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EU citizens, citizens of the European Economic Area or Switzerland

EU citizens, citizens of the European Economic Area or Switzerland

As an EU citizen, a citizen of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland you are entitled to Free movement. This enables citizens of these countries to travel and work anywhere within the European Union. This same right also applies to their family members, regardless of whether or not they are EU citizens.

The right of free movement differ from those applicable for citizens of third-party country, i. e. countries not belonging to the European Union.

What does »Free movement« mean?

Free movement is the basic right to to move freely and sojourn anywhere within the EU and the right to work under the same conditions like domestic workers.

Citizens entitled to free movement thus have the right to:

  • seek for a job in another EU-country,

    If you want to seek for a job in another country, you will find useful information on job opportunities and living and working conditions on the EURES – European Employment Services.
  • work or be self-employed there without needing a work permit,
  • reside for that purpose in another EU country,
  • stay there even after employment has finished,
  • enjoy equal treatment with nationals in access to employment, working conditions and all other social and tax advantages.

    Who will be affected?

    • EU citizen – citizen of an European Union member state: (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden)
    • citizen of an state of the European Economic Area (EEA-state) - Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein:
      (Although these countries are not members of the EU, their nationals can work in the EU on the same footing as EU nationals, since they belong to the European Economic Area.) and
    • citizen of Switzerland
      (Under the EU-Switzerland agreement on the free movement of persons, Swiss nationals are free to livend work in the EU.)

    What are the conditions?

    EU citizens can reside in another EU country for up to three months without any conditions other than the requirement to hold a valid identity card or passport.

    To reside in another EU country for more than three months, EU citizens are required to meet certain conditions depending on their status (i.e. worker, student, etc.).
    Free movement applies to:

    • Jobseekers, Employees and Vocational School Students,
    • Self-empoyed persons settled in Germany,
    • Service providers,
    • Service recipients,
    • unemployed EU citizens (such as pensioners, students and other), if they have sufficient health insurance and means of subsistence,
    • Familiy members (regardless of whether or not they are EU citizens) if they have sufficient health insurance and resources for themselves and their families for the duration of their stay, without needing to call on social benefits and
    • EU citizens with permanent residence status and their family members.

    How to prove your entitlement to free movement?

    The EU citizen status certification (Freizügigkeitsbescheinigung) stopped being issued on 29 January 2013 and is no longer required.

    In order to exercise rights or to take care of administrative formalities certification of free movement is not necessary. If you are asked to provide certification of free movement by the immigration office, you can refer to the following information sheet.

    NOTE FOR SWISS CITIZENS:

    Swiss citizens can receive a CH Residence Permit as proof of their residence eligibility. The immigration office at the place of residence is responsible. If you live in Chemnitz, Dresden or Leipzig, this is the city council, otherwise the district office.

      Who has to agree?

      In Germany, you have to register at your place of residence. Please refer to the registration office of your municipality to do so.

      A specific obligation to register for EU-member-state citizens does not exist. No work permit is required to start employment.

      Since 1 January 2014, Bulgarian and Romanian employees no longer require an EU work permit in order to take up employment in Germany. They are therefore entitled to free, unrestricted access to the German job market.

      NOTE FOR CROATIAN CITIZENS:

      Since 1 July 2015 Croatian workers have been allowed to work in Germany without any restrictions. Furthermore, Croatian companies may send their employees to Germany.

        Which documents are required?

        In general, entitlement to free movement is assumed and you only need a valid ID and proof of registration.

        The competent immigration office may ask to prove the requirements for free movement. To do so, you need the following documents:

        • proof of a specific joboffer or employment contract,
        • for self-employed persons: trade licence or proof of self-employment,
        • for unemployed persons: proof of health insurance and proof of sufficient means of subsistence,
        • for students: matriculation certificate, proof of health insurance and proof of sufficient means of subsistence.

        Who is entitled to free movement as a family member?

        Family members are entitled to free movement and have an unrestriced access to the labour market, regardless of whether or not they are EU citizens.

        Family members are:

        • Spouses and registered partner (in the case of immigration of a partner of the same sex, this must be a »registered partnership« in the sense of the German Civil Partnership Act or a partnership that is staterecognised according to foreign law.),

        • Relatives (in descending order) of EU citizens entitled to free movement or their spouses, who are under 21 years of age

        • Relatives (in ascending and descending order) of EU citizens entitled to free movement or their spouses, who are supported by these.

        PLEASE NOTE: If you are studying in Germany, only your spouse/registered partner and your children, who are granted support, can exercise the right of free movement.

        How to prove entitlement to free movement as a family member?

        If you as a family member are an EU citizen, a citizen of Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you do not need any certification. Certifications of free movement have not been issued since 29 January 2013. They have been abolished without substitution.

        In order to exercise rights or to take care of administrative formalities certification of free movement is not necessary. If you are asked by the immigration office to provide certification of free movement as a family member, you can refer to the following information sheet.

        NOTE FOR FAMILY MEMBERS OF SWISS CITIZENS:
        Family members of Swiss citizens can receive a CH Residence Permit as proof of their residence eligibility.

          What applies to family members from non-EU states?

          If, as a family member, you are not a EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, but instead come from another country (third-party country) your are entitled to a derived right of residence. You also require possibly a visa for entry and a residence permit for stay.

          Which residence permit is granted for family members from a third-party country?

          You will receive a residence card for family members of Union citizens. It will officially be granted within six months after the required information has been submitted. It will be valid for five years unless a shorter stay is intended from the outset.

          A residence card shall be applied for within three months after entry. A certificate of submission of the required information for the procedure will be issued immediately.

          Who is responsible for issuing residence cards for family members?

          The immigration office at the place of residence is responsible. If you live in Chemnitz, Dresden or Leipzig, this is the city council, otherwise the district office.

          You can use the services of the Single Point of Contact for this process. They assist you through the process, take charge of correspondence with all centres dealing with your case, and provide you with competent advice.

          Which documents have to be presented by family members?

          The competent immigration office may ask you to prove the requirements for entitlement to free movement. To do so, you need the following documents:

          • valid passport or ID-card,
          • proof of a specific joboffer or employment contract or trade licence or proof of self-employment of the spouse or registered partner
          • certificate of marriage or registered partnership or birth certificate of the child,
          • proof of sufficient means of subsistence and of health insurance for unemployed persons (i. e. pensioner or student)
          • matriculation certificate, proof of health insurance and proof of sufficient means of subsistence for students
          • current biometric passport photograph,

          In which case is permanent right of residence granted?

          If you have lived legally and permanently in the Federal Republic of Germany for five years, you will be granted unlimited right of residence. This right of residence is irrespective of the requirements for free movement mentioned above.

          Upon application a certificate of permanent right of residence is issued.

          Family members who are not Union citizens will be issued a permanent residence card within six months after application.

          Can entitlement to free movement be lost?

          If a person has met the requirements for entitlement to free movement by using falsified documents or under false pretences, non-existence of entitlement to free movement may be declared.

          In the first five years in Germany, entitlement to free movement may be lost if the requirements for entitlement have become obsolete. In this case the immigration office is responsible.

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