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Workers and pensioners

Updated : 16/10/2013

Non-EU family members

My other relatives / non-registered partner

Staying abroad for up to 3 months

Your partner and relatives may stay with you in another EU country. If they stay for less than 3 months, all they need is a valid passport and sometimes, depending which country they are from, an entry visa.

More about entry visa requirements and possible exemptions.

Before you leave, please check with the consulate of the country you are going to whether your non-EU family members need an entry visa and how long it will take to get one.

Reporting presence

Some EU countries require your non-EU relatives or partner to report their presence within a reasonable period of time after arrival and may impose a penalty, such as a fine, if they do not.

Before they go to the other country, please check the deadlines and relevant conditions for reporting presence with the national authorities.

Because your relatives/partner might need to prove at any time that they have right to live in the country (for example, if stopped by the police), they should carry their passport with them at all times.

In some EU countries, they can be fined or temporarily detained if they leave their passport at home, but they cannot be expelled just for this.

Equal treatment

During their stay, they should be treated as nationals of the country, notably as regards access to employment, pay, benefits facilitating access to work, enrolment in schools etc.

Even if they are staying as a tourist, they should not, for example have to pay higher fees to visit museums or when buying transport tickets, etc.

Exception: If you are a pensioner, some EU countries may decide not to grant you and your family income support for the first 3 months in that country.

Expulsion

Your new country can, in exceptional cases, decide to expel your non-EU relatives or partner on grounds of public policy, public security, or public health - but only if it can prove they represent a serious threat.

The expulsion decision must be given to them in writing. It must state all the grounds and specify how they can appeal and by when.

Staying abroad for more than 3 months

Workers

The authorities in the EU country where you are working will assess whether your non-EU relatives/partner should be authorised to stay there as your family members (because you are an EU national employed, posted or self-employed there for longer than 3 months). The assessment will be done on the basis of the national conditions and on a case-by-case basis.

Pensioners

If you are a pensioner, the authorities will assess whether your non-EU relatives partner may stay beyond 3 months, if you have (for you and your whole family):

  • sufficient income (from any source) to live without needing income support
  • comprehensive health insurance in that country.

National authorities may not require your income to be above the level that would qualify your family for basic income support in that country.

Residence card

Your non-EU relatives or partner should apply for a residence card with the authorities (often the town hall or local police station) within 3 months of arriving. To do so they will need:

  • a valid passport
  • your registration certificate or any other proof of your residence in that country
  • proof of the family relationship with you
  • proof they are dependent on you or there are serious health grounds requiring you to take personal care of them
  • for partners, proof of a long-term relationship.

No other documents may be requested.

The authorities should make their decision to issue a residence card or not for your non-EU relatives or partners within 6 months. If they do not do so, you can call on our assistance service.

If their application is rejected, they can appeal. The authorities must give them the decision in writing, stating the grounds for the decision and its implications, and specifying how your relatives/partner can appeal and by when.

If their application is accepted, they should be issued with a residence card. Residence cards are often issued free of charge (or at the same charge as identity cards for nationals).

The residence card should clearly state that it is the residence card of an EU national family member.

The residence card should be valid for 5 years (or for your planned length of stay, if shorter), though You may need to report any change of address to the authorities.

Because your non-EU relatives or partner might need to prove at any time that they have right to live in the country (for example, if stopped by the police), they should carry their passport and residence card with them at all times.

In some EU countries, they can be fined or temporarily detained if they leave their passport at home, but they cannot be expelled just for this.

Sample story

You can ask to be joined by a seriously ill relative from outside the EU

Karim, who is French, has moved to Belgium for a 1-year internship. His Algerian uncle has fallen seriously ill. As his only relative, Karim wants his uncle to come to Belgium so he can look after him while he takes various medical tests.

He can ask the Belgian authorities to let his uncle stay for 2 months. In making their decision, the authorities will consider both the health problems and the fact that Karim is the only relative.

Equal treatment

During their stay in your new country, your non-EU relatives or partners should be treated as nationals of the country, notably as regards access to employment, pay and benefits facilitating access to work, enrolment in schools, etc.

Request to leave / Expulsion

Your non-EU relatives or partner may live with you in another EU country 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 - but they cannot be expelled.

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

The expulsion decision or request to leave must be given to them in writing, stating all the grounds and specifying how they can appeal and by when.

Death

If you were living legally in another EU country and died before acquiring permanent residence there, your non-EU relatives and partner may stay if they had been living there for at least 1 year before your death.

To be able to stay, your non-EU family members must also meet the same conditions for residence as EU nationals.

Check conditions and formalities for:

Permanent residence

After living legally in the other EU country, continuously for 5 years, your non-EU relatives or partner automatically acquire the right of permanent residence there, in the same way as your non-EU spouse and children would.

Check rights, conditions and formalities for non-EU spouses and children

Still need help?

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Footnote

other than your spouse, (grand)children and (grand)parents

Retour au texte en cours.

In this case, the 27 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

Retour au texte en cours.

other than your spouse, (grand)children and (grand)parents

Retour au texte en cours.

other than your spouse, (grand)children and (grand)parents

Retour au texte en cours.

other than your spouse, (grand)children and (grand)parents

Retour au texte en cours.

In this case, the 27 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

Retour au texte en cours.

other than your spouse, (grand)children and (grand)parents

Retour au texte en cours.

other than your spouse, (grand)children and (grand)parents

Retour au texte en cours.