Europe working permit


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Single permit for third-country & nationals to reside and work in the EU

Directive 2011/98/EU

This briefing is one in a series of implementation appraisals produced by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) on the operation of existing EU legislation in practice. Each briefing focuses on a specific EU law that is likely to be amended or reviewed, as envisaged in the European Commission’s annual work program. Implementation appraisals aim at providing a succinct overview of publicly available material on the implementation, application, and effectiveness to date of specific EU law, drawing on input from EU institutions and bodies, as well as external organizations. They are provided by the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit of the EPRS to assist parliamentary committees in their consideration of new European Commission proposals, once tabled.


Directive 2011/98/EU (the Single Permit Directive) on a single permit for third-country nationals (non-EU nationals) to reside and work in the European Union (EU) has two main objectives. The first is to facilitate the procedure for a third-country national to be admitted to work in an EU Member State, by introducing a single application procedure for a combined work and residence permit. The second is to ensure equal treatment between third-country workers and nationals of the permit- issuing Member State, by providing a common set of rights regarding working conditions, education and training, access to goods and services, and social security.

In 2019, the European Commission published its second implementation report on this directive and a fitness check on EU legal migration legislation evaluating the effectiveness, coherence, and grounds for improving the existing EU laws in the field. According to these, the single permit directive has failed to address some of the issues it proposed to solve. These problems relate, for example, to the definitions provided in the directive; its scope; the lack of necessary coordination between administrative authorities for its implementation; and some inconsistencies between this directive and other instruments of the EU legal migration framework. Seeking to address these problems, one of the Commission’s proposals under the 2020 new pact on migration and asylum is the revision of the single permit directive.


Directive 2011/98/EU on a single permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the EU (the Single Permit Directive) is a key instrument in EU immigration policy in the 25 Member States1 in which the directive applies. The gradual establishment of an area of freedom, security, and justice is set out in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which provides for the adoption of measures in the fields of asylum, immigration, and protection of the rights of third-country nationals. The directive was adopted on 13 December 2011, and together with four other directives (Figure 1) defines the EU’s framework for legal labor migration framework.

1 review for Europe working permit

  1. Putri Mujahidah

    Do I need a valid passport when I’m applying for a work permit to Europe country?

    • SHB Agency

      Yes, in order to get a work permit you must have a valid passport. You must enclose a copy of your passport with your application.

      Enclose a copy of your passport with your appli­ca­tion
      You must enclose a copy of your passport with your application for a residence permit. Keep in mind that all information in your passport must be visible when photographing or scanning it in order to enclose it with your application.

      You must enclose copies of the pages in your passport which show

      personal data
      period of validity
      country of issue
      if you are authorized to live in countries other than your country of origin.
      Keep in mind that this information can be found on different pages in the passport, so it is important that you copy all pages necessary.

      It is important that the complete machine-readable code on the identity page (see the highlighted area in the image), is clearly visible.
      Digits and characters at the very top and the very bottom of your passport must also be clearly visible on the copies of your passport. If the above information is not visible or unclear, the Migration Agency will ask you to submit a new copy of your passport. This means that it will take longer for you to get a decision in your case.

      In some cases, you also need to make copies of the pages in the passport that contain entry and exit stamps. It is important that you make a copy of all stamps you have in the passport and that the entire page where the stamp is located is visible in the copy.

      If your passport is about to expire, you should renew it as you cannot obtain a residence permit for a period longer than the validity of your passport. Contact the authority who issued your passport in order to renew it.

      If your family will accompany you and you are applying on their behalf at the same time, you must also enclose copies of their passports which show the information detailed above.

      If you do not apply online, you will need to send in a copy of your passport along with your application. You will also need to show your passport in original when you submit your application or when you are visiting the Migration Agency or the embassy for an interview.

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