Expatriation allowance and Foreign Residence allowance

Expatriation allowance and Foreign Residence allowance

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This article provides an overview of the Expatriation allowance and Foreign Residence allowance paid to employees of EU institutions and the difference between them. If you are an expat (not a national of the country you are working in) you will usually be entitled to one or the other of these.

Expatriation allowance

The European Commission ‘Expatriation allowance’ is one of allowances paid to employees of EU institutions if they had to relocate from another EU Member State for work.

Amount

Expatriation allowance equals 16 % of the sum of your total of your basic salary, household allowance and dependent child allowance.

For temporary agents AD5 that just start out it will amount to EUR 786,77 = 16% X (basic salary 4917,29 + household allowance + dependent child allowance).

For contract agents FG IV at grade 13 step 1 it will amount to at least EUR 568.96 = 16% X (basic salary 3555,98 + household allowance + dependent child allowance).

Important – the minimum Expatriation allowance is EUR 571,35 per month. If 16% of your basic salary is less than this amount, your Expatriation allowance amount will be increased.

Conditions

For nationals of the country the institution is located in or “locals” – you will not receive the Expatriation allowance, unless during the ten years ending at the date of starting your employment you have “habitually resided” outside the European territory of your home country and were not a diplomat or employee of another international organisation.

For expats – you will receive the Expatriation allowance, unless you have “habitually resided” in the particular country during the preceding 5,5 years.

If you acquired the nationality of your host country through marriage automatically and cannot renounce it, you will continue to be entitled to either the Expatriation or the Foreign Residence allowance.

Foreign Residence allowance

If you are an expat and lived in the country of your EU institution for 5,5 years preceding your employment, then you will receive the Foreign Residence allowance.

The regular amount of the Foreign Residence allowance is 1/4 of the Expatriation allowance. The minimum amount is EUR 142.84 = EUR 571,35 / 4.

Remember about the Correction Coefficient

As all allowances, the Expatriation Allowance and the Foreign Residence Allowance are indexed by the Correction Coefficient. You can read about this in a separate article on the Correction Coefficient, where you will also find out the actual amount of the above allowances you will receive, based on the location of your EU institution or place of employment if your deployed not at the HQ.

This article is based on the European Commission Staff Regulations and other publicly available information such as EU institutions’ vacancy announcements.

Do you have question or suggestion for this article? Please share in a comment below and let’s make this resource better for you and other readers!

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55 responses to “Expatriation allowance and Foreign Residence allowance”

  1. Can I receive expat allowance if I have been living in Belgium for less than 5 years at the moment of hiring? or do you lose it if you have lived in the country at any time in the previous 5,5 years? It is not clear to me what it is meant by ‘during’ the past 5,5 years.

    Thank you

  2. What allowance am I eligible for if I am Belgian but lived in the US for 15 years until last May, when I started working as a temp (through a Belgian job agency) for the commission and now will be hired as a contract agent? My daughter is a student in the US, my husband and home still there… Thanks!

    • You might be eligible for the Expatriation allowance, provided that you can prove that you resided in the US for more than 10 years prior to your employment. However, the decision depends on a variety of factors and only your EU institution’s HR department will be able to provide a competent answer based on the documents you’ll submit. At least, you’ll be entitled to a decent relocation allowance in case you decide to move personal belongings back to Belgium. Best of luck!

  3. Dears,
    could a period of 6 years spent in Brussels before the hiring, with diplomatic status a spouse of a diplomat, registered in the country of origin, let to the Expatriation allowance?
    As set up in art 4:
    “For the purposes of this provision, circumstances arising from work done for another State or for an international organisation shall not be taken into account”

    Thank you for you interesting article.

  4. Hello,

    I will be working for ESA in the Netherlands and I would rent an appartment there. I have been living and working in Belgium for the last 20 years.

    My wife and kids will stay in Belgium. In this case, will I be receiving and expatriation allowance? Am I free to travel to Belgium once a week?

    What about the child allowance and the household allowance?

    thanks for looking into this

    • Hi! Read the article on the household allowance: https://euemployment.eu/european-commission-household-allowance/.
      I believe the answer is yes and yes – you should receive the expat allowance.

