Putting It Simply: What Is a Temporary Resident?

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Temporary residents are individuals with foreign nationalities that are given residence visas or permits in a country for a certain period of time and for a specific purpose, such as for work or study.

Putting It Simply: What Is a Temporary Resident?

Note: This article uses the term “visa” and “permit” interchangeably, as different countries around the world use either term exclusively, although sometimes interchangeably.

Types of Temporary Residents

There are several types of temporary residents, although the most common ones are probably individuals on work or study permits.

Here is an article that outlines the 6 common types of temporary visas.

Can Temporary Visas be Renewed?

The premise of what constitute temporary residents is that their residence status is temporary, meaning that legally speaking, they are expected to leave the country after their visa expires.

In some cases, temporary residents are welcome to apply to become permanent residents if they would like to, but that is subject to a lengthier process and it would only work if they were to meet certain requirements, whether through education, employment, and spousal or family relationships.

The process to become a permanent resident can often take years. If a temporary resident is not (yet) eligible to become a permanent resident, they may be able to renew their temporary status to extend their stay in a country.

However, not all temporary resident visas are renewable, meaning some temporary residents might only be allowed to obtain certain permits a limited number of time, although usually there are other alternatives, such as whether they are able to find a company/institution to sponsor them for the visas, et cetera. For example, holders of Ireland’s Working Holiday Authorisation can only stay and work in Ireland for up to 2 years, after which they have to leave, or participate in other visa programs to continue remaining in the country.

Some temporary resident visas that can be renewed will be subject to certain conditions. For instance, holders of Singapore’s Employment Pass which are typically issued with a validity between 2–3 years at a time can renew the work permit provided that they and their employers meet certain criteria (e.g. salary requirements, employer compliance, and so on).

Study permits are usually renewable with proof of financial ability to meet tuition and living costs, as well as a bona fide acceptance letter to an academic institution, amongst other factors. Some countries with temporary retirement visas, such as New Zealand’s Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa program are also renewable provided that its holders continue to meet the financial requirements.

Rights and Privileges of a Temporary Resident

It is often the case that temporary residents do not possess the same rights and privileges as permanent residents and citizens.

This is why if you are tempted to move abroad, it is imperative to consider the fact that you may not be fully entitled to what might make the grass seem greener on the other side as a temporary resident until you have put in the work to become a permanent resident or a citizen of the country.

Read more: 5 Privileges You Might Not Have as a Temporary Resident Abroad

The Psychology of Temporary Residents

Suffice to say, life as a temporary resident in another country is relatively unstable compared to that of citizens and permanent residents.

Oftentimes, temporary residents are unable to take concrete action on their long-term life plans because their future depends on what happens after their visa expires in a few years’ time, and also because visa renewals and permanent residencies are not guaranteed.

Read more: The Peril of Losing Stability When Moving Abroad

All information in this website is intended for educational purposes only and does not constitute any personalized financial, tax, or legal advice. Please consult a professional if you need a further examination of your specific situation.

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Hey, Ryan here 🇨🇦


Over the past 10 years, I've lived & worked in 5 cities across 3 countries (Previously in 🇸🇬🇮🇩).

More about me here.

27 years old

12 visas & residence permits granted

18 countries & territories visited

12 houses & apartments lived in