[Updated] European Union: Single Permit for Third-Country Nationals

Last Updated on June 8, 2023

This article was originally published on 27 March 2023 and was updated on 8 June 2023 to reflect the latest updates and information.   

8 June 2023 Update:

The European Council agreed to review the single permit directive in coordination with the European Parliament. The two governing entities will negotiate the final wording of the text before it is set to be introduced and potentially voted into EU law.

The Directive aims to manage the admission of third-country nationals intending to reside and work in countries throughout the European Union (EU).  To apply, third-country nationals will be able to submit a work and residence permit application to the territory of a third country from within the EU. Then, when a member state decides to issue a single permit, this decision will serve as residence and work authorization. 

According to the announcement, a four-month decision period will apply to most completed applications. This period also covers – according to the Council’s position – the time needed to check the labor market situation before a decision on the single permit is adopted. 

In addition, the Council is also expected to introduce a temporary stay period of two months for third-country nationals who lose their employment.  

Key Points  

  • The European Union will simplify and streamline the issuance process for work and residence permits issued to third-country foreign nationals  


The European Parliament introduced draft legislation that will simplify the issuance process of work and residence permits for third-country nationals. The legislation aims to introduce the following changes: 

  • Faster decision times: The proposal aims to reduce decision timelines to 90 days. Currently, work permit decisions take up to four months or more. In addition, a 45-day timeline is proposed for applicants who are selected through an EU talent partnership or those already holding a single permit issued in a different EU country.
  • Changing employers and expanding permit validity: The committee aims to expand the validity of the single permit for up to nine months while the permit holder is unemployed.  

What are the Changes?  

The European Parliament proposed draft legislation to simplify the issuance of work and residence permits for third-country nationals. The changes include faster decision times and expanding the permit validity for up to nine months for unemployed permit holders. 

Looking Ahead  

The committee will present the legislation to the Council of the EU during the week of 17 April 2023. 

According to the announcement, EU member states will retain the power to determine the number of third-country nationals permitted to enter their territory for work.  

Continue to check the EU’s website and Envoy’s website for the latest updates and information.  

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Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at one of the two U.S. Law Firms working with the Envoy Platform or another qualified professional. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult an Envoy global immigration service provider or another qualified representative.