What does the EU citizen need to do?

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:

  1. 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)
  2. 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)
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  • Graham  On September 22, 2011 at 09:15

    Thank you for publishing this table. It is very helpful and clear.

    Any chance of getting an equivalent table for Non-EU family members of an EU citizen?

  • Anonymous  On October 20, 2011 at 16:37

    Thank you for the above table. I am trying to understand to satisfy my own curiosity, after the 3 month point, when/who/under what circumstances would ever be requested that a EU citizen provide proof of employment or job search or other wise “exercising treaty rights” ?

    • EUmovement  On October 20, 2011 at 22:07

      The EU citizen may be required to register with the host nation and show that they are exercising treaty rights. They can also be required to show it if they have been there more than 3 months and a family member is applying for a visa or a Residence Card. And finally they can be required to show that they were exercising treaty rights when they apply for permanent residence. I think that is it.

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