: 

The legislation of the European Union does not prohibit the simultaneous possession of several Schengen states’ residence permits, short-term or long-term type. The situation of persons holding a long-term residence permit in the EU is regulated by Directive 2003/109/EC of November 25, 2003, establishes the rules for holding several residence permits. 

However, the Directives are recommendatory in nature, and national legislation may establish a mandatory waiver of long-term residence permit of the country, in case of acquisition of a long-term residence permit of another EU state. We clarify you examples such rules apply.

Long-term residence permit of an EU country - a document confirming legal and lawful stay on the territory of the country for more than five years. (Article 2 of Directive 2003/109/EC of November 25, 2003).

For example, Hungarian residence permit or a Greek residence permit by investment will be issued for 10 years at a time, which allows you to become the owner of a long-term residence document.

How does the local legislation in each Schengen countries operate?

According to s. “d” p. 1 art. 131 Law of Portugal on Foreigners, the acquisition of a long-term residence permit from another country is a ground to lose a long-term residence in Portugal.

The main reason why you will not be able to hold a second residence permit is the inability to maintain the grounds for issuance or renewal of the residence permit.

Example: If you have the "digital nomad" residence permit of Portugal and the "digital nomad"residence permit of Spain, then according to p. 4, art. 126 of the Portuguese Law on Foreigners, the rule of annual 6-month residence in the country for further document extension will apply. Similar requirement is established by Art. 40 of the Royal Decree 557/2011 in Spain. It will not be physically possible to comply with this ground, so it is necessary to choose the most suitable option.

The 183-day rule does not apply to a residence permit issued on a study visa. 

Example: a Portuguese study residence permit is a temporary type of visa (Art. 54 of the Portuguese Law on Foreigners)

Popular EU residence permit categories

  • Work visa/EU Blue Card (based on the existence of an employment contract with a local company);
     
  • By Investment (based on investments in real estate or funds from the official list approved by the state's government);
     
  • For financially independent persons; 
     
  • For remote income.

One possible combination for two residence permits acquisition is:

Greek residence permit by investment in real estate + Portuguese "digital nomad" residence permit

This combination allows you to live and work in Portugal, comply with of 183 days residency rule. Similarly, to be a holder of a Greek residence permit, in which permanent residence in Greece is not required. However, according to s. “d” p. 1 art. 131of the Law of Portugal on Foreigners, after 5 years of holding a Greek residence permit, you will have to opt for a single residence permit, as Portuguese law does not allow you to hold a second long-term residence permit.

Another popular combination is:

Greek residence permit by investment in real estate + Work residence permit in Cyprus

Alleged combination of residence permits allows you to stay and work permanently in Cyprus, but the Cyprus residence permit does not allow you to travel within Schengen area. Greek residence permit can be used as a substitute document for a Schengen tourist visa. Also, the legislation of Cyprus does not prohibit to have another long-term residence permit of an EU country.

Situation where it will be necessary to choose between residence permits may arise when you have a type of residence permit with a requirement of 183 residency, such as:

  • Portuguese "digital nomad" residence permit; 
     
  • Residence permit for financially independent person in Spain.

In both cases, according to s. “e” p. 1 art. 131 of the Portuguese Law on Foreigners and Article 40 of the Royal Decree 557/2011 of April 20 in Spain, it is necessary to stay in the country for 183 days in order to further extend the residence permit, which is physically impossible.


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