European Comission guide to free movement


How well has the Directive been implemented?


  • Schengen Visa Rules and Border Entry for family of EU citizens
  • A number of people have reported problems with rude staff at the Spanish embassy in London not dealing properly and quickly with visas for family members of EU citizens.  Often the third country family members are from South America.  If you ever have any free movement problems which the embassy does not resolve to your satisfaction, please contact the EU’s Solvit



  • Sara Iglesias  On July 20, 2007 at 10:03

    The instructions on the Royal Decree 240/2007 are available at:


    Click to access Instruccion03-2007.pdf

  • mark johnson  On January 24, 2008 at 19:08

    my wife is hungarian i am jamaican should i apply for a visa to spain here in jamaica before going or i can get one at the border for 20 day honeymoon visit

  • eumovement  On January 24, 2008 at 21:39

    You are required to get a Schengen visa. It should be issued at no cost to you by the embassy. You will need to submit your passport, that of your wife, and your marriage certificate.

  • Wild  On March 8, 2008 at 17:23

    my wife is non-eu cuban national, i am eu, polish national. She hold’s schengen visa issued by my country, we would like to live together in Spain, can we set up together in Spain and ask for residency card for her?

  • Sara Iglesias  On July 2, 2008 at 13:37

    Direct application of chapter III of the Directive 2003/109/CE (new procedure for admitting long-term residents coming from other MS)
    Administrative provisions available (in Spanish) at

    Click to access INST_DGI-04-2008.pdf

  • Sara Iglesias  On July 2, 2008 at 13:44

    response to Wild.
    Of course you can come with your wife to Spain. Here you are a link where you can find an example of the formular and the requirements to be fulfilled (in Spanish).

    Click to access 48.pdf

  • Redouane  On September 17, 2008 at 12:23

    I’m a British citizen and will be travelling to Spain with my wife. She holds a Moroccan passport and we have proof that we are married and she is resident in the UK.

    According to this EU site link, she doesn’t need a Visa:

    Can you please confirm if my wife (holding Moroccan passport) will require a visa to Spain if she is travelling with me (the husband) holding British passport?

    Many thanks,


  • Darko  On December 8, 2008 at 18:33

    Can someone please tell me whether directive 2003/109 is recognized by Spain?
    My situation is: I am non-EU national living with permanent residency in EU Member State (Bulgaria, not in Schengen yet). As far as I understand, directive 109 would allow me on the grounds of my PR in Bulgaria to apply for temporary residency for Spain and move there. But according to some websites Spain (among other countries) delays in implementing this directive. Hoping that I would get first hand information I even contacted Spanish law company and they said my PR in Bulgaria can not be used to get Spanish residency (even temporary). Did I simply chose a bad lawyer to ask? Or they are right?

    I would be happy even with a 1yr temporary residency permit (or initial residency permit or whatever it is called), especially if that allows me to look for work.

    On a similar question about directive 109, does it allow me to visit Spain up to 3 months without any additional visa? Article 14 from the directive talks only about stay longer than 3 months without mentioning for less than that. Some understandings of the directive (and of recent EU laws) claim that you can always visit up to the 3 month period only with the PR card from Bulgaria. The visa section of the Spanish Embassy in Sofia claims that whether you need a visa depends only on where your passport is from and does not give any exceptions (for example for people living in Bulgaria with PR).

    Thanks very much in advance for any help.

  • Anonymous  On February 1, 2009 at 20:53

    Dear Sir/Maddam I am a student in coventry university, I am going field trip to spain on 16 february for 5day. I hold Travel document issued in UK (Certificate of Identity) number N00123353 do I need to apply a visa to go to spain as other students in the group is British citizen.

  • Katya  On February 11, 2009 at 23:53

    Dear Sir\Madam
    I am a ukrainian national, married to an Irish national. My husband is a Gibraltar resident, I am currently awaiting for a Gib residence card.
    I have an irish multivisa so I can go to Ireland with my husband when he goes there.
    The big problem is that being in Gib, we often go to Spain, before i was holding a spanish student card so i had no problem with that but now i have to apply for a spanish schengen. There is no spanish diplomatic mission in Gib and there is nowhere to apply for this visa. I will have to send application to the embassy in London which wouldnt be a problem if they could do it fast and wouldnt ask for an original of my husbands passport. Due to his work he travells a lot and can not give away his passport for more than a few days. When you apply for a visa (esp not in person) you never know when you gonna have your docs back.
    So i wrote an email to the spanish embassy in Dublin, asking if they could process my application (as my husband is Irish) and explained to them that i can not go to the UK to apply for it. They answered that they couldnt because only irish residents can apply there.
    So we wrote a complaint to SOLVIT and here how SOLVIT “helped” us:

    “We have made enquiries regarding your case.

