To whom does EU freedom of movement law apply?

It can be difficult to tell when EU freedom of movement law applies. This is a first attempt at making it easier to understand.  Comments below if any of this is unclear…

You are a citizen of an EU member state and have never lived/worked in a different member state

  • EU free movement law is not relevant for a family member’s entry into your country of citizenship.  National law applies, and the rules will vary significantly depending on which member state it is.   (There are exceptions: In certain circumstances you may benefit from EU law without having resided in another EU country, for example by providing services in another EU country without residing there.  And the parents of EU citizen children have some rights to have their parents live with them)
  • EU free movement law does apply for any vacation or move to another EU/EEA member state with your family members

You are a citizen of an EU member state and are presently living/working in a different member state

  • EU free movement law governs your rights (and those of your family) in your host member state, as well as for any vacation or move to another member state
  • If you return to your home country of citizenship, you can choose to either use your country’s national immigration law or the generally simpler/easier/cheaper EU free movement law for the entry of your family members.  See information about Singh for more details

You are a citizen of an EU member state and are presently living outside the EU

  • EU free movement law governs your rights (and those of your family) to move to any other EU/EEA host member state but not the country of your citizenship
  • If you return directly to your home country of citizenship, you will likely have to use your country’s national immigration law, unless you and your family have previously been living/working in a different EU/EEA member state
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