Here where I live I know that non-EEA immigrants get issued both an ID (in which it is specified that it is not valid for expatriation inside the EU nor is it valid for travel within the EU if used alone) and a residence permit/PR, and they need to show both when asked, but I don't know whether there are countries that issue to non-EEA immigrants a residence permit/PR only and identify them only by that. Here where I live they ask both ID and residence permit.

Do EEA countries differ in that regard?

Also, an EEA national has almost no need of any additional paper other than his native country's ID card in order to live, engage, and be indentified in any of the EEA countries I guess (maybe Switzerland is an exception on some minor issues, nevertheless Swiss citizens are treated the same as EU citizens in any other EU country, atleast I think)

But in case this EEA citizen wants to get both an eventual other ID issued by his host country in its format and a residence permit (in case he's in a country that issues both documents to general immigrants), can he get issued such documents?

For the sake of example, can a Dutch citizen living in Germany ask to be issued an ID card in the German format and a residence permit/PR, even if he does not need them and in case he wants them?

  • A German National ID will only be issued to German Citizens. EU-Citizens do not require a residence permit and therefore no residence permit will be issued. Nov 18, 2020 at 21:23
  • @Mark Johnson thank you for your answer pertaining the German case
    – abdul
    Nov 18, 2020 at 22:01
  • Further to @MarkJohnson's comment, the EU requires all EU and Schengen countries to accept national IDs of other EU and Schengen countries' citizens (and I believe they are all supposed to be in a standardized format), so there is no need to get an ID from your country of residence. I think there is a small number of countries that issue IDs to citizens of other countries, but it's optional to get one. It is also forbidden for these countries to require residence permits of each other's citizens, but one can ask for a residence "certificate."
    – phoog
    Nov 19, 2020 at 0:52
  • @phoog I did specify that there's no need of them, and I asked in case one wants them. Here in Italy immigrants generally get an ID in Italian format which specifies nationality and then a "permesso di soggiorno", and both have to be shown
    – abdul
    Nov 19, 2020 at 6:23

2 Answers 2


This is a matter of national law, not EU, so different countries will have different rules.

As an example, the UK does not issue any form of ID card; so neither Britons not EEA nationals residing there were issued any kind of ID document when it was part of the EU.

Spain, on the other hand, requires that any national or resident in the country be issued an identification number and an ID card. Both EEA and third country citizens alike will be issued a 'Foreigner ID card', which is similar to those issued to Spanish nationals (among other things, they are different colour).

  • Here in Italy is samewise for third country foreigners, but I do not know whether such directive applies to EU non-citizens...
    – abdul
    Nov 21, 2020 at 13:13
  • Thank you for your answer
    – abdul
    Nov 21, 2020 at 13:14

Do EEA countries differ in that regard?

Yes, they differ a lot, from making it mandatory to carry a specific form of ID at all times to not issuing ID documents to citizens at all unless they want to travel internationally.

For the sake of example, can a Dutch citizen living in Germany ask to be issued an ID card in the German format and a residence permit/PR, even if he does not need them and in case he wants them?

That's a very contrived scenario and I have never heard of anything like that. What's not uncommon is that a residence card or permit can effectively serve as an ID for all common purposes in the country where it was issued. That's useful if you come from a country where passports are expensive, have very short validity, and only serve as an income stream for the embassy.

In the Netherlands, you can vote or accomplish most official formalities, in France, you can pick up a parcel, work, transfer money, etc. only with the residence permit. That's usually not the case in Germany, though. Germany is particularly rigid about the need to hold a valid passport together with your residence permit at all times. A valid passport is also required to renew your residence permit and the validity of the permit will be restricted to coincide with that of your passport, if I am not mistaken.

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