      Regarding travel to Belgium, EU institutions now have implemented permanent teleworking at least 2 days a week, which can be extened to three days a week with justification and management approval. Tehcnically, you are supposed to telework from the city where your institution’s HQ is located. However, in practice you have to see whether the institution checks this. You might be able to be in Netherlands during the in-office days, but travel home and be with your family on the teleworking days. Talk to more experienced colleagues and find out what’s the practice in your institution.

  5. Hi, I would be grateful for your advice. I got a job in an EU Agency in Poland. I have a Polish citizenship but have been living (and working) outside of Poland for the past 15 years, until now (2023). However in the meantime I did a 5 months traineeship in that EU Agency in Poland (in 2021). Do you think I would qualify for the expatriation allowance or this traineeship may be an issue (as it was in Poland)?

  6. Hello,

    I lived in beligum for 6 years, but moved back to poland (im still registered there with my parents although I have been registered in belgium too) for several months and now back in belgium. Would I get the expatriation allowance in this case?

    Thanks in advance

  7. I have question and really hope you can help me:

    I’m greek, from 2013 till end of 2016 I was living (fiscally resindent) in Spain working in private sector. At the end of 2016 I moved to work in Brussels for an EU agency till today (palce of origin – Spain).
    If in 2024 I will move back to greece, I would be entitle of the expat allowance?

    • Will you work for another EU institution in Greece? Will you be unemployed? I assume that the question is about moving to an EU agency in Greece.

      In theory, if you have resided outside Greece for 10 or more years, you should get the Expat Allowance.

      In practice, this is one of these complicated cases where you might be able to prove that you have been outside Greece for 10 years, that entitles you to the Expatriation Allowance. At the same time, there might be some nuances why you do not qualify. Often people don’t qualify for the Expat Allowance as they cannot legally prove the 10+ years residence outside their home country.

      My best suggestion is to approach HR of your current or future EU institution and ask them for an interpretation of the rules.

      I’ll copy the full text of the relevant article below, it’s from Annex VII of the staff regulations (when you google the text, be sure to select the 2023 text).

      Section 2

      EXPATRIATION ALLOWANCE

      Article 4

      ▼M9
      ►M39 1. ◄

      An expatriation allowance equal to 16 % of the total of the basic salary, ►M25 household allowance ◄ and dependent child allowance ►M25 ►C23 paid to the official ◄ ◄ shall be paid:

      ▼B
      (a)

      to officials:

      who are not and have never been nationals of the State in whose ►M39 ————— ◄ territory the place where they are employed is situated, and

      who during the five years ending six months before they entered the service did not habitually reside or carry on their main occupation within the European territory of that State. For the purposes of this provision, circumstances arising from work done for another State or for an international organisation shall not be taken into account;
      (b)

      to officials who are or have been nationals of the State in whose territory the place where they are employed is situated but who during the ten years ending at the date of their entering the service habitually resided outside the European territory of that State for reasons other than the performance of duties in the service of a State or of an international organisation.

      ▼M16

      The expatriation allowance shall be not less than ►M153 EUR 633,60 ◄ per month.

      ▼M25 —————

      ▼M39
      2. An official who is not and has never been a national of the State in whose territory he is employed and who does not fulfil the conditions laid down in paragraph 1 shall be entitled to a foreign residence allowance equal to one quarter of the expatriation allowance.
      3. For the purposes of paragraphs 1 and 2, an official who has by marriage automatically acquired and cannot renounce the nationality of the State in whose territory he or she is employed shall be treated in the same way as an official covered by the first indent of paragraph 1 (a).

      ▼M112 —————

      ▼B

  8. Hi Ben,

    really appreciate the great website!

    I was wondering, if the allowance will be taken away of you change contract within the EU institutions. E.g. if you work as a contract agent or APA and then change to a AD position.
    Best Wishes,
    Dani

    • Would be great of someone with actual experience on this would comment. I understand that there is this possibility of the allowance disappearing. E.g., once you have lived in one location for more than 5 years, you might be considered as a resident. However, best to ask HR about this.

