Easiest Country to Get PR After Study in Europe in 2024

Europe is generally the go-to study destination for most students. As an international student, you may want to stay back after your studies, obtain PR (permanent residency), and work here in Europe. However, not all European countries are worth it if you plan to use your study route to move permanently. So, in this post, we will be looking at the easiest country to get PR after study in Europe, i.e., the European country with the least PR requirements and number of years.

PR comes with a lot of benefits. Depending on the country, it could include access to federal benefits, protection from deportation, etc. With PR, you’ll also be eligible for the sponsorship of family members, and it is also a pathway to citizenship in that specific European country. PR also comes with Schengen area benefits, whereby you can travel to these areas without certain restrictions. Now, the biggest advantage is work authorization. Yes, with PR, you can now work in Europe without the typical work hours limit that comes with your study visa. So, let’s discover the European country that makes it easier to obtain this permanent residency after your Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD.

Easiest Country to Get PR After Study in Europe

1. Norway

At number 1, we have Norway. Yes, Norway is the easiest country to get PR after study in Europe. With a PR permit here, you can live and work in Norway for as long as you like. You’ll also get extra protection from being forced to leave. People used to call this a settlement permit. For a permanent Norwegian residence permit, you need to have had a residence permit in Norway for at least three years and fulfill some other conditions. This duration includes your years of study and work.

Once you get your permanent residence permit, you’ll get a residence card that’s good for 2 years at a time. This card is proof that you have permission to stay in Norway permanently. Previously, holders of permanent residence permits would have a sticker put on their passports.

2. Ireland

In Ireland, just because you finish university or college doesn’t mean you automatically get a PR. Actually, Ireland doesn’t have PR. Instead, what’s similar is called a Stamp 4 visa, which allows you to work without restrictions. To get a Stamp 4, you first need to have a work permit for Ireland—2 years if it’s a critical skills work permit or 3 to 4 years for a general work permit. Then, in your 3rd or 5th year with the work permit, when you renew your visa, you can get a Stamp 4. After a few years with a Stamp 4, you can choose to apply for Irish citizenship or go for a Stamp 5 or another type of visa that lasts longer. So, there’s no quick way to get PR in Ireland, mainly because the PR concept doesn’t really exist here.

3. Portugal

The third easiest country to get PR after study in Europe is Portugal. If your plan is to stay in Portugal after studies, you need to get a job. You also have to arrange a work permit before your student visa expires. As for work in Portugal, you’ll need a specific visa, applied for from your home country, with your future employer’s help. The visas for working in Portugal are the Temporary Stay Visa and the Residence Visa, both allowing work but with different durations.

For jobs in Portugal, there’s a limit on the number of positions available to people from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Employers must prove that a job can’t be filled locally before offering it to someone from another country. If you find a job, you’ll need a contract or a job offer confirmation to apply for a visa.

Both the Temporary Stay and Residence Visas require proof of funds, travel insurance, a valid travel document, a return ticket, and your job contract for the application. The Temporary Stay Visa is short-term, lasting up to three months or the length of your contract. There’s also a visa for short-term intra-company transfers, but it’s restricted to certain levels of employees.

The Residence Visa is a pathway to a residence permit, allowing a four-month stay to apply for this permit. The process includes a waiting period for approval. This visa doesn’t immediately grant residency status, but it’s an important step in this process. I will also advise you to polish your Portuguese language skills because it will really count in your application.

4. France

So, the next European country we will talk about is France. First, we have the VLS-TS student visa, which is for study in France from 4 months up to one year. You need to validate it when you get to France. If you want to keep studying after your visa runs out, you can ask for a longer-term stay permit called a multi-annual residence permit (carte de séjour pluriannuelle).

With this visa, you can travel in all Schengen Area countries, work up to 964 hours a year, which is about 20 hours a week, to help with your expenses; use VISALE, a free service for students that helps with security deposits, get a rent subsidy from the CAF, which is the family allowance fund (caisse d’allocations familiales), stay longer than your residence permit’s validity if you need to. When you want to become a French citizen, you need to study for 2 years at the master’s level. Remember, these 2 years you need to live here for citizenship start after you finish your degree and start working in a job related to your studies. You can get a work visa after you finish a 1-year master’s program, as long as you work in your field of study. But, you’ll have to renew this visa every year for 5 years until you can get a “carte de residente,” which is a 10-year residence card. To be clear, you can only get a “permanent resident” card after you renew your initial 10-year residence card and meet some extra conditions.

