Right of residence for students

Right of residence for students

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Right of residence for students


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Vocational training

Right of residence for students

This Directive will guarantee nationals of the Member States access to vocational training by setting out the framework within which their right of residence is to be exercised.

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 93/96/EEC of the Council of 29 October 1993 on the right of residence for students.

Repealed by:

Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States amending Regulation (EEC) 1612/68 and repealing Directives 64/221/EEC, 68/360/EEC, 72/194/EEC, 73/148/EEC, 75/34/EEC, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC, 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC.


Following an appeal by the European Parliament, the Court of Justice annulled Council Directive 90/366/EEC on 7 July 1992 but maintained its effects until the entry into force of Directive 93/96/EEC. Each Member State will take the measures necessary to facilitate exercise of the right of residence by nationals of the other Member States in order to guarantee them access to vocational training.

Member States will recognise the right of residence to any student who is a national of a Member State and who does not enjoy this right under other provisions of Community law where the student assures the relevant national authority, by means of a declaration or by such alternative means as the student may choose that are at least equivalent, that he or she has sufficient resources to avoid becoming a burden on the social security system of the host Member State during his or her period of residence. The student must also be enrolled at an accredited establishment for the principal purpose of following a vocational training course there and must be covered by sickness insurance in respect of all risks in the host Member State.

The right of residence is extended to the student’s spouse and dependent children.

The Directive does not establish any entitlement to the payment of maintenance grants by the host Member State to students benefiting from the right of residence.

Member States will issue a residence permit the validity of which may be limited to the duration of the course of studies and which will be renewable annually. Where a member of the family does not hold the nationality of a Member State, he or she will be issued with a residence document of the same validity as that issued to the national on whom he or she depends. The spouse and dependent children of a national of a Member State will be entitled to take up an employed or self-employed activity anywhere within the territory of that Member State, even if they are not nationals of a Member State.

Member States may not derogate from the provisions of this Directive save on grounds of public policy, public security or public health.

Not more than three years following the entry into force of the Directive, and then every three years, the Commission will draw up a report on the implementation of the Directive and present it to the Council and Parliament. The Commission will pay particular attention to any difficulties to which implementation of the Article concerning the granting of the right of residence might give rise in Member States. If appropriate, it will submit proposals to the Council with the aim of remedying such difficulties.


Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 93/96/EEC 31.12.1993 OJ L 317 of 18.12.1993

Related Acts

Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 18 March 1999 on the implementation of Directives 90/364, 90/365 and 93/96 (right of residence) [COM(99) 127 final].
Freedom of movement was originally limited to persons exercising an economic activity, but was subsequently extended to all Member State nationals, even those who were not economically active. This extension to the right of residence, which is subject to certain conditions, was formally confirmed by the incorporation into the EC Treaty of former Article 8a of the Treaty of Maastricht (now Article 18 of the EC Treaty). This Article gives every EU citizen a basic personal right to move and reside within the territory of the Member States.
The implementation of Directives 90/364, 90/365 and 93/96 has given rise to infringement procedures against nearly all the Member States, as only three had implemented the Directives by the deadline. The infringement procedures have, however, gradually been dropped as the Member States in question have adopted implementing measures.
The evaluation of the tangible implementation of the Directives has been based on the correspondence, complaints and petitions to the European Parliament and on a survey carried out among former Commission officials who, on retirement, have settled in a Member State other than that of their origin or last place of employment. Additional information has been provided by the Euro-Jus advisers’ network and by the Citizens Signpost Service. The assessments have highlighted the difficulties that citizens have encountered, such as uncertainties regarding the steps to be taken and the length and complexity of procedures for obtaining a residence permit. The authorities have also experienced difficulties, mainly in interpreting the conditions relating to financial resources and health insurance. The preliminary conclusions are that there is a need:

  • to step up efforts to inform citizens;
  • to continue to ensure strict compliance with existing Community law;
  • to make Community law on the free movement of persons easier to understand and to restructure it around the concept of “citizenship of the Union”;
  • to consider substantive changes to existing law.

Second Commission Report to the Council and Parliament on the implementation of Directives 90/364, 90/365 and 93/96 (right of residence) [COM(2003) 101 final].
This is the second report on the implementation of the three Directives on the right of residence of Union citizens and their family members, of whatever nationality, who are not economically active in the host Member State; it covers the period 1999-2002.

Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 5 April 2006 on the implementation of Directives 90/364, 90/365 and 93/96 (right of residence) [COM(2006) 156 final].
Fifteen years after the adoption of Directive 93/66/EEC, the application of the law on the right of residence is basically satisfactory, as the declining number of infringements shows. However, the Commission has received several complaints arising from failure to comply with the Directive.

For example, the Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Italy on 13 December 2005 with regard to Decree of the President of the Republic No 54 of 18 January 2002 on the grounds that the text is contrary to Directive 93/96 in that it stipulates that students must provide proof that they have sufficient resources and requires family members to present proof of sufficient resources separate to that presented by the Union citizen. According to the case law of the Court of Justice, in particular in its judgments of 25 May 2000 in Case C-424/98 Commission v Italian Republic and of 20 September 2001 in Case C-184/99 Grzelczyk, Member States may not require students to provide evidence or a guarantee of a given amount of resources but must be satisfied with a declaration or other equivalent means, at the choice of the student.

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