What must an EU citizen be doing in order to be legally resident in a host member state?
|Period in host member state||Any Conditions or Requirements on EU citizen?||Notes|
|Before initial entry||None!||EU citizen does not need to be in a particular member state or even in the EU.
They do not need to have work arranged in the host member state.
|Entry to 3 months||None!
EU citizen is automatically legally resident in the host member state.
|EU citizen is automatically resident in all cases, whether they are there on holiday, looking for work, working, or anything else.|
|3 months to 5 years||Some requirements.
EU citizen is normally required to be working, a jobseeker, self sufficient, self employed, a student, or otherwise exercising EU “treaty rights”. (The UKBA term for this is a “qualified person”).
Special rules apply if the EU citizen has been injured while working, or is involuntarily unemployed.
Citizens of Romania and Bulgaria may have temporary work restrictions in some member states.
If so, EU citizen is legally resident in the host member state.
|“Continuity of residence shall not be affected by temporary absences not exceeding a total of six months a year, or by absences of a longer duration for compulsory military service, or by one absence of a maximum of 12 consecutive months for important reasons such as pregnancy and childbirth, serious illness, study or vocational training, or a posting in another Member State or a third country.” (Directive 2004/38/EC)|
|More than 5 years||None!
EU citizen automatically has Permanent Residence (PR) after 5 years of legal residence in the host member state.
|Permanent Residence (PR) is only ever lost with an absence from the host member state of more than 2 consecutive years.
Somebody with PR is not required to be working, or have savings.
A “PR Card” simply confirms the already-existing Permanent Residence.
Free movement rights can only be curtailed on the exceptional grounds of public health, national security and public policy. This must be proportionate, very well grounded, can only be done in clearly proscribed situations, and there is a full right of appeal. For most people this is a total non-issue. (For reference, Germany refuses entry to less than 10 EU citizens per year on these grounds).
It is worth noting that the chart applies to both:
- An EU/EEA citizen who moves to a host member state different than the member state of which they are a citizen (e.g. A German citizen moving to France)
- An EU/EEA citizen who has been working or self-employed in a host member state, and who now wishes to return to their country of citizenship (e.g. A British citizen who has been working in Italy and now wants to return to the UK). In such a case, the non-EU family is allowed to use EU free movement law for entry (ECJ case of Singh). Once safely back in their home member state, the “EU citizen” is not required to work during the initial 5 years (ECJ ref)