Several EU countries such as the UK, France and Netherlands have territories and dependencies outside of Europe. Examples include many islands in the Caribbean, Falkland Islands, Tahiti, and so on.

These have a complex relationship with the home country (usually a former colonial power), and with the European Union. Some are inside the EU for some purposes, some are not. Who can live and/or work in the territory is complex, even for citizens of the home country.

Given this, which territories of EU countries, outside Europe, are somewhere that any EU citizen could move to, to live and work, under the EU freedom of movement?

For example, Aruba is one of the four countries in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Does that make it part of the EU for residence? Are any of the French DOMs and TOMs, like French Polynesia, areas that EU citizens have the right to settle in? Are any of the overseas UK territories, such as Anguilla, part of the EU for residence?

  • Not even the Dutch can freely live and work in Aruba. They need a resident permit.
    – Andra
    Mar 13, 2014 at 10:47
  • @Andra Dutch citizens who are from Aruba can indeed live and work their freely.
    – phoog
    Mar 2, 2019 at 4:39

2 Answers 2


Wikipedia has an excellent article about these regions. The French DOM and Saint-Martin are part of the EU (albeit outside Schengen) and EU citizens can settle there without restriction. The Azores, Madeira and the Canary islands have a similar status. Together they are called “outermost regions” and EU law, including the free movement of persons, applies there by default.

For territories falling in the “Overseas countries and territories” (OCT) category, which includes other French territories, UK dependencies, the Dutch Antilles, and Greenland, freedom of movement doesn't automatically apply. But these regions are free to opt-in so the applicable rules vary on a case-by-case basis. For example, I know that Dutch territories do impose restrictions on free movement even for Dutch citizens. By contrast, the French island of Saint-Barthélémy recently became an OCT but does not restrict free movement of persons for EU citizens (the change allows the island to set its own customs regime, distinct from that of the EU, and trade more easily with the US).

  • That's a good article listing all the territories involved but I wasn't able to find anything in it which mentions whether or not the right of residence applies, for the majority of places.
    – Rob Hoare
    Mar 13, 2014 at 16:44
  • @RobHoare Right of residence applies as of right to the outermost regions so the Wikipedia article includes a list of territories. It's also useful to get an idea of the main categories of territories (as your question mentioned things that were in the EU and things that were not) or to have a list to be able to research individual territories. But it's true that since regions that aren't part of the EU can still opt in, this is not an exhaustive list.
    – Gala
    Mar 13, 2014 at 17:56
  • I see, so the "outermost regions" are by default areas with the right for residence. The "overseas countries and territories" (and the special cases, although these are mostly in Europe) are areas that default to NOT having the right of residence. Are there any exceptions to these defaults in each category?
    – Rob Hoare
    Mar 13, 2014 at 21:00
  • 1
    @RobHoare Yes, exactly. I tried to improve my answer based on our discussion, thanks for your comments!
    – Gala
    Mar 14, 2014 at 0:03

Canarian Islands as one example. I enjoyed the Tenerife one. They are considered a Spanish territory.

But here we need to be specific about visiting "as EU citizen" VS "as EU residence permit holder". As Example, Gibraltar one can visit being EU citizen only.

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