LUXEMBOURG (Alliance News) – An EU national who has citizenship in a second EU member state can acquire the right of residency for a non-EU family member under EU laws instead of having to go through domestic immigration procedures, the EU’s top court ruled on Tuesday.
The ruling strengthens the rights of EU citizens to bring non-EU family members into the bloc. The landmark case, which was referred to the European Court of Justice by a British court, could also have implications for citizens’ rights after Britain’s exit from the EU.
The case concerns a Spanish woman who, exercising her right to free movement, moved to Britain and later took on British citizenship.
After marrying an Algerian national, she applied for a residency permit for her husband in Britain under EU law, which allows EU nationals to gain residency for non-EU family members in any EU member state.
Britain rejected the application, saying that, as a British citizen subject to the country’s own rules for non-EU citizens, the woman forfeited the right for her non-EU husband to claim residency under EU law.
In its ruling, the European Court of Justice upheld that EU law had “ceased to govern” the woman’s residence in Britain because of her British citizenship.
The court said that the woman should be able to benefit from the EU rights governing free movement, and therefore, her non-EU husband should be able to get residency under similar conditions as if the woman were an EU citizen merely residing in Britain.