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If you marry a British citizen is the situation different than if you marry a non-British EEA citizen on "treaty rights"? I have gotten the impression that the terms of immigrating as the spouse on treaty rights are more favorable rather than on the basis of a spouse's citizenship.

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Yes, that's correct. It is the case in the UK and a few EU countries. In particular, the UK family visa has English-language knowledge and income requirements and significant fees (£1,000-£1,500 per person), which are all illegal under EU freedom of movement rules.

All this is the basis for the Surinder Singh route but it is presently unclear how much will subsist after the end of the Brexit transition period (probably not much). Cases like this have been cited in some circles as a reason for Brexit.

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  • Okay, thanks. This is interesting. But I find it confusing because on the one hand you say that, yes, there is a difference in rights gained by someone who has married a non-British EU spouse and those gained by someone who has married a British EU spouse. But then you cite the Surinder Singh route, which having read about I'm not sure I fully understand, but which seems to me a case of someone setting a precedent of gaining those same rights under EU law, yet with a thoroughly British spouse. Is it the case that, until the end of this year, one can obtain the same rights whether one has... – Joseph P. Jul 21 at 10:55
  • ...married a British citizen or non-British, simply by invoking the European, rather than British laws? – Joseph P. Jul 21 at 10:56
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    @JosephP. Sorry if that was confusing, I brought it up because it's another illustration of the gap between EU and national law. The thing is that you cannot simply “invoke” the Surinder Singh route, you need to reside in another EU country for some time (I think a few months is enough but the British authorities ask for additional evidence that you genuinely moved so as to avoid a simple duration threshold). The gist of the Surinder Singh decision is that EU law applies both to non-British EU citizens living in Britain and British citizens returning from another EU country. – Relaxed Jul 21 at 13:36
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    Since then the CJEU handed down a few decisions going even further but generally speaking there has to be some sort of connection to another EU country, otherwise EU freedom of movement law doesn't apply as the EU is not competent in purely national matters. – Relaxed Jul 21 at 13:39
  • Okay, but with the spouse of a non-British EU national, there is no need to reside in different EU countries in order to invoke the more favorable terms of EU law? – Joseph P. Jul 21 at 20:06

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