I am a US citizen (non EU) married to a dual citizen of an EU member state (Luxembourg). Currently we are living in the US and are starting to look for jobs in Luxembourg/Germany/Switzerland. Here in the US, I work in technology, and my partner stays at home as a homemaker, so we are a single-income household.

We're looking to replicate that setup when moving to an EU member state (one of Luxembourg, Germany, or Switzerland). Many of the questions on here related to non-EU spousal work visa eligibility in these countries imply it's easy to do as long as the EU spouse is also looking for work. My question is, what are the possibilities and requirements for the non-EU citizen to be the single income earner if the EU citizen does not choose to look for work? Also, is this eligibility affected if we were to move to one of these countries without having a job in hand?

As we are already married and have kids, traveling and living together simultaneously would be assumed, so I would be traveling with my EU spouse.

  • 1
    Since Switzerland is not an EU member, the swiss laws and process will be different that