5. Germany

The fifth easiest country to get PR after study in Europe is Germany, of course. First up, a huge benefit of studying in Germany is that you can often study for free at public universities. If you speak English, I have written about German universities that teach in English, so make sure you read this article.

If you work in Germany for 2 years in a job that’s related to your studies, you can apply for permanent residency, also called a settlement permit. The biggest things you need for this are, first, a job. You need one not just for those two years, but also when you apply for permanent residency. Second, you should know German, at least at the B1 level. If you are not familiar with this language level, look it up. It’s not super advanced, but you’ll need it. I’ve seen many people struggle because they don’t know German. So, try to learn this language. Also, you need to actually have a place to live and, of course, those 2 years of work experience in Germany. There are more minor things you’ll need, but they’re pretty basic, like a passport.

6. United Kingdom

First, I suggest looking into the maze of UK immigration rules and categories. It may seem tough, but it’s actually simpler. In the UK, they don’t use the term PR. Instead, they have something called ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain). Basically, PR comes from how residency is classified or what they think of as residency.

The UK system is simple. If you get a visa for less than 6 months, it’s considered a short-term stay. You won’t be seen as a resident in any way.

If your visa is for more than 6 months, it’s seen as a long-term stay. This means you get some rights as a resident, such as opening bank accounts, using the NHS, voting in local council elections, working, etc.

This long-term status is usually given for either 3 years or 5 years and then needs to be renewed. Some visas can’t be renewed after 5 years.

You can apply for ILR after 5 years on most visa types, and for some, like student visas, it’s after 10 years. There are some long-term visas that don’t let you count your time towards the 5-year requirement. Also, if you change your visa type, often you have to start your time count from zero.

So, 2 years on a student visa doesn’t count towards the 5-year mark. Then, if you’re lucky to get a job as a skilled worker:

  • 3 years on a work visa, which does count towards the 5-year mark.
  • Renew it for another 3 years, and this also counts.

But, you can’t apply for ILR or (what you call PR) until you have been in the country for about 9 years in most cases. If you have heard that a UK student visa could lead to PR or ILR, please go over what I’ve just explained again.

To put it bluntly, the policy doesn’t really plan for or support you staying longer than your student visa allows. Even if you find a job, you may have to go back to your home country first and then apply for a work visa from there.

7. Poland

No, you won’t get a PR after study in Poland, but after a Masters or PhD, you can start job hunting. If you land a job, the company will help you get a work visa that lasts up to 3 years. This can be extended to 5 years and eventually lead to permanent residency. Make sure to maintain your legal status during your studies. It may seem easy, but not everyone gets through this part.

Start your job search early. There are many job fairs and Polish job websites where you can find potential employers, like Ogłoszenia – Sprzedam, kupię na OLX.pl or Oferty pracy – Pracuj.pl. Generally, you’ll need a work permit to legally work in Poland if you’re not from the EU/EEA, but your employer should help you get this permit. If you are from the EU/EEA, then it’s simpler. You may be able to apply for a work visa in Poland in special cases. Otherwise, you have to do so in your home country.

Once you have a job offer and work permit, you can apply for a Temporary Residence Permit for Work. With this permit, you can live and work in Poland. So, yes, Poland is easily the easiest country to get PR after study in Europe. You’ll need to submit several documents, like your job contract, proof of where you’ll live, and health insurance.

Make sure to follow all the rules related to your residence permit, including renewing it when needed. After a few years in Poland with a Temporary Residence Permit, you might qualify for permanent residence, which can eventually lead to citizenship. The specific requirements can vary but usually include having a steady job, integrating into Polish society, and knowing enough Polish.

8. Spain

You can’t stay in Spain permanently with a student visa. At most, each year you are here as a student counts as half towards getting residency, so you’d need 10 years. Plus, they’re really strict about leaving Spain for too long; if you’re gone for 10 months, you have to start over.