    The Irish SOLVIT Centre understands that if your wife wishes to apply for a visa from the Spanish embassy in Dublin, she will have to show residency here.
    Please find link below to the Spanish embassy’s website.

    Otherwise, she could write to the Spanish Foreign Ministry for guidance as to where she can apply for the visa to enter Spain given that she lives in Gibraltar.

    We could also suggest that she may wish to apply for a visa from Gibraltar to the UK, and then try to obtain a visa from the Spanish embassy there.
    She could also apply for a visa from the French embassy in Dublin. This may enable her to travel to Spain.

    With reference to your enquiry, as there doesnt appear to be a breach of EU internal market law in this case, I regret to inform you that SOLVIT cannot be of assistance to you in this regard.


    Why do we have to spend time and money going to UK to get this visa?
    Is there anything we can do about it?
    Isnt it wrong that SOLVIT says that we can apply for a French visa even if we have no intention to go to France? Does the fact that the Franch embassy in Dublin is willing to process my visa mean that the Spanish embassy also has to do it?
    I will appreciate any help or opinions.
    Best regards

  • Amie  On March 17, 2009 at 07:17


    I am an Australian citizen who has a defacto Spanish Partner, we have lived together for over a year in England and Spain. My partner has been diagnosed with cancer and I have had to return home to Australia due to finishing off 3 months Shengen tourist visa in Spain and finshing of my England visa just after.
    Australian law has a defacto or fiance visas or resedency allowances however I have noticed that Spain does not and due to his illness he is undergoing intense treatment in Spain and cannot travel here and is not in a position that we can currently get married for me to aquire a resedencia de familiar.

    Can I use this law to allow me to stay in Spain longer than the 3 month limit or does anyone know of another way I can stay in the country without having to come back to Australia again to acquire work or student visas? (I do not have the money to study and no job offer to work as yet)

    Any help for information would much be appreciated as I am very eger to get back and stay in Spain until my partner is well enough to travel to Australia. This is going to be another year.


  • Marcela  On March 24, 2009 at 12:15

    My daughter is an Irish citizen who is going to Spain for few days. I am a citizen of Moldova , but resident in Ireland. Do I need a visa to travel to Spain with my daughter?

    • eumovement  On March 24, 2009 at 20:26

      Difficult to say, but I would guess you do. What visa or residence card do you have from Ireland? Are you dependent on your daughter for money, or do you live with her?

  • Marcela  On March 28, 2009 at 17:59

    I live with my daughter ,as she is only 7 years of age. I was granted a permission to remain in the State based on my parentage of an Irish citizen child. I was issued a certificate of registraton(green card) with stamp No:4.

    Thank you

  • Nuria  On April 15, 2009 at 06:21

    I’m spanish married to an australian for 5 years.
    we are going to Spain for a while, so, we got a one way ticket because we don’t know when we will come back to Australia.

    Is that going to be a problem to let him in Spain?? we have got enough fund s to buy a return ticket, but just didn’t know when.

    Does he need to apply for a visa in Spain??

    I know when we’ll get there he has to apply for the Foreign ID to work, and he will get it in one month, but after that can he go anywhere in Europe and work aswell?? for example, we want to go to UK for a bit.


  • Alex  On April 21, 2009 at 11:58

    hi there, I’m holding a GNIB card stamp 4 EU Fam. do i need a spanish visa to travelling in Tenerife for a 1 week holiday with with my supose, she is Latvian.

  • chris  On June 30, 2009 at 20:36

    hi I’ve got a certificate of identity issued in the Uk and I would like to travel around the EU with my girlfriend born in the EU, is that possible. My grandfather was also German but moved to Zimbabwe and sadly passed away there, is there any possibility that i may be German and granted German citizenship, although Im being naturalised as British in December?

  • Anonymous  On August 27, 2009 at 10:54

    Hi, i am algerian and have been married for 5 years to my AUSTRIAN wife.we both live in england where i hold a current residence permit as a spouse of an EU.I want to visit Spain on my own, but according to spanish Law under Real decreto 240/2007,all British residence Card Holders do not need a visa to enter Spain.but will i be stop at hethrow when leaving the UK ?WHAT should i do at this stage? please advise!

