What are my rights to enter and live in another country?

Do I need a Visa to enter another country?

Many people move or travel to other countries on a regular basis, When is a visa required? The state in which a person intends to enter cannot demand that the person has a visa to do so or any equivalent form from anyone who is a European Union National.

A European Union national is a member of a country which is affiliated to the European Union. There are 27 countries currently part of the European Union and includes countries such as the United Kingdom, Greece, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and Ireland.

The country of entry can demand such documentation from a non-union member and also family members of the person who has entered the country as a European union national.

The rights of a person moving from EU state to EU state

A person that wishes to move from one EU country to another has the right to enter another EU country, travel through that country and also reside there for a period of up to three months without the need for any form of permission.

The country upon which a person enters and now wishes to leave is obliged to allow the national and his family to leave the country freely, whenever they decided to do so, provided they have a valid passport and an exit visa if they are a national of the country they wish to leave.

A person has the right to be notified of any decision to expel or refuse their entry into the country and must also state the minimum period given to the person to leave the country which is not to be less than a term of one month under any circumstances.

Protection for people moving from one EU country to another

The following protections are offered to a citizen moving to another EU State:

  • The hosting member state is obliged to give a person moving to the country, the same assistance in relation to finding employment as they would a national of their own country.

  • The law prohibits any discrimination in any form on the grounds of a person’s nationality.

  • A person entering to reside in another member state has the right of equality in social advantages and tax advantages.

  • When a person works in another European Union country they are entitle to enjoy all the rights that a national worker would be entitled to.

The Rights of family members to enter, reside and leave the country they family member has already entered

To establish who is entitled to the forthcoming protection it will first need to be established who falls within the category of ‘family’. The term family is so broad it can cover a vast majority of relationships.

  • For the purpose of this area of law ‘Family’ includes spouse, registered partners, descendants and ascendants.

  • If the partner status is registered they will then have a status equal to that of a spouse.

  • Considering the descendants and ascendants, these will be of the spouse and partner as well as the person on question.

  • Members of the family may be of any nationality and includes Children under the age of 21years old and also children over the age of 21years old providing they are dependent on the worker.

  • Where a couple are cohabitants and there is no legal recognition of their relationship, the courts will have the discretion upon whether or not to class the partner as a family member for the purpose of this law.

  • The rights of a spouse are not dependant on whether or not the married couple reside together.

Education of family members

Any children of a member state national shall be admitted to the general education system, apprenticeship scheme and/or vocational training courses under the same conditions as that of the countries nationals themselves. 

Third country nationals

Where a national from a third country outside the European Union enters a EU country, whether legally or as an illegal immigrant are not subject to EU law unless they are specifically catered for in some way such as being a family member of a EU national. Where a person enters a country who is not an EU national the law regarding immigration applies.

The right to remain in another EU country

Following a divorce or annulment of marriage or the termination of a partnership or relationship shall not affect the right of residence of a Union member’s family whether or not they are EU nationals or third country citizens.

Where a person has legally lived in a EU member state for a continuous period of 5years or more they will have the right to automatic residency in that particular country. This will not be affected by temporary periods of absence from the country during the five year period as long as the absence does not exceed 6 months or 12 months if the reason for leaving is pregnancy, illness or study.

Free movement of Lawyers

Where lawyers are providing a service during judicial proceedings, they are required to observe both sets of professional conduct outlines both in the member state they originate from and the state in which they are working.

When can a state restrict entry?

Member states are allowed to restrict entry on the grounds of public policy, security or health.

Where a state decides to restrict the entry of another person on the basis of public policy and the case goes to court, judges will have to interpret public policy very strictly so that this restriction is not abused.