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On the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly qualified employment
Article 16

Article 16 — EC long-term resident status for EU Blue Card holders

  1. Directive 2003/109/EC shall apply with the derogations laid down in this Article.
  2. By way of derogation from Article 4(1) of Directive 2003/109/EC, the EU Blue Card holder having made use of the possibility provided for in Article 18 of this Directive is allowed to cumulate periods of residence in different Member States in order to fulfil the requirement concerning the duration of residence, if the following conditions are met:
    1. five years of legal and continuous residence within the territory of the Community as an EU Blue Card holder; and
    2. legal and continuous residence for two years immediately prior to the submission of the relevant application as an EU Blue Card holder within the territory of the Member State where the application for the long-term resident's EC residence permit is lodged.
  3. For the purpose of calculating the period of legal and continuous residence in the Community and by way of derogation from the first subparagraph of Article 4(3) of Directive 2003/109/EC, periods of absence from the territory of the Community shall not interrupt the period referred to in paragraph 2(a) of this Article if they are shorter than 12 consecutive months and do not exceed in total 18 months within the period referred to in paragraph 2(a) of this Article. This paragraph shall apply also in cases where the EU Blue Card holder has not made use of the possibility provided for in Article 18.
  4. By way of derogation from Article 9(1)(c) of Directive 2003/109/EC, Member States shall extend to 24 consecutive months the period of absence from the territory of the Community which is allowed to an EC long-term resident holder of a long-term residence permit with the remark referred to in Article 17(2) of this Directive and of his family members having been granted the EC long-term resident status.
  5. The derogations to Directive 2003/109/EC set out in paragraphs 3 and 4 of this Article may be restricted to cases where the third-country national concerned can present evidence that he has been absent from the territory of the Community to exercise an economic activity in an employed or self-employed capacity, or to perform a voluntary service, or to study in his own country of origin.
  6. Article 14(1)(f) and 15 shall continue to apply for holders of a long-term residence permit with the remark referred to in Article 17(2), where applicable, after the EU Blue Card holder has become an EC long-term resident.