  9. Hi Ben,

    Thank you very much for this website; it is extremely useful.

    I am new to the EU institutions and would very much appreciate some clarity on the expatriation allowance for my specific case. I have been living in Brussels for the last year and 3 months with my family. Will I be entitled to the expatriation allowance when taking a contract agent position at the EC in two months time? Would it make sense to go back to our country where we used to live before Brussels for a couple of months before taking the position?
    Many thanks!

    • Hi! With the usual caveat that this is not binding legal advice, it all depends on what is understood by “habitually resided” in the country in the preceding 5.5 years.
      I haven’t yet looked into the legal definition and application of this concept.

      Were you registered as a resident in Belgium? If not, you might be entitled to the Expatriation allowance. If there is already a “paper trail” of your presence in Belgium, you will get the Foreign Residence Allowance.

      Is there anyone else among the readers who can comment on the “habitual residing” concept?

  10. Hi there,

    would I get the expatriation allowance if I start work in EU Agency in Spain, if I worked for this EU Agency for the period 6 months through the employment agency called Adecco? I was officially hired by Adecco Spain, but I worked for the EU Agency.

    • Hi! As in the question above, it all depends on the legal interpretation of “habitual residence”. As I’m not a laywer and have not asked any HR divisions in the institutions I’ve worked for what exactly is meant by this, I can’t provide you a clear answer about the entitlement. You should definively receive the Foreign Residence Allowance, which is smaller than the Expatriation Allowance.

      If you clarify this with you HR, could you please share what they told you?
      I hope that another reader will also help with a competent comment.

      Receiving any of the two allowances (or disqualifying you from them) is not linked to previous employment in the agency.

      Additional point – it appears that you were an interim at the agency. Interims are not considered ‘staff members’ of the agency, hence, for example, the time spent in this status will not count towards your pension rights.

  11. Thanks for such a great website; the information is extremely comprehensive and informative!

    I believe that I may be entitled to the expat allowance, but I was wondering how you prove that you have not lived in the state to which you have nationality? My nationality is for one country but I have never actually lived there – what evidence would be needed to prove this?

    • Conor, hi! You would probably prove that you were a resident of another country. This can be done with official certificates from state institutions, lease/ownership contracts of property, utilities bills.

      • Thanks for this quick reply, Ben, your help (and kindness) is invaluable. I was living with my parents until I got the job so I won’t have many utility bills. Would showing my tax returns, that I paid to the state I lived in be useful? You mentioned state institution documents, what kind of documents would they be? I’m currently trying to put together my appeal so I’m trying to gather it all before then, or will they ask for further evidence if required? It’s to know how much/little to include!

        • Hi! I hope that your case resolved favorably! Better to err on the side of providing too much evidence in this case.

          • Hi, I was actually asking around the info internally and it was cobfirmed to me, that once you have the nationality of the country (even if it’s not the sole nationality), you are NOT eligible for the expat allowance. Note that this is often the case of Belgians returning to BE after working elsewhere their whole life (ex. EU delegations), but the verdict is negative.

          • Thanks so much for sharing back with all of us! Sorry for the outcome in your case, but very useful for people with the same/similar question!

  12. Hi!

    A lot of great info here. I really appreciate the effort.
    If anyone could help me with this :

    I worked in Belgium for 6 years prior to being hired by EC however the entire time I was a TAX resident of my home country and I had an expat status in Belgium which I was entitled to have until 31st of Dec 2023.
    Also, I believe I registered in Bru commune roughly 6-7 months after starting working in Belgium.
    Does any of this make any difference when it comes to allowance I am Entitled to?

    Thanks in Advance!

  13. Hi,
    Is studying considered to be “habitual residency” ?

    I have studied in the same country, to which I am now going to be employed (less than 5.5 years later).
    During those years, I maintained my permanent address at home.
    What do you think?

