I am British and currently settled in England. By the end of the month (28th Feb. 17), I will be settled in the Republic of Ireland and move there and thus would like to know how exactly and what steps do I have to take to become an EU citizen so that I can exercise my EU Treaty Rights. Such as do I need to apply for residence card or open a bank account which determines that I have now settled in an EU country and can exercise my EU Treaty Rights?

It would also be helpful to know how soon can I exercise my EU Treaty Rights once I have settled in an EU country by the end of this month.

  • 1
    What eu treaty rights do you have in mind exactly? And anyone who is a member of a EU country is automatically an EU citizen, so if you are British - you are in.
    – Aida Paul
    Feb 16, 2017 at 14:58
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    You are already an EU citizen. Are you hoping to bring a family member to Ireland? If so, your family member can join you immediately. Are you hoping to bring that family member back to the UK using the Surinder Singh route? If so, you should mention that in your question, because the documentary requirements are probably stricter. To exercise your treaty rights in Ireland you basically just need to show up. To prove that you've been exercising them when you return to the UK is another matter.
    – phoog
    Feb 16, 2017 at 15:04
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    Connected, earlier question about bringing a dependent relative to Ireland: expatriates.stackexchange.com/questions/10077/…
    – mkennedy
    Feb 16, 2017 at 18:03
  • Thanks for the replies. Yes that's correct. I am moving to Ireland so that my mother can be with me in Ireland and hence the reason why I am settling in Ireland instead. I would love to take her to UK with me which I will try next but even if she is able to come to Ireland and allowed to stay with me, that would be more than enough for me and all her sons so at least she will be much more closer to us. I was just not sure and thought I would have to register in Ireland to prove that I am in another EU country and exercising my EU Treaty Rights.
    – Hamza
    Feb 16, 2017 at 20:01

1 Answer 1


You are asking about EU freedom of movement, controlled by directive 2004/38/EC.

This directive defines several rights in connection with freedom of movement. These rights extend to citizens of EU countries and to certain of their family members. The rights extend to non-EU family members when the family member travels with, or to join, the EU citizen. From Article 3 (emphasis added):

  1. This Directive shall apply to all Union citizens who move to or reside in a Member State other than that of which they are a national, and to their family members as defined in point 2 of Article 2 who accompany or join them.

For the purpose of the directive, relatives in the ascending line qualify only if they are dependent on the relative from whom they derive their rights. (The ascending line is parents, grandparents, great-grandparents etc.) This answer assumes that your mother is in fact dependent on you, but you will need to demonstrate this to the Irish authorities in order for her to qualify.

Among the rights defined in the directive are

  • a right of entry (Article 5)
  • a right of residence for up to three months (Article 6)
  • a right of residence for more than three months (Article 7)

The rights can be limited on grounds of public safety, public health, or public policy; this means that they can be refused only in rare circumstances. Furthermore, for visa nationals, the right of entry can be dependent on a requirement to hold a visa. From Article 5:

  1. Family members who are not nationals of a Member State shall only be required to have an entry visa in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 or, where appropriate, with national law. [...]

However, this visa is supposed to be easy and quick to get, and it is free of charge. Paragraph 5(2) goes on to say

[...] Member States shall grant such persons every facility to obtain the necessary visas. Such visas shall be issued free of charge as soon as possible and on the basis of an accelerated procedure.

If the non-EU family member is entering after the initial three-month period, it may be necessary to show that the EU citizen is complying with Article 7 (see below). It is important to note, however, that if the EU citizen has not yet resided in the country for three months, it should not be necessary to do this. This follows from the simple definition in Article 6, quoted here in full:

  1. Union citizens shall have the right of residence on the territory of another Member State for a period of up to three months without any conditions or any formalities other than the requirement to hold a valid identity card or passport.
  2. The provisions of paragraph 1 shall also apply to family members in possession of a valid passport who are not nationals of a Member State, accompanying or joining the Union citizen.

If you plan to bring your mother after three months, however, you may need to show that you are in compliance with Article 7, concerning the right of residence for more than three months:

  1. All Union citizens shall have the right of residence on the territory of another Member State for a period of longer than three months if they:
    (a) are workers or self-employed persons in the host Member State; or
    (b) have sufficient resources for themselves and their family members not to become a burden on the social assistance system of the host Member State during their period of residence and have comprehensive sickness insurance cover in the host Member State; or
    (c) [concerns students; omitted because it does not apply to parents]
    (d) are family members accompanying or joining a Union citizen who satisfies the conditions referred to in points (a), (b) or (c).
  2. The right of residence provided for in paragraph 1 shall extend to family members who are not nationals of a Member State, accompanying or joining the Union citizen in the host Member State, provided that such Union citizen satisfies the conditions referred to in paragraph 1(a), (b) or (c).

The most likely paragraph to apply to you is (1)(a). Namely, you are likely to have a job or be self employed. If you are wealthy or retired and can afford not to work, paragraph (1)(b) applies instead.

You have expressed some interest in returning to the UK using the Surinder Singh route; a full discussion would warrant a new question, but this fact sheds some light on the question

do I need to apply for residence card or open a bank account which determines that I have now settled in an EU country and can exercise my EU Treaty Rights?

Essentially, you're exercising your rights just by entering the country. Your mother can join you in Ireland as soon as she gets a visa. You can even get her a visa before you move to Ireland, and she can arrive with you or anytime thereafter.

However, for you to move back to the UK with your mother, the British authorities will want to see that you were working (or otherwise covered under Article 7), so keep all of your pay stubs.

  • Thank you for your detailed answer with references. I have never applied for a visa before so one thing I am really confused about is that, once I am in Ireland, would I be able to apply for my mother's visa from Ireland (considering that she is admitted to old peoples care-home and has no friends/family members that can help her apply from an Irish Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan). Therefore any possibility of I applying for her visa from Ireland once I am there?
    – Hamza
    Feb 18, 2017 at 13:19
  • @Hamza As far as I am aware, no. Your mother's application will have to be submitted in Karachi, or wherever your mother is when she makes the application.
    – phoog
    Feb 19, 2017 at 3:28

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