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Updated : 28/07/2017

Your EU spouse and children

If you are an EU citizen and move to another EU country to live, work or study, EU rules make it easier for your family to join you. On this page you can find out how your spouse, children and grandchildren can join you if they are EU nationals.

However, if you are an EU citizen and have never lived in another EU country only national rules will apply.

Staying by virtue of their own rights

As EU nationals, your husband or wife, children and grandchildren may stay in another EU country as workers, jobseekers, pensioners or students – under the same conditions that apply to you.

Check conditions and formalities for:

Staying as your dependants

Your husband or wife, children or grandchildren don't plan to work or look for a job, study and don't receive a pension?

They can still join you as your dependants.

Staying abroad for up to 3 months

As EU citizens, your spouse, children and grandchildren, may live in your new EU country under the same conditions that apply to all EU citizens.           

Staying abroad for more than 3 months

If you are a worker

If you are working in another EU country, as an employee, self-employed or on a posting, your spouse, dependent children and grandchildren can stay there with you without having to meet any other conditions.

If you are a pensioner

If you are a pensioner living in another EU country, your spouse, dependent children and grandchildren can stay there with you if you have, for yourself and your whole family:

  • sufficient income to live without needing income support
  • comprehensive health insurance in that country

If you are a student

If you are a student living in another EU country, your spouse, dependent children and grandchildren can stay there with you if you:

  • are enrolled in an approved educational establishment
  • have sufficient income for your whole family to live without needing income support
  • have comprehensive health insurance for your whole family in your host country.

Registration

Find out how to get a registration certificate for your family members living with you.

Request to leave and deportation

Your spouse, children and grandchildren may live in your host country with you as long as they continue to meet the conditions for residence. If they no longer do so, the national authorities may require them to leave.

In exceptional cases, your host country can decide to deport them on grounds of public policy or public security - but only if it can prove they represent a serious threat.

The deportation decision or request to leave must be given to them in writing. It must state all the reasons for deportation, and specify how they can appeal and by when.

Permanent residence

As EU nationals, your spouse, children and grandchildren acquire the right to permanent residence if they have lived legally in the host country for a period of 5 continuous years, under the same conditions that apply to you.

This means that they can stay there as long as they want - even if they don't work or need income support. They should enjoy the same rights, benefits and advantages as nationals.

Find out how to have a permanent residence document issued to certify their right to stay unconditionally.

Death

If you were working or self-employed in another EU country and die before acquiring permanent residence there, your spouse, children and grandchildren who were also living with you as family members may receive special treatment. This may include permission to stay permanently if:

  • your death resulted from an accident at work or occupational disease
  • or at the time of your death, you had lived continuously in that country for at least 2 years.
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