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Residence permits in Europe - almost all have NFC

Back in 2002, the European Council standardised residence permits in EU countries. They demanded that all residence permits must be ICAO 9303 compliant and include an NFC chip. ICAO 9303 is the UN standard for identity documents. What is the current status, 20 years later? Did all EU countries adopt this regulation? And are they issuing compliant residence permits? Can ReadID read and verify them? The short answer is: almost all can. 

Let’s dive into more details in this blog. 

EU regulations on residence permits 

Residence permits, also called residence cards sometimes, are generally issued to foreign nationals to legally stay in the residing country for a certain period of time. The EU has regulated residence permits in a uniform format in Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002, which was amended in Regulation (EU) 2017/1954 in 2017. This required residence permits to have an ICAO-compliant Machine-Readable Zone and contactless (NFC) chip. It applied to anyone who wasn’t a citizen of the EU, except non-EU family members of EU citizens, and citizens of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland) and their family members. 

In August 2019 Regulation (EU) 2019/1157 decreed that from 2021, non-EU family members of EU citizens must also have an ICAO-compliant residence permit. To be clear, this regulation does not mean that member states must start issuing residence permits for non-EU family members of EU citizens. But if they decide to, the permits must be compliant.   

Because of Brexit, all British nationals living in EU also must have a residence permit since 31 December 2020. The European Commission has decided to create a uniform EU-wide biometric residence permit for all British nationals in EU. This permit will follow the same standard as regular residence permits, see also this article. 

Which European countries have ReadID compatible residence permits? 

We focus here on the European Economic Area (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway), UK and Switzerland, since these all follow the EU standards. 

At this moment (December 2023), all but two countries issue residence permits that are EU regulations compliant and compatible with ReadID. Only Iceland and Liechtenstein apparently haven’t yet committed to the regulations. 

ReadID does not have (part of) the required country signing certificates in our default country certificate list for UK and Hungary. This means that you cannot verify these residence permits in our demo apps through the App Store and Play Store, but you can only read them. Contact us if those countries are important for you, since there may be ways to get access to the missing country signing certificates for you. 

In the map below: 

  • Read & verify (Dark green): ReadID can read and verify the residence permits. We have all the needed country signing certificates by default. 
  • Read & partially verify (Middle green): ReadID can read the residence permits, but the default country signing certificate list is incomplete. 
  • Read only (Light green): ReadID can read the residence permits, but we do not have the needed country signing certificates for verification. 
  • No chip (Light grey): residence permits have no contactless chip. 

202311EEARPFigure 1. European countries with residence permits that work with ReadID NFC (December 2023) 

How did we create the map?

There is no authoritative source of all identity documents worldwide, and certainly no publicly available one with details on contactless chip implementation. We combined data from public sources, non-public sources, our own testing data and ReadID Analytics data to make this overview. ReadID Analytics contains anonymous logging information that we use to improve ReadID, including characteristics of the chip and whether or not an MRZ scan or NFC reading was successful. We provide this overview as-is, without any form of guarantee. We would appreciate it very much if you let us know if you notice mistakes or outdated information via 

If you’d like access to a list of countries and some more details, then we have a summary available that you can download. We also have a more detailed whitepaper, for our customers and partners.  



Try it yourself for free

Interested in NFC-based identity verification? Our free personal app ReadID Me is available in the App and Plays stores. No personal information is shared with Inverid or other parties; it is a client-only verification.

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