Last checked: 13/05/2020

Your EU spouse and children

Affected by Brexit?

Questions and Answers – the rights of EU and UK citizens, as outlined in the Withdrawal Agreement

On 1 January 2021, the rules for EU citizens living in or moving to the UK will change. The same applies to UK nationals living in or moving to an EU country.

I have permanent residence in the UK/EU or will acquire it during the transition period

In principle, you and your family members will continue to have permanent residence in your host country. This includes non‑EU family members. In the UK, you must however apply to the EU settlement scheme to be granted a new residence status. In the EU, check with your host country’s authorities as soon as possible if it is mandatory to apply for a new residence status.

I reside in the UK/EU but am not yet entitled to permanent residence

In principle, you and your family members will continue to keep your current residence in your host country. This includes non‑EU family members. In the UK, you must however apply to the EU settlement scheme to be granted a new residence status. In the EU, check with your host country’s authorities as soon as possible if it is mandatory to apply for a new residence status.

I want to move to the UK/EU

You and your family members may move to the UK or to an EU country under the current EU rules until 31 December 2020. This includes non‑EU family members. In the UK, you must then apply to the EU settlement scheme. In the EU, check with your host country’s authorities whether you have to register and if it is mandatory to apply for a new residence status.

I want to go to the UK/EU for a short stay

Current rules on reporting presence, registering your residence abroad, registering your EU family, registering your non-EU family continue to apply until at least 31 December 2020.

I need help

If you think that your rights under EU law are not being respected, contact our assistance services.

Detailed information on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement and citizen’s rights

As an EU national, you can join your EU spouse in another EU country either because of your own EU rights or as their dependant. The information on this page applies also to children and grandchildren that are EU citizens and are joining their EU family ​abroad.

Staying because of your own rights

As an EU citizen, you have the right to move to any EU country to live, work, study, look for a job or retire.

You can stay in another EU country for up to 3 months without registering there but you may need to report your presence. The only requirement is to hold a valid national identity card or passport. If you want to stay longer than 3 months, you may need to register your residence.

In many EU countries, you need to carry an identity card or passport with you at all times. In these countries, you could be fined or temporarily detained if you leave your identity documents at home - but you cannot be forced to return to your home country for this reason alone. Read more about deportation.

If you have lived legally in another EU country for a continuous period of 5 years, you automatically acquire the right of permanent residence there.

Staying as a dependant

If you don't plan to work, look for a job, or study in your new EU country, you can still join your spouse or registered partner as their dependant.

Some EU countries do not recognise civil and registered partnerships as being equivalent to marriage, so they may not consider you a dependent partner. In this case, check the applicable residence rights and conditions for other relatives.

Find out about the recognition of civil partnerships in Europe.

Registration

After 3 months in your new EU country, you will have to register your residence there.

You will need to submit the following documents to the town hall or the local police station:

No other documents may be requested.

Your registration certificate will be issued immediately.

Fees

The registration certificate should cost no more than nationals pay for their identity cards or similar documents.

Validity

Your registration certificate is valid indefinitely (it does not have to be renewed), but any change of address may need to be reported to the local authorities.

Where and how to register by country

Find out where and how to register your EU family members in your host country:

Choose country

* Information not yet provided by national authorities

If required by the host country, you can be fined but not expelled if you don't:

If you have problems getting a registration certificate, you can contact our assistance services.

What happens to your residence rights if you divorce your spouse?

As you are an EU citizen, divorcing your partner does not affect your right to stay in your host EU country if you meet the conditions to stay because of your own rights.

Check the conditions and formalities for:

If you aren't planning to work or study in your host EU country, you have to prove that you have comprehensive sickness insurance cover and sufficient resources.

What happens to your residence rights if your spouse dies?

If your spouse or registered partner was working or was self-employed in another EU country and died before acquiring permanent residence there, you may get permission to stay permanently in your host EU country:

Request to leave and deportation

You may live in another EU country as long as you continue to meet the conditions for residence. If you no longer do so, the national authorities may require you to leave.

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

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

Permanent residence

As a dependent family member, you have the right to permanent residence even if you don't work and need income support. You should enjoy the same rights, benefits and advantages as nationals.

Find out how to get a permanent residence document certifying your unconditional right to stay.

EU legislation

Need more information on rules in a specific country?

Need support from assistance services?

Get in touch with specialised assistance services

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