other: Schengen

Countries and Member States that are part of Schengen:

Schengen visas: special arrangements for family members of EU citizens

The raw law is laid out in the Schengen Visa CodeRegulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (with free movement highlighting)  (or original source without highlighting)

The Schengen Handbook for the processing of visa applications – C(2010) 1620 final – European Commission decision of 19.3.2010 (with free movement highlighting) (or original source in English,  French and German without highlighting) is an easier to read document which describes how Schengen visas should be issued, which special sections on family members of EU/EEA citizens:

The major section of interest to family members of EU citizens is “PART III: SPECIFIC RULES RELATING TO APPLICANTS WHO ARE FAMILY MEMBERS OF EU25 CITIZENS OR SWISS CITIZENS” (Starts on the page numbered 86)

The right of free movement of EU citizens would not have any useful effect without accompanying measures guaranteeing that this right is also given to their families. Therefore the Directive extends the right to free movement to family members of EU citizens. Article 5(2), 2nd sub-paragraph of the Directive provides that “Member States shall grant [family members covered by the Directive] every facility to obtain the necessary visas.  Such visas must be issued free of charge as soon as possible and on the basis of an accelerated procedure.(page 86)

Repeatedly in the document, it lists requirements which applies for normal applicants, but then notes: “For the procedural safeguards in relation to family members of an EU or Swiss citizen, see Part III.”

No visa required for holders of a “Residence Card” for family members of an EEA citizen

  • Article 5(2) of the Directive provides that possession of a valid residence card referred to in Article 10 of the Directive exempts third country family members from the visa requirement.   Example: […] United Kingdom “Article 10″ residence card issued to the Moroccan spouse of a Belgian citizen.”

No fee is payable

  • No visa fee can be charged.” (Part III Section 3.1)
  • It is not possible to apply or accept an increased “fast track fee” if an accelerated handling of an application is requested.” (Section 4.4.1), though in all cases the visa for  family members of EU citizens must be issued “on the basis of an accelerated procedure“. (III page 86)
  • As family members should not pay any fee when submitting the application, they cannot be obliged to obtain an appointment via a premium call line or via an external provider whose services are charged to the applicant. Family members must be allowed to lodge their application directly at the consulate without any costs.”  (Part III Section 3.2)
  • “If an appointment system is nevertheless in place [for family members of EU citizens], separate call lines (at ordinary local tariff) to the consulate should be put at the disposal of family members respecting comparable standards to those of “premium lines”, i.e. the availability of such lines should be of standards comparable to those in place for other categories of applicants and an appointment must be allocated without delay.” (Part III Section 3.2)

Visas must be processed as soon as possible and on the basis of an accelerated procedure

  • “Member States shall grant third country family members of EU citizens falling under the Directive every facility to obtain the necessary visa. This notion must be interpreted as ensuring that Member States take all appropriate measures to ensure fulfilment of the obligations arising out of the right of free movement and afford to such visa applicants the best conditions to obtain the entry visa.” (Part III Section 3.3)
  • The visas must be issued as soon as possible and on the basis of an accelerated procedure and the procedures put in place by Member States (with or without outsourcing) must allow to distinguish between the rights of a third country national who is a family member of an EU citizen and other third country nationals. [Family members of EU citizens] must be treated more favourably than [other third country nationals]“. (Part III Section 3.4)
  • Processing times for a visa application lodged by a third-country national who is a family member of an EU citizen covered by the Directive going beyond 15 days should be exceptional and duly justified.”  (Part III Section 3.4)

Crossing Schengen Borders

General legal information from the EC about Schengen


  • dutchie  On October 4, 2011 at 12:45

    If I understand correctly, under this directive only if the EU member is living in a different EU country than that of his/her nationality does the free visa apply.
    If we live in Kenia for example, my spouse still needs to pay for the visa and does not get the accelerated visa process? I am saying this becuase we applied for the visa at the Dutch Embassy, and even though we said it should be free as I am a Dutch National, they responded to say its only free if we lived in a different EU country, but as we live in Kenya we have to pay….Is this correct?

    • EUmovement  On October 6, 2011 at 05:21

      If you go to any country OTHER than the Netherlands, than information on this sight applies to you. If you go to the Netherlands, then normal Dutch rules apply. You might want to go to Belgium or Germany instead…

  • Anonymous  On October 6, 2011 at 07:21

    You only get the visa free when you apply to a country other than your own. As you are dutch you come under dutch immigration law and hence pay. if you went to belgium then the schengen visa would be free.

