Expatriation allowance and Foreign Residence allowance

Expatriation allowance and Foreign Residence allowance

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 any questions or suggestions for this article? Please comment below and let’s make this resource better for other readers!

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31 responses to “Expatriation allowance and Foreign Residence allowance”

  1. 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

  2. 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?

  3. 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/

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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!

  12. 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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