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Residence permits in Europe: (almost) all have NFC

Back in 2002, the European Council standardised the residence permits in EU countries.

Basically, it says: all residence permits have to be ICAO 9303 compliant including a NFC chip. How is the current situation in Europe 18 years later? Did all EU countries adopt this regulation and are issuing compliant residence permits? And can ReadID read and verify them? The short answer is: almost all.

We will 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. EU has regulated residence permits in a uniform format in Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002, which has been amended in Regulation (EU) 2017/1954 in 2017. This requires residence permits to have an ICAO-compliant Machine Readable Zone and contactless (NFC) chip. This regulation applies to any person who is not a citizen of the EU, except non-EU family member of EU citizen and citizens of European Free Trade Association (EFTA: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland) and their family members

This gap however has been filled by Regulation 2018/104 (COD). in August 2019. Non-EU family member of EU citizen, issued from 2021, will also have to have an ICAO-compliant residence permit. To be precise, this regulation does not require member states to start issuing residence permits for non-EU family member of the EU citizen. But if they do, the permits have to be compliant.  

Because of Brexit, after 31 December 2020 all British nationals living in EU also need to have a residence permit. 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 residence permits are compatible with ReadID?

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

At moment of writing of this blog (July 2020), all but two countries issue residence permits that comply to the EU regulations and are compatible with ReadID. Only Iceland and Liechtenstein apparently haven’t yet complied to the regulations.

There are three countries that we do not have (part of) the required country signing certificates for in our default setup: UK, Hungary, and Estonia. For example, in our demo apps in de App Store and Play Store you cannot verify these residence permits. 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.

 The below map shows which countries

  • Do not have residence permits with compatible chips (grey)
  • Have ReadID fully compatible residence permits (green)
  • Have ReadID compatible residence permits, but cannot verify the genuineness of (part of) residence permits with our country signing certificates (blue)

Figure 1. European countries with residence permits that work with ReadID NFC (July 2020)


How did we create the map?

There is basically no authoritative source of all identity documents worldwide, and certainly not a publicly available one that contains details on the contactless chip implementation. We combined knowledge 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 whether or not an MRZ scan or NFC read was successful and characteristics of the chip. There may be mistakes or missing information in the overview, and we provide this overview as-is, without any form of guarantee. We appreciate it very much if you let us know if you notice mistakes or outdated information via

For customers and partners, we have a white-paper with more detailed information. Please contact your account manager or support if you are interested.



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