Permanent residency

Sample of a 2017 permanent resident card (green card) of the United States, which permits its holder to live and work anywhere in the country similar to that of all other Americans. Before a person is naturalized as a U.S. citizen, they must be a green card holder for at least 5 years and satisfy all other naturalization requirements.[1][2]

Permanent residency is a person's resident status in a country of which they are not citizens but where they have the right to reside on a permanent basis. This is usually for a permanent period; a person with such status is known as a permanent resident. In the United States, such a person is officially referred to as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR).[1]

Permanent residency itself is distinct from right of abode, which waives immigration control for such persons. Persons having permanent residency still require immigration control if they do not have right of abode. However, a right of abode automatically grants people permanent residency. This status also gives work permit in most cases.[1] In many western countries, the status of permanent resident confers a right of abode upon the holder despite not being a citizen of the particular country.

Countries with permanent residency systems

Not every country allows permanent residency. Rights and application may vary widely.

All European Union countries have a facility for someone to become a permanent resident, as EU legislation allows an EU national who moves to another EU country to attain permanent resident status after residing there for five years. The European Union also sets out permanent residency rights for long-term resident third country nationals under directive (2003/109/EC). A novel approach was the granting of rights across the national borders of states adhering to the directive.

As Hong Kong and Macau, both special administrative regions of China, do not have their own citizenship laws, the term "permanent residents" refer to persons with the right of abode in these territories. Most permanent residents of Chinese descent are Chinese citizens according to Chinese nationality law.

Other countries have varying forms of such residency and relationships with other countries with regards to permanent residency.

Japanese permission for permanent residence issued in 2011 on a French passport.

The regions that have some type of permanent resident status include:

Other forms of permanent residency

  • India does not permit dual citizenship, but former Indian citizens, and persons of Indian origin, are eligible to apply for an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card that allows them to live and work freely in India, apart from running for certain political office posts and occupying constitutional posts. They also cannot vote or buy agricultural land. Spouses who have no other connection to India other than being married to someone with or eligible for OCI can also apply for OCI if they have been married for at least two years. Once the marriage is dissolved, OCI status is automatically lost for spouse with no connection to India. Recently in 2016 India allowed Permanent Resident Status to foreigners with some conditions.
  • Turkey allows dual citizenship, and former Turkish citizens who have given up their Turkish citizenship (for example, because they have naturalized in a country that usually does not permit dual citizenship, such as Germany, Austria, South Korea or Japan) can apply for the "Blue Card" (mavi kart), which gives them some citizens' rights back, e.g. the right to live and work in Turkey, the right to possess land or the right to inherit, but not the right to vote.[citation needed]
  • Some countries have made treaties regulating travel and access to the job markets (non-government/non-military-related work): A citizen of an EU country can live and work indefinitely in other EU countries and in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland (and citizens of these countries can live and work in EU countries). The Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement between Australia and New Zealand allows citizens of the two countries to live and work in the other country. A citizen of a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member state (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates) can live and work in other member states.[citation needed]
However, for voting, being voted and working for the public sector or the national security in a country, citizenship of the country concerned is almost always required.[citation needed]

Golden Visas

A "golden visa" is a permanent residency visa issued to individuals who invest, often through the purchase of property, a certain sum of money into the issuing county. Dating back to the 1980s, golden visas became much more popular and available in the 21st century. Golden visas require investments of anywhere from $100,000[15] in Dominica up to £2,000,000 in the U.K.[16] The most common method for obtaining a golden visa is through the purchase of real estate with a minimum value.[17] Some countries such as Malta and Cyprus also offer " golden passports" (citizenship) to individuals if they invest a certain sum.[18] Countries like Portugal, Spain, and Greece have golden visa schemes, offering residency permit to investors and their families. What is different in Portugal Golden Visa is that it requires its investors to make a real estate investment of at least 350.000 Euros while the minimum amount for Greece Golden Visa Programme is 250.000 Euros, and for Spain Golden Visa Programme is 500.000 Euros in real estate property. Additionally, one gets the chance of applying for a citizenship at the end of 5-years of investment and having resided at least 7 days per year in Portugal under the Portugal Golden Visa Programme. However, Spain and Greece Golden Visa Programmes do not present such an option to their investors. [19] [20] [21]

The issuing of so-called "golden visas" has sparked controversy in several countries.[22][23]