Confused on Freedom of Mobility within the EU

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Confused on Freedom of Mobility within the EU


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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10th July 2019, 10:24 PM
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Default Confused on Freedom of Mobility within the EU

Not sure if it's a misconception, but a widely held belief is that a citizen of an EU country can simply move to another EU country, register his residence there, send his kids to school there, etc. without needing to obtain a work or residency permit there.

Can anyone shed some light on whether this is how it really works?

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Old 11th July 2019, 02:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Alltimegreat1 View Post
Not sure if it's a misconception, but a widely held belief is that a citizen of an EU country can simply move to another EU country, register his residence there, send his kids to school there, etc. without needing to obtain a work or residency permit there.

Can anyone shed some light on whether this is how it really works?
Sort of. For a stay longer than 3 months you need to register (mostly via a Town Hall or Police Station).

As a worker, you'd need your EU passport and a confirmation of employment from your employer if you wanted to stay more than 3 months.

If you were self-employed, you'd need evidence of that.

If a student, you'd need proof of enrolment, and evidence of health insurance.

Similarly a pensioner would need health cover and proof you don't need income support from the new country. The methods of proving these thing can vary from one country to another.

Once you have registered, often you may get a document confirming your right to reside in the new country, generally a registration certificate, in some form, which should be valid indefinitely. Rules vary from one country to another about this, and some countries require that you are always able to produce it on demand with your passport (although theoretically they can fine you in some countries if you don't, they can't deport you).

The actual law (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-cont...l33152&from=EN) says:

EU citizens with a valid identity card or passport may:

Enter another EU country without requiring an exit or entry visa. Family members who are not nationals of a EU country are not required either an exit or entry visa if they possess a valid residence card.

Live in another EU country for up to 3 months without any conditions or formalities.

Live in another EU country for longer than 3 months subject to certain conditions, depending on their status in the host country. Those who are employed or self-employed do not need to meet any other conditions. Students and other people not working for payment, such as those in retirement, must have sufficient resources for themselves and their family, so as not to be a burden on the host country’s social assistance system, and comprehensive sickness insurance cover.

Have to register with the relevant authorities if living in the country longer than 3 months.

Their family members, if not EU nationals, are required a residence card valid for 5 years.

Be entitled to permanent residence if they have lived legally in another EU country for a continuous period of 5 years. This also applies to family members.
Have the right to be treated on an equal footing with nationals of the host country. However, host authorities are not obliged to grant benefits to EU citizens not working for payment during the first 3 months of their stay.

In addition

Family members – who are next of kin to the EU citizen – may, under certain conditions have the right to continue to live in the country concerned even if the next of kin themselves dies or leaves the country.


Different rules apply to different group of people - if you are a pensioner the requirements will be different than that for a student or a worker, etc.

You can read all about the requirements here: https://europa.eu/european-union/life/living-abroad_en


Last edited by kaju; 11th July 2019 at 02:20 AM.
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Old 11th July 2019, 06:33 AM
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In addition to what Kaju has explained, the situation can depend quite a bit on which country one moves to within the EU.

Germany is big on having people register in place (i.e. in the town where they are living). France, on the other hand, doesn't really have a form of "registration" as such - but to obtain various standard services or rights an EU national living in France must prove their "statut" (legalese for "what are you doing here?").

For example, in France, if an EU national moves to France and then wants to get a residence permit for their family members who do not have EU nationality, they must apply for the residence permit within 3 months of the non-EU person's arrival in France. The EU national in the family must validate the family tie, show residence and that they have a "statut" (basically working, studying or "inactif" which usually means retired with a pension). Oh, and the family must show that they have some form of medical coverage for their initial period of residence, whether from the EU family member's home country or through private insurance.

We've had people here on the forum who have had their requests for family members' residence permits turned down because the EU family member doesn't have a job or a pension, and thus no "statut."

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Old 11th July 2019, 08:55 AM
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US citizens can stay in EU countries for up to three months as well.

Would a US citizen be at any disadvantage compared to a German citizen when it comes to relocating to Poland (for example)?

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Old 11th July 2019, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Alltimegreat1 View Post
US citizens can stay in EU countries for up to three months as well.

Would a US citizen be at any disadvantage compared to a German citizen when it comes to relocating to Poland (for example)?
An EU citizen doesn't need to apply for a visa before moving to another EU country - though in most they are required to register, meeting certain requirements, if they wish to stay longer than 3 months. Some - notably Britain atm, don't require registration.