  14. Hi,
    I was working from 2009 to July 2019 at the European Parliament (APA) and then from July 2019 to July 2022 in unemployment benefit. I am going to sign a contract in September/October as contractual agent in Brussels. Do you think I am entiled to receive the expatriation allowance? I am living in Belgium since July 2019 (3 years and 2/3 months after my period at the European institutions).
    Thanks a lot! Best,
    Ana

  15. Hi. Two questions. Is the wife of a EU agency staff getting expatriation allowance, entitled to expatriation allowance once hired in the same EU Agency? She lived 2 years in the country of the Agency.

    2) Already working in the country of the EU Agency would affect in any way the right to expatriation allowance?

  16. Dear Ben,
    Thanks for all the very useful information. I have also read your post on DSA, I just have a doubt: is the Expatriation Allowance paid also during the probation period? So the DSA comes on top of the Expatriation allowance? Or is only DSA for the first months?
    Thanks!

    • All allowances that you qualify for are paid from day 1 of employment, so also during the probation period.
      Be aware that in the first month you are likely to get only the basic salary, and no allowances due to the way EU institutions calculate salaries. You’ll get all the monies not paid in month 1 in month 2. More about this here: https://euemployment.eu/managing-personal-finances-eu-job/

  17. Dear Ben, thanks a lot for this very useful information hub!

    A question on the “Expatriation allowance”. You write: for nationals of the country the institution is located in or “locals” – you will not receive the Expatriation allowance, unless during the ten years ending at the date of starting your employment you have “habitually resided” outside the European territory of your home country.

    I’ll get into service in my home country in a few weeks, having spent the years 2012-2020 abroad mainly in other EU (but also non-EU) contries (7 full years + some sparse months here and there – all provable). I came back to my home country at the beginning of 2021. Would this qualify me for the Expatriation allowance? How does the EU interpret the “habitually resided” formula?

    Again, thanks for your contribution

    • Hi! I believe that you would not qualify for the expatriation allowance, because usually each even minor deviation from rules (in your case, not full 10y outside home country) is interpreted to your disadvantage. However, still worth asking HR to get a definitive answer.

  18. Hello,

    Someone moving to Belgium from a EEA country to work as a temporary agent for a European institution, needs to change their residence to Belgium? Or some other kind of national registration in Belgium?

    And is it necessary to have an account in a bank from Belgium?

    Thank you

  19. I am moving back to work in an EU agency in my home country, but have been abroad for longer than 10 years, part of those 10 years includes working in EU institutions/agencies.
    Does the EU count as an international organization?

    • I don’t know the rules to such a detail. Would love to hear back from you if you were able to claim the full allowance!

      • Dear Julia, dear Ben,

        Yes, EU institutions count as international organisations. I am 100% confident there is CJEU case-law making exactly this statement.

      • Ok thanks , but if the minimum is supposed to be €571, do you recieve €571 or is it €571 mius the correction coffieicent ?

        So for Poland this would be Just €368?

        • It would be adjusted by the correction coefficient, and in reality be lower than the nominal amount if you reside in Poland.

  20. Hi,
    I’ve got an offer to work in an EU delegation out of EU (as a contract agent) and I was wondering (i) if the expatriation allowance still applies or it is replaced by the living conditions allowance in this case, and (ii) what exactly the living conditions allowance applies on (i.e., just the basic salary, or the combination of all).
    Thanks!

    • Hi! Apologies, but I haven’t yet looked into the provisions for EEAS/EU Delegations staff. It appears that there is additional regulation for this type of staff, that’s not mentioned in the staff regulations. For example, some staff working in what are considered “hard” countries, receive a hardship allowance. Kosovo and Bangladesh come to mind. If you find out a good source on this, I’d be glad to update the article to make it relevant for new employees of EEAS.

      • The whole Annex X treats this specific situation (work in non-EU countries). As you said, many countries (whole Africa, Asia, and possibly more) have the risk top-up (living conditions allowance) of 5-40%. This seems be calculated on the top, and including, all the other allowances. But it seems that a lot has been changed since it was published and the practical application might depends on the delegation.

  21. Hi,
    I have just started a job at the Commission. I am a eligible only to Foreign Residence Allowances. My question is am I gonna receive any money for tickets to travel to my home country?
    Thank you.

