single permit eu

European Parliament Implements New Single Permit Guidelines

March 28, 2024 |

The European Parliament has recently passed an amendment to the Single Permit Directive (2011/98/EU), which consolidates work and residence permits for non-EU nationals.

What are the New Guidelines?

The new regulations have several key features:

• Faster processing of applications within 90 days.

• Permit holders can apply from within EU territory and change employers.

• Six months of unemployment is allowed without withdrawal of the permit.

These new regulations must now be formally ratified by the Council. Following that, member countries will have two years from the directive’s enactment to incorporate the changes into their national laws.

NB: These laws do not apply to Denmark and Ireland.

Quicker Decisions on Applications

MEPs succeeded in setting a 90-day limit for a decision on applications for a single permit during the negotiations. This is a significant reduction from the current four-month waiting period. However, particularly complex cases might be given an additional 30-day extension. Also, the time required for visa issuance is not included.

The new regulations also allow a legitimate residence permit holder to apply for a Single Permit from within the EU territory. This means that a person who is legally residing in the EU could request a change in their legal status without having to return to their home country.

Change of Employer

The new regulations give single permit holders the right to change employers, occupations, and work sectors. A simple notification from the new employer is all that’s required, according to the MEPs. National authorities have 45 days to oppose the change, and the conditions for this authorization are limited.

For the first six months, EU states can require a period during which a change of employer is not permitted. However, a change is still possible during this period if the employer seriously breaches the work contract, such as by imposing particularly exploitative working conditions.


If a single permit holder becomes unemployed, they can have up to three months (or six months if they have had the permit for more than two years) to secure another job before their permit is withdrawn. This is an improvement on the current two-month limit. EU states may opt to offer longer periods.

If a worker has experienced particularly exploitative working conditions, member states must extend the period of unemployment during which the single permit remains valid by three months. If a single permit holder is unemployed for more than three months, member states may require them to provide proof that they have sufficient resources to support themselves without using the social assistance system.

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