The EU renegotiation and EU family members

  • United Kingdom

The EU renegotiation and EU family members

Under the EU citizens’ Directive, currently EU citizens can bring with them to another Member State their spouse or partner, the children of both (or either) who are under 21 or dependent, and the dependent parents of either. This applies regardless of whether the family members are EU citizens or not. No further conditions are possible, besides the prospect of a refusal of entry (or subsequent expulsion) on grounds of public policy, public security or public health (on which, see below).

In principle EU law does not apply to UK citizens who wish to bring non-EU family members to the UK, so the UK is free to put in place restrictive rules in those cases (which it has done, as regards income requirements and language rules). However, the CJEU has ruled that UK citizens can move to another Member State and be joined by non-EU family members there, under the more generous rules in the EU legislation. Then they can move back to the UK with their family members, now invoking the free movement rights in the Treaties. In 2014, the CJEU clarified two points about this scenario (as discussed by Chiara Berneri here): (a) it was necessary to spend at least three months in the host Member State exercising EU law rights and residing with the family member, before coming back; and (b) the EU citizens’ Directive applied by analogy to govern the situation of UK citizens who return with their family members.

(Steve Peers)

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  • Family immigration
  • Family reunification
  • Immigrant
  • Immigration policies
  • Immigration policy
  • Sponsor
  • Sponsorship
  • Spouses
  • Visa