If you are an EU citizen moving 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 family members other than your spouse and children can stay with you as dependants.
However, if you are an EU citizen and have never lived in another EU country only national rules will apply.
Staying abroad up to 3 months
If they are EU nationals, your relatives will only need a valid national identity card or passport.
If they are not EU nationals, they will need a valid passport and sometimes an entry visa. This depends on which country they are from.
Read more about entry visa requirements and exemptions.
Before you leave, check with the consulate of the country you are moving to whether your non-EU family members will require an entry visa, and if so how long it will take to obtain it.
Have a national ID document readily available
In many EU countries, you need to carry a national 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.
Check if you have to carry an ID or passport at all times in your host country:
Report your presence
Some EU countries require you to report your presence to the relevant authorities within a reasonable period of time after arrival. They may impose a penalty, such as a fine, if you fail to do so.
Staying abroad for more than 3 months
Your family members may stay with you for more than 3 months as your dependants.
Relatives may stay if they are:
- seriously ill and need you to take care of them personally, or
- economically dependent on you
Partners may stay if they are in a long-term relationship with you.
The authorities in your host country will take a decision on a case-by-case basis, taking into account your personal circumstances and applicable local conditions.
EU law guarantees that your partner or dependent relatives:
- will have their application to live with you in your new country assessed by the authorities of that country
- will receive a written decision as soon as possible
- can appeal if their application is rejected. Rejections must state the grounds for rejection, and the implications for your partner or relatives, and specify how they can appeal and by when.
If you are a worker
If you are working in another EU country, as an employee, self-employed or on a posting, the authorities will certainly take this into account when deciding whether your partners/relatives can stay.
If you are a pensioner or a student
If you are a pensioner or a student, you will have to prove that you have for yourself and your whole family:
- sufficient income to live without income support
- comprehensive health insurance in your host country
National authorities may not require the income to be above the level that would make your family qualify for basic income support in that country.
Your relatives or partner should apply for a registration certificate or a residence card with the authorities (often the town hall or local police station) within 3 months of arriving.
- Get a registration certificate for your EU family members
- Get a residence card for your non-EU family members
Request to leave and deportation
Your relatives 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.
Your relatives and partner can acquire the automatic right to permanent residence if they have lived legally in the host country for a continuous period of at least 5 years.
This means that they can stay as long as they want, even if they don't work and need income support. They should enjoy the same rights, benefits and advantages as nationals of that country.
They can lose their right to permanent residence if they live outside the country for more than 2 consecutive years.
Find out more about:
- Permanent residence documents for EU nationals
- Permanent residence documents for non-EU family members
If you were working or self-employed in another EU country and died before acquiring permanent residence there, your relatives or partner who were also living with you as family members may 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.