An application for residency is made under Gibraltar's Immigration, Asylum and Refugee Act, which permits the Governor to issue the necessary permit to any person who, in his opinion, is of good character and to whom he considers that it is in the interests of Gibraltar to issue such a permit.

In practice the application is made to the Principal Immigration Officer whom the Governor appoints and who will exercise his discretion within the parameters of the Act and immigration policy in accordance with instructions from the Governor in consultation with the Government.

The Immigration, Asylum and Refugee Act recognises that EU nationals have certain rights to residency. If a person is self-employed or likely to remain in employment for twelve months, he is entitled to a permit of residence, which will usually be granted for twelve months and are renewable thereafter if their circumstances have not changed and they continue to meet the requisite criteria.

In addition, following the EU Rights of Residence Directive, all EU nationals have a right to reside. Even if they are not in employment they will successfully obtain a residence permit as long as they are able to satisfy the Principal Immigration Officer that:

  • they will not become a public burden;
  • they have a place to live; and
  • they have private full-risk medical insurance for themselves and any dependents which extend to Gibraltar and that covers repatriation. (At the moment, only UK pensioners are accorded access to the Gibraltar Health Service.)

While the Immigration, Asylum and Refugee Act provides the basic requirements that must be satisfied for the issue of such a permit, the Government of Gibraltar has issued guidelines highlighting factors that are relevant in considering applications for residency. These can be briefly summarised as follows:

(a) the purchase of a property sufficient in size to accommodate the applicant and all his family for residential purposes;

(b) the applicant must establish that he is in good health;

(c) the applicant must establish that he has adequate financial resources to maintain himself and his family without recourse to public funds.

Any person who obtains a Category 2 Individual certificate (further details of which are provided below) will be entitled to apply for a residency permit.

For non-EU nationals, for example US or Chinese Citizens, the application for residency is somewhat more involved and complex. Non-EU nationals do not have an automatic right of residence. Notwithstanding this, the Governor, under section 19(c) of the Immigration, Asylum and Refugee Act, has discretion to grant a residence permit to any person who in the opinion of the Governor is of good character, where it would be in the interests of Gibraltar that such a residence permit should be granted. The duration of the permit is also left to the discretion of the Governor. However, being in possession of a work permit will be considered as highly advantages when making an application.

Applications under this section of the Immigration, Asylum and Refugee Act are generally reserved to non-EU individuals who are able to offer Gibraltar substantial benefits whether in investment, creation of employment or otherwise. Applications are made to the Governor via the office of the Administrative Secretary and Deputy Governor. The Government will be consulted on such applications.

An individual can apply for residency via one of the following three ways:

  • Employee
  • Self-employed
  • Self-sufficient (including Cat 2s)

EU national employee

If you are in permanent employment then you must submit a copy of your Ministry of Employment Contract, accompanied by a letter from your employer stating that you are in employment.

Non-EU national employee

A valid work permit must be produced when applying for a Civilian Registration Card.

All self-employed

Persons who are registered as self-employed must submit their Business Name Registration Act certificate accompanied by a Certificate of Registration as a self-employed Person from the Income Tax Office. Receipt of payment of tax will also be required.

EU national self-sufficient

Proof of funds in the form of bank statements for the six months prior to the application or a valid Category 2 Individual Certificate.

Non-EU national Cat 2 individual

A valid Category 2 Individual Certificate must be submitted.

All self-sufficient and Cat 2 individuals must take out private medical insurance that covers treatment in Gibraltar. In order to be covered by private medical insurance the minimum requirements would be for policy benefits of at least £100,000 per year including in-patient and day-patient treatment in Gibraltar, the Spanish hinterland and the United Kingdom hospitals.

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.