Marriage is the simplest way to stay here in Spain. Otherwise, you need to find a job that will sponsor you. Or, you could form a civil union, known as ‘pareja de hecho,’ which means you’re still considered “single” in both Spain and your home country, but it’s like being officially in a relationship. This gets you residency and the right to work here.

You could also keep joining programs or enroll in a Spanish university. Remember, time spent here on a student visa only counts as half of the 5-year requirement for permanent residency. You may consider becoming a digital nomad with the right visa, or finding a way to make money as a self-employed person. It’s tough to get hired by Spanish companies, and the pay here is lower than in the US or Northern Europe. But the longer you stay, the more people you’ll meet, which could help you find a job.

9. Finland

Yes, Finland is also the easiest country to get PR after study in Europe. After you graduate, you can apply for a residence permit to search for a job or start your own business. With this permit, you can stay for 2 years after your studies, and is available for up to 5 years after you graduate. You can choose to use this permit in separate parts if you prefer.

If you have done research or earned your doctoral degree in Finland, you’re also eligible for a similar 2-year permit. You can apply for permanent residency after living in Finland with a continuous residence permit for 4 years, especially if you have found a job after graduating. The time you spend studying in Finland counts towards these 4 years, too.

10. Czech Republic

You need to have lived here for 5 years to get permanent residency. It might be a good idea to switch to a family visa since it offers more benefits and lets you stay even if you’re not a student anymore. Switching doesn’t affect your studies; it just changes why you’re staying here. With a family visa, you just need to keep the partnership going, and you can still study or do other things.

You have to apply in person at a Ministry of the Interior office. You can also count the time you’ve lived in another EU state towards this if you’ve had a blue card, lived continuously in the Czech Republic for at least 2 years, and have also lived in another EU state for at least a year as a blue card holder.

11. Italy

If you study in Italy for 4 years or more, you can apply for a PR permit card after living there for 5 years without a break. The process to get this card usually takes about 3 months. It’s actually easy to apply for a permanent residence permit card in Italy. First, collect all the documents you need, including your passport, current residence permit, academic records, a certificate showing you have no criminal history, a letter saying you plan to work in Italy, and a health certificate. Now, take your application to the local Questura (immigration office) in your city. Pay the fee for the application. you’ll then have to go to an interview with a Questura officer. After this interview, wait to hear back from the Questura.

If your PR application is approved, you’ll get your permanent residence permit card. This card means you can live and work in Italy for as long as you want. Now, before applying for this card, you need to have been in Italy for at least 5 straight years. You can’t be out of Italy for more than 6 months at once, or 10 months in total over those 5 years. You must also have a valid residence permit while you’re waiting for your permanent one. If it expires, you’ll need to renew it. During this time, learn Italian because it will help a lot, even though it’s not a must. Meanwhile, I wrote an article that features Italy as one of the worst countries to study abroad – check it out to know the reasons.

12. Netherlands

You need to have had a valid Dutch residence permit for at least 5 years straight before you apply. It’s not clear if a student visa is considered a Dutch residence. Also, you must have lived in the Netherlands without any breaks for 5 years before you apply.

You need to earn enough money on your own, and it should be a stable income. It might be hard for a student to have a job that pays enough. The income you need is 70% of the Dutch minimum wage, as set by the government. Your income is considered stable if what you earn now is the same as the amount needed for your application. For the 3 years leading up to your application, your monthly income should have averaged out to at least the required amount every month.

I intentionally removed Denmark from, this list. I wouldn’t really say ‘Denmark’ because it takes 8 years for your PR. In Denmark, you can get a permanent residence permit after holding a temporary one for 8 years. Sometimes, this period is only 4 years. You’ll first need a temporary residence permit if you have been accepted for a master’s program. After your studies in Denmark, you can apply for an establishment card – that’s it.

Conclusion

So, Norway is the easiest country to get PR after study in Europe. We have also considered 11 additional countries, including Ireland, Portugal, France, Germany, etc. These are all easy PR countries where you can study right now. Germany is even home to free education, so you can consider it, however, you’d have to know how to speak German to increase your chances of finding a job here.

Read AlsoCheapest Country to Study Masters Degree

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