The Law and You: When is an EU Member State legally allowed to deny extending your Residence Permit

Didas Gasana

By Didas Gasana

Of lately, a worrying trend of failed attempts at extending residence permits has been coming up in courts. Specifically, foreign students who are admitted to study in an EU Member State and, as a must, have to extend their residence permits in case they haven’t completed their studies, have been having it tough.

The confusion and failure depend largely on the fact that the students- majority African- don’t understand the laws concerning issuance and extension of residence permits. Few cases I have examined show a pattern: When students are granted a visa and a permit to study; they think that is all. Unfortunately, most have had their extension applications denied, and have had to be deported before completing their studies. In court few days ago, a Nigerian lady had the audacity to tell the bench that she wants her permit extended because she is in a relationship with a Swedish Citizen- just lie that! Tragic.

Just that people coming to Europe to study or work should know, EU Law (EU Directive 1030/2002) allows member states a wide margin of appreciation when it comes to the requirements for extended stay. Thus, each country has its own requirements for extension. Let’s take an example of Sweden.

If a student A is admitted at a University in Sweden, s/he must prove that s/he is capable of sustaining herself/himself for the entire duration of the studies; is insured and does not pose a threat to state security or public order (Art 5, Utlännings Förordningen).

However, as a principle, the student is offered a one-year residence permit. Supposing your studies take more than a year, you need to apply for extension of the permit. At this instance, in addition to the above requirements, the law requires that you must have successfully completed 30 credits (ECTS) in the first year for which you had a valid residence permit or, at a PHD level, have successfully completed one semester (30 Credits).

In other words, once you don’t fulfill this academic requirement, the state denies your extension and you have to leave or be deported. It is the same condition whether after your one year, you need to apply for a work permit; otherwise the law requires you to go back in your country and apply for the work permit from there. This is the law.

Equally, it is not enough that at the time of application, one proves ability to sustain oneself. The ability must be constant. There are cases where students borrow money at the time of applying and have to bay it back. When the state finds that, you are denied extension.

There are, certainly, exceptions in chapter 5, art 6, 9th para- where the state can extend your stay even when you don’t meet the legal requirements. An example can be the situation in your home country or if deporting you may contravene any international law provision to which Sweden is a party. I hope this helps!