    • Yes, there is an annual travel allowance for each family member that depends on the distance from your place of employment to your declared home address. You can find the precise amount at your HR. You can find out the approximate amount if you search for the salary calculator on MyIntracom or ask colleagues who might already have downloaded it.

  22. EXPATRIATION ALLOWANCE FOR “NATIONALS”

    I am an ex-pat working in a EU Agency for 9 years and 1 month.
    I received a job offer from another EU Agency located to my home country. I will start working there after 4 months.
    By the time I will start working in my home country I will have completed 9 years and 5 months as an ex-pat.

    My question:
    Can I claim the expatriation allowance?

    • My reading of the rules is that you will NOT be entitled to the allowance as it’s not 10 years outside your home country. However, could you please ask HR of your new agency and let me and other readers know what they answer?

    • Most likely no as you’ll return to your home country and will not have spend outside it uninterrupted 10 years.

  23. Hi,
    I used to work in Brussels between September 2014 and September 2019. Since then I live and work in Italy; recently, I received a job offer from an EU agency in Brussels to begin in October 2021. According to your interpretation, do you think I am entitled to expatriation allowance ? Although I am recruited from another country (and I am an expat) I am afraid that the fact that I used to work in Belgium before makes me lose the entitlement to the expatriation allowance. Thank you for the great articles.

    • Hi! According to my understanding, you would not be entitled to the expatriation allowance… however, an increasing number of questions are coming in on this same topic. I’ll try to do more research and amend the article with the most common situations. In case you find out something yourself (for example, by writing to HR of your new institution), could you please kindly share?

  24. Hi! I’m quoting from the Staff Regulations here. Officials are entitled to the Expatriation allowance if “during the five years ending six months before they entered the service did not habitually reside or carry on their main occupation within the European territory of that State. For the purposes of this provision, circumstances arising from work done for another State or for an international organisation shall not be taken into account.”

    Unfortunately, I have not yet found guidelines or examples on how this article is to be applied in practice and how it applies to the two cases above. It seems to me that both Jason and Roman are out of luck when it comes to the Expatriation allowance, but I’d certainly love to see an HR interpretation. As usual, if you manage to clarify this, please share again here so that I can update the article for other readers. Thanks!

  25. Hi there! Re the sentence below:

    “If you are an expat and lived in the country of your EU institution for 5,5 years preceding your employment, then you will receive the Foreign Residence allowance.”

    Is there a time limit/guideline for how much of those 5,5 years you must have been resident in the country of employment in order to be disqualified for receiving the expat allowance.

    To make it clearer, would a temporary agent who has been living in Luxembourg for one year and is then offered a new contract at another institution be entitled to the expat allowance or would the foreign residence allowance apply instead?

    Thanks!

    • Same question here – if I will have habitually resided in Brussels for 2 years at the time of my contract start date (at a Brussels-based institution), would that be eligible for the expatriation allowance or just the foreign residence allowance (or nothing at all)?
      Thanks!

      • I have the same question. I’ve been residing in Spain for 4 years now, and I am starting as a Contract Agent, I am an ex-pat. Would I be eligible for an Expatriation allowance or a Foreign Residence allowance?

        Thnks!

        • I still haven’t looked into this in detail, but I think that in this case you will be eligible only to the Foreign Residence Allowance.

      • Having read art 4(1)(a) of Annex VII, my assumption would be that if you worked for an EU (Brussels-based, for example) institution for a certain period (let’s say, 2 years, with expatriation allowance in the first place), then you move to another EU institution in Brussels – or you go back to your home country for xyz reason (end of contract, for instance, if you are a contract agent), but you come back to an EU institution in Brussels at some point in the near future (as an official, let’s say)- then, the 2-year period will not be taken into account for the eligibility regarding the expatriation allowance. ‘Habitual residence’ implies the creation and maintenance of lasting ties with this particular country (Belgium in this case), and, in combination with the exception provided for in the case of international organisations (which I presume should include the EU as well), then it can be argued that this requirement is not met in this case.

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