The Monaco Supreme Court granted, on the 12 July 2022, a resident's request to annul the decision refusing the renewal of their ordinary residence card.

1. The minimum period of three-month residency is not a residence card renewal condition

To justify the refusal, the Sûreté Publique had considered, among other reasons, that the electricity consumption of the Applicant was too “low” and that they did not spend “at least three months in the Principality”.

On the other hand, the Applicant argued that :

  • No minimal electricity consumption was legally required regarding the applicable laws in force;
  • Their consumption was in fact explained by their presence on their ship, under the Monegasque flag, and subject to the laws of the Principality, which they justified; and
  • The individual notice communicated by the Ministry of State indicating that the Applicant was residing “less and less in Monaco” referred, above all, to a neighbourhood survey and to an analysis of bank statements which the Ministry of State had refused to communicate, thus preventing the Monaco Supreme Court from exercising its control of legality.

In order to annul the decision of the Director of the Sûreté Publique, the  Monaco Supreme Court considered that :

  • It follows from the terms of Article 1 of the Sovereign Order of 19 March 1964 that the three-month minimum period of residence is required for a foreigner to obtain a residence card if they wish to keep staying or residing in the Principality.
  • Articles 6 and 7 of the same Act provide that the renewal of a residence card is subject to the same conditions as those provided for the obtention of their first residence card, namely:
    • Possession of a valid identity document;
    • Proof of authorisation to carry out a professional activity or the availability of sufficient resources; and
    • The absence of circumstances justifying that the competent authorities, in the exercise of their administrative police powers, refuse to deliver the residence card.

Thus, the Monaco Supreme Court  decided that a minimum period of three-months' stay in the Principality during the previous year does not constitute a condition for the renewal of a residence permit.

As a result, by refusing to renew the Applicant's residence permit on the grounds of non-compliance with a minimum period of three months' residence in the Principality, the Direction of Sûreté Publique incorrectly applied  article 1 of the Sovereign Order of 19 March 1964.

The decision was therefore annulled.

2. The consecration of the notion of effective residency

According to the same decision, the Monaco Supreme Court specified that the Administration was free to refuse to grant a first residence permit or its renewal when it appeared that the application was manifestly pointless, based on the elements in its possession relating to the applicant's personal and professional life and, if needed, on the Applicant's lack of effective residence in the Principality.

Such a criterion is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

This decision illustrates the consistency of the Monaco Supreme Court, which in a previous case had already considered that the revocation of a privileged resident's residence permit was vitiated by a manifest error of assessment when the contested decision was based on the fact that the Applicant did not actually reside in Monaco, even though the evidence to the contrary was amply substantiated.  

In particular, the mere fact that the claimant was the owner of a flat near Monaco of which they had free disposal was insufficient to establish the absence of their actual residence in the Principality (Décision TS 2020-15 Mme M. G. épouse L. et M. L. L. c/ Etat de Monaco).

In conclusion, the consecration of the notion of effective residence, renewed by the decision of 12 July 2022, allows for a case-by-case assessment that will have to be established. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.