A US citizen would neeed to have a visa & the requirements are much tougher.

I don't know about Poland, but here in Spain the requirements if not working or in reciept of an EU state pension are an annual income of 1x IPREM plus health insurance.

IPREM is considered to be the minuimum needed to live without recourse to public funds, & atm is around 6,500€

A non-EU citizen needs 4xIPREM for a retirement or non-lucrative visa - so a minimum annual income from outside Spain of around 26,000€ - no work in Spain allowed on this visa - plus private healthcare.

An EU citizen is free to work in any other EU country without a visa. A non-EU citizen must have a visa before starting work, & isn't allowed to live in Spain while the visa is being processed.

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Last edited by xabiaxica; 11th July 2019 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 11th July 2019, 10:17 AM
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US citizens can stay in EU countries for up to three months as well.

Would a US citizen be at any disadvantage compared to a German citizen when it comes to relocating to Poland (for example)?
Yes. If you need to work, you'd need a visa and you'd need a work permit, or the equivalent.

A German citizen moving to Poland has the right to work in Poland (because the EU lets its citizens live in other EU countries freely), so as long as they have a job to go to by the time the 3 months is up, there shouldn't be a problem.

A non-EU citizen (including US citizens) generally will need evidence that they can get a work permit, or a written declaration from an employer that they will employ that person.

And mostly, unless you're especially highly skilled, you'll only be allowed to work if you're filling a job that can't be filled by an EU citizen.

Unless a non-EU citizen meets those conditions, generally as a worker you won't get a residence permit.

For Poland, you'd need to get a long-stay visa, and the Polish authorities would want evidence of health insurance and a work permit. If you can get that before you arrive, so much the better. If you arrive on the 90 day visa, to get the visa extended you'd need to apply for a temporary extension (12 months) to that visa within 30 days of arriving, and have either a work permit or a letter from a Polish employer confirming they can employ you as well as proof of sufficient income, a copy of the lease for your accommodation, and so on.

For students and retired people the biggest issue is that a non-EU citizen can prove they will not be a burden on the new country's welfare system - so these have to show that they have their own health insurance and enough of their own income, by the standards of that particular EU country's rules.

Even so, in some countries or localities it's not unknown to simply be refused a residence permit with little or no apparent reason - it can (albeit rarely) even depend on the local authorities' views on migrants in general, and you in particular - although it really shouldn't!

What's your situation? Do you have something in mind?


Last edited by kaju; 11th July 2019 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 11th July 2019, 10:32 AM
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US citizens can stay in EU countries for up to three months as well.

Would a US citizen be at any disadvantage compared to a German citizen when it comes to relocating to Poland (for example)?
One catch is that some countries allow you to change your visa/residence status while already in the country on a "tourist" visa (the 90 day thing) while others won't. For some countries (like France) you can only apply for a long stay (i.e. over 90 days) visa at a French consulate, which is by definition outside France. And you must enter France on or after the date your visa becomes valid.

As far as establishing yourself in Poland, you're basically in the situation where a German citizen has the "right" to move there without a visa, whereas a US citizen doesn't. If you're referring to trying to find a job in Poland, you won't have the right to work in Poland until you have found a job there and your employer does whatever is necessary to clear the way for getting you a work visa. (Varies by country.)

The other "disadvantage" would potentially be the linguistic one. If you're trying to live in a country, it's not particularly easy to get by on a day to day basis without a reasonable acquaintance with the local language.

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Old 11th July 2019, 11:09 AM
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Default Confused on Freedom of Mobility within the EU

There's a residency permit in Germany called "Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt-EU," which is some sort of permanent residency permit for the whole EU.

It supposedly basically puts non-EU-citizen holders of this permit on/near a level playing field with EU citizens in terms of moving to another EU country.

Seems like it wouldn't hurt to have one, but I'm not convinced it would be all that useful especially in light of the aforementioned restrictions on EU citizens.

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Old 11th July 2019, 11:33 AM
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There's a residency permit in Germany called "Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt-EU," which is some sort of permanent residency permit for the whole EU.dU citizens.
Check the specific requirements for that one. It sounds very much like one of the residence permits here in France - which requires you to have 5 years of residence in France on any combination of specific single-year residence permits. Once you have the 5 year permit, you can then relocate to another country within the EU and just need to apply for the appropriate residence permit in that country (i.e. without having to get a visa).

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Old 11th July 2019, 12:11 PM
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Yes, it sounds like the exact same permit.

I suppose it would be advisable to get one since I qualify.

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