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Polish citizenship guide


Mobility and residence rights in EU Member States

A European Union citizen holds the right to move and reside freely within the territory of all European Union Member States. The same right extends to designated family members of an EU citizen, even though they do not hold EU citizenship, provided they accompany the EU citizen. Therefore, the residential rights of an EU citizen extend to their family members who share accommodation with the EU citizen or move with that purpose. The term family member is in that case defined as follows:

  • spouse – a person joined with an EU citizen by a valid marital bond,
  • partner – a person with whom the EU citizen entered a registered same-sex partnership in accordance with the legislation of one of the EU Member States, providing the accepting state (the one which the citizen and their partner wish to exercise the right to reside in) treat such a registered partnership as equivalent to a marriage. Presently there is no possibility to enter a partnership as defined above in Poland; therefore a Polish citizen who would wish to execute this entitlement would have to enter such partnership in one of the EU states where it is possible (e.g. Sweden, Great Britain). Then, the partner sharing accommodation with the EU citizen would have the right to reside in one of the Member States that treat a registered same-sex partnership as equivalent to a marriage. For example, having entered a partnership in Sweden, it would be possible to exercise the right to reside with the EU citizen by their partner in Great Britain,
  • children and grandchildren of a EU citizen, or their spouse, or partner who are less than 21 years of age, or are supported by them; this category includes for example the children of the EU citizen’s spouse from a previous marriage. It is not assessed whether the dependent person could support him/herself or not; it is crucial whether or not he/she is really supported by the EU citizen, their spouse or partner,
  • parents and grandparents of a EU citizen, their spouse or partner as long as they are supported by them.

Other family members (for example siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins) do not automatically exercise the right to move and reside with a EU citizen in all EU states. Yet Member States are obliged to facilitate their entrance and residence provided that in their country of origin they are supported by the EU citizen, or live in the same household, or require direct care from the EU citizen due to a serious medical condition. The same regulations apply to a person who remains in a permanent relationship with the EU citizen, with the relationship being neither a marriage nor a registered same-sex partnership. Yet such persons may be required to prove the permanence of the non-formal relationship. A Union state can refuse such person the right to enter their territory, but each refusal has to be thoroughly justified based on the circumstances of every individual case.

An EU citizen and their family members listed above have the right to enter a Member State for the purpose of moving to another Union Member State.

A European Union Member State is obliged to allow a EU citizen with a valid passport or ID to enter their territory, while their family members who are not EU citizens have to have a valid passport.

The obligation to have an entry visa may apply to those family members only who do not hold EU citizenship and are the citizens of one of the countries listed in Directive 539/2001 (for example: Russia or Ukraine). The visas are issued free of charge and summarily. Persons holding a residence permit are exempt from the obligation to have a visa. If an EU citizen or their family member does not have the necessary documents, a Member State, prior to expelling him/her from its territory, is obliged to facilitate the obtaining of the documents, for example to designate a reasonable deadline for their delivery or issuance, or to facilitate confirmation of the right of residence in some other way.