  • EUmovement  On October 23, 2011 at 17:26

    Do you have a Residence Card for the family member of an EU citizen issued by Romania? In general you have a right of free movement only when you travel with your EU citizen spouse.

  • EUmovement  On October 24, 2011 at 18:40

    If you will be travelling alone, then they may be able to require this.

  • ajao adesina  On September 8, 2012 at 09:11

    I am a british citizen but my wife is nigerian and was refused a visa to czech republic on the base that she has not visited the uk before

  • Brigita  On February 7, 2013 at 14:34

    Hello, my husband is Greek,he was born i Germany and lived there his whole life. I am Albanian. Now we live together in Greece because he works here, i have the Residence Card of a family member of EU citizen and i would like to know if i can go to Germany to visit my mother in law alone, without my husband, because he can not move because of his job.

  • hilda  On October 8, 2014 at 17:47

    Hello, I’m Indonesian, I have a Romania resident card. me and my Husband (The EU citizen) want to move to Spain because he gets new job there. The question is, I Obligate to apply a Spain resident card or no?

    • EU free movement  On October 17, 2014 at 05:22

      Yes, when you move to another EU member state you can be required to get a Residence Card. But it should be simple to do so

  • Dan  On October 21, 2014 at 18:06

    I’m a Hungarian citizen, my wife is non EU (Ukrainian) citizen, she has has a residence card for just over a year now and we live in Hungary. If we were to move to the UK because of my job, would she need to apply for a British visa / permit?

  • Hue  On January 15, 2015 at 08:44

    i am a ghanaian citizen and wife is dutch, we intend on visiting belguim. what am i required to produce before being granted a visa

  • Tresi  On February 11, 2015 at 20:47

    Hi, I have my birth registered in portugal and would like to travel to portugal from india (since I am currently residing there) for getting my BI and portuguese passport done. I currently hold an Indian passport .What are the requirements to get a schegen visa to get to portugal since my birth is already registered in portugal. Please guide.

    • EU free movement  On February 14, 2015 at 05:03

      If you are Portuguese, you will find it easiest to simply get a passport from the embassy in india

  • Anonymous  On May 11, 2015 at 16:55

    I recently applied for a schengen visa for my wife (she is Thai). I am British, and unfortunately, we live in Saudi Arabia 🙂 Now, when we applied for a schengen visa we were not even told about the possibility of the visa being free, but today, my British friend who has a Filipino wife said that he doesn’t have to pay the visa fee for her to get a schengen visa to France. So, does this mean that of you are British and married to a foreign national and you want to obtain a schengen visa that the cost of the visa is 0? I read Dutchie’s comment at the beginning and I seem to be in a ‘similar’ position to him, but I am still slightly confused. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • EU free movement  On May 12, 2015 at 01:58

      You need to prove proof that you are married and that you are EU. The visa is free. Do NOT fill out the starred questions

  • Yohana Keleta  On May 23, 2015 at 20:30

    hello , i am a dutch citizen living in germany , and my wife is in kenya, how can i get a residence card for in order to exempt her from a visa ? Can she get a residence card in kenya ?

    • EU free movement  On May 28, 2015 at 12:49

      Are you working? If so she just needs to apply for a Schengen visa and leave the *started* questions blank. RC is only after she has arrived

  • Elizabeth D'Arcy  On June 30, 2015 at 11:25

    I am A Nigerian Citizen married to an Irish National. We lived in the UK for the last couple of years and while we were living there I got the Family member of an EU citizen residence card. But we have since relocated to Ireland where my husband if from. We are planning a holiday to Spain for a few days and I was wondering if I would still be able to use my EU residence card or would I need to apply for a schengen visa.


    • EU free movement  On July 11, 2015 at 05:00

      You should strongly consider getting a 4EUFam EU residence card from Irish govt. That is the equivalent of the EU law Residence Card

  • Rashmi Martins  On February 23, 2016 at 13:45

    Hi… My Husband is a Portuguese National. My daughter and I are Indian National. We already got a Free Shengen Visa to Visit him in France. He has a residence permit and work permit there. My daughter and I will be going along with him to UK to visit his sister. Do I get a free Visa for UK too. If yes what is the process. Do I need a residence Card or have to fill the EEA family permit?

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