CJEU: Italy’s residence permit fees found to be disproportionately high

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

In the case of CGIL and INCA C-309/14 in which the regional administrative tribunal of Lazio in Italy requested a preliminary ruling, the CJEU held that Member States cannot oblige third-country nationals, when applying for the issue or renewal of a residence permit, to pay a fee which is disproportionate in light of the objective of integration pursued by the Long-Term Residence Directive (2003/109/EC) and could impede the enjoyment of the rights granted by it.
Italian law provided that a third country national had to pay a fee of between 80 and 200 euros for the issue and renewal of the residence permit, depending on the duration of the residence permit, half of which was designated to the Return Fund. Under pre-existing Italian legislation, a fee of 73.50 euros should be paid for the issue or renewal of residence permits regardless of the duration of the residence permit, in addition to the 80-200 euro fee.
The Court, taking into account the margin of discretion enjoyed by Member States as well as the principle of proportionality, highlighted that it was unacceptable that the amount of charges for the application hampered the obtaining of the long-term residence status and of other rights that stem from the granting of that status (Commission v Netherlands, C-508/10). Thus, it noted that the provision of the additional fee could result in an obstacle to the exercise of the rights of the Directive. It further rejected the Italian Government’s argument that the fee at issue was not disproportionate because it was linked to the investigative activity necessary to verify whether the conditions governing the issue of residence permits were in accordance with the Directive 2003.

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Residence document