EU citizenship

Your rights – and how to use them

All citizens of an EU country are automatically citizens of the EU. Being an EU citizen gives you some important extra rights and responsibilities.

Your EU citizenship rights

These are spelled out in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Article 20) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights (Chapter V).

Need help exercising your rights?

To raise awareness of EU citizenship among both the public and national authorities, the Commission periodically publishes an EU Citizenship Report.

Summaries of EU legislation on EU citizenship

Moving & living in the EU

As an EU citizen, you have the right to live and move within the EU without being discriminated against on the grounds of your nationality.

You may set up home in any EU country if you meet certain conditions, depending on whether you are working, studying, etc.

Participating in the political life of the EU

Every EU citizen has the right to vote and stand as a candidate in both local and European elections in the EU country they live in, under the same conditions as nationals of that country.

Petitions & complaints

You can petition the European Parliament to address either a personal need or grievance, or on a matter of public interest. The subject must fall within the EU’s remit (i.e. it mustn’t be something that is decided at local or national level) and must affect you directly.

You can complain to the European Ombudsman about misconduct by an EU institution or body.

You can also contact EU institutions and advisory bodies directly, and are entitled to a reply in any of the EU’s 24 official languages.

As an EU national, you’re entitled to work — for an employer or as a self-employed person — in any EU country(In this case, the 28 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) without needing a work permit.

Exception — Croatian nationals still face temporary restrictions on working in the EU(In this case, the 28 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).

And while doing so, you are entitled to live there — subject to certain conditions.

If you live and work in another EU country, it’s important to be aware of the consequences for:

  • your benefits (sickness, maternity/paternity, pensions, occupational accidents and diseases, death grants, unemployment, early retirement, family, etc.)
  • where you have to pay tax.