  • nabil Khan  On September 12, 2009 at 20:11

    I am about to marry my wife who has a Morroccan passport.

    I am a British national. I also hold Spanish residentia. How soon can she join me in Spain. Also is ther a problem if I wish her to accompany me to live in UK permanently.

    Thanks Nabil

    • eumovement  On September 30, 2009 at 16:00

      If you are working in Spain and have British citizenship, then she can come immediately to live with you in Spain. When you move back to the UK, she can move back to the UK under EU laws (fast, no charge).

  • samy  On October 14, 2009 at 13:39

    hi , could please help me : i m british citizen , live and work in uk . my wife is moroccan , we do have a certificate of recognize marriage by the british consulat in morocco,we have two kids ,who are british ,now my wife and i used to live in spain before ,she hold spanish resident card. i want them to join me here in uk .last year they come to visit me but the british autorities only allowed my kids but not my wife , we were devastated. she is the spouse of british national which is me , her tow kids , my kids are british, can y please help me , i m living a part thank u very kind

  • aanthonrod  On October 24, 2009 at 11:24

    I hold a UK passport and intend to marry an Algerian lady, with the marriage taking place in London. She will entry the UK using a Marriage Visitor Entry Visa.
    After the marriage we intend to live in Spain where I have formal residence status, have a home, and pay tax and social security.
    After the marriage, will she need a visa to return with me to Spain and, if so, can she obtain it in the Spanish Embassy in London, and with what documentation?
    Thank you.

    • eumovement  On October 26, 2009 at 17:24

      She will need a Schengen visa. You will need to present the two passports and your marriage certificate. No fee is required.

  • jim00705  On October 29, 2009 at 10:57

    I am uk national married in vietnam 4 years to vietnamese natinal. We want to live in spain the spanish consul in vietnam say i must have a residence card,this i dont have.I have read directive 2004 etc about free movement of none eu spouse but they dont care . As we want to go together if she applies for a schengen visa as a tourist showing return ticket etc , can she apply for residence in spain ? I read in the spanish decree this can be refused as entry was made on the wrong visa.But under free movement of eu citizens and none eu spouse i dont see how it can once you are there.I will apply as self sufficient can my wife apply as my dependent ? Can anyone give me a firm reply that once we are in spain using this method she wont have a big problem.

    • eumovement  On October 29, 2009 at 13:35

      I think nobody can give you a firm reply. It just does not exist. But I suspect you will have no problems once in Spain. So long as you can find a job (any legit job), you can immediately apply for a Residence Card for your wife.

      If you have problems, contact

  • jim00705  On October 29, 2009 at 17:46

    Thanks for your quick reply, i am not looking for work as iam 55 is savings of £155k not sufficient [ not to be a burdon on the state] if you rent a apartmentor buy a mobile home to live in. Are you saying if i dont find work we cant get a residents card ?

    • eumovement  On October 29, 2009 at 19:31

      If you are not working, then you have to be “self sufficient” and have health insurance. No fixed level is set for that, but your savings are more than sufficient. Your partner can apply for a Residence Card.

      If you are British and want to move back to the UK based on EU law, then you must have been working in another EU member state prior to moving to the UK. And you will need to intend to work in the UK.

  • irelandsreversediscrimination  On April 17, 2010 at 02:46

    Click to access spain_compliance_study_en.pdf

    Conformity Study for 2004/38/EC

  • Khalid Elias  On August 20, 2010 at 07:25

    I am a Tanzania Citizen married to British National and have residing in the UK for last 42 years. Do I need a Visa for Spain both if travel together or on my own

  • George  On October 20, 2010 at 13:10

    Just an update to my previous post, I applied for a visa to Spain and I already had a Romanian residency because am married to a Romanian neverthless they didn’t ask for the visa just the residency card. I’ve done the same for Greece in which they just showed the residency card . So basically if you have a residency card in the EU you don’t need a visa.

  • Karima  On November 14, 2010 at 17:41

    my daughter has a Moroccan fiance, she is a spanish resident with british passport, as am I,what papers do they need 1. to marry in Morocco. marry in Spain.3. what papers does he need to be in Spain 4.what restrictions on travel are there, if any.
    many thanks for any advice.

    • eumovement  On November 18, 2010 at 16:22

      Is your daughter working in Spain? Is her fiance presently in Spain?

  • Hannah  On January 25, 2011 at 22:15

    Hi. My partner is Argentinian and is currently living and working in Spain (for 9 yrs now) and has a spanish residence card which is renewed every 5 years. We met whilst I was living in Spain but due to personal circumstances in UK I returned to UK with my children (the 10 month old baby is his). Our daughter was born in Spain and we possess a “Libre de Familia” for her birth. He travels to UK to see us every 2 weeks but every time he goes through border control is is worrying that they might not let him in. He owns a business in Spain employing people and pays all his taxes there. We are considering getting married but obviously we do not want him to give up his business in Spain to become a permanent resident in UK we just want an easier freedom of movement within Europe. He is just applying for his Spanish passport (which can take up to 2 yrs to complete) under the grounds that his grandparents are from Spain and his father has dual passports Argentine/Spanish but this is a lengthy process. Does anyone know what we can do to make things easier for him to enter UK to visit me, my son, and our daughter? If we do marry would it be easier in Spain or UK? Thanks…. Hannah

    • eumovement  On April 26, 2011 at 17:42

      Does he have a Residence Card as a family member of an EU citizen (i.e. you)? If so, you need to be careful about how long you are away from Spain. Are you in the UK for a short time, or forever?

  • Anonymous  On October 23, 2011 at 18:22

    I am English, with a canadian wife and child. I have a job and live in spain, and have all the correct documentation: Certificate of registration, NIE, social security number, Empadronoment. I want my spouse and daughter to stay here with me, but I understand that to get the “RESIDENCE PERMIT FOR RELATIVES OF EU NATIONALS”, we have to have Apostilled copies of wedding certificates, and these cannot be thee months old. We’ve looked into the process and it will take at least 3 to 4 months to do that part alone. The problem is that, as I understand it my non-wife can only be with me for 3 months without her residence permit. Is there anyway around this .

    • EUmovement  On October 24, 2011 at 18:41

      Your wife has a right to be there with you, assuming you are working or otherwise exercising treaty rights. Just apply for the Residence Card. If you have problems, then ask Solvit ( ) for help.

      In any case, so long as you are married and you are working, then your wife is in no way illegal there.

  • Muz  On June 11, 2012 at 15:01

    Good day
    I was wandering if someone can help me.
    I just got back from holiday in Spain & italy.
    Not my first time in europe i was in Malaga last year in May & was also in Barcelona this past bank holiday in May.
    I travelled with my EU partner as I have a resident card, issued here in England about 2 years ago.I have never had a problem entering or leaving Spain.
    Im from South Africa & she is Italian.
    This past trip I was stamp in Sicily and then after a week we flew to Malaga.
    On our exit we were stopped by border staff cos they said that I needed a Schegan Visa to be in Spain.I told them im travelling with my partner and they asked me if we were married? I said no, we are unmarried partners…then he asked for proof to show him, that we were together and i said well that resident card is the proof…but then i remembered I had a bill for our council tax, as I did a payment online while we were away.I gave him the document.They took our passports, he called his superiors and he typed something in the system…At this point out flight was boarding.
    I said to him, can you please explain I was in malaga last summer & i was in Barcelona this spring and I have been stamped but nobody has ever asked me these questions and if there was a problem, how come nobody has ever mentioned anything to me….he said the rules could have changed from last year, but in that case, how can the airlines let me board and how come upon arriving italy i didnt have this problem..
    His co-worker also made it clear I needed Schegan, but once again my argument was, look I have arrived twice in Spain and I have never had this problem.
    On my first trip to Spain, I carried all my directive documents in spain that i printed out on the net, but I realised that I never have a problem so I didnt bother to cary them anymore…we just made the flight, but he said I might be stopped if I decide to come to spain again, unless i have a schegan.We love going to Spain cos the weather and planning a trip in August, but I have been back almost a week and this situation still bothers me.I went on the Spanish visa embassy website and it clearly states that Resident Card holders can travel with their partners.
    Any advice on what to do with this situation?

  • Anonymous  On November 27, 2012 at 22:09

    Spain’s transposition of the directive gives the authorities 3 months in which to issue a residence card: (see Artículo 8.4)

  • Choudry Akhtar Shampur  On November 4, 2014 at 19:31

    i am living in spain inlegly.
    i got married to a belgium national girl in spain
    now i have marriage book..
    how i can get spinsh card now or belg card.
    because i don,t want to go pakistan for visa

    • EU free movement  On November 7, 2014 at 11:16

      If the EU citizen is working then you definitely do not need to leave Spain. Just apply for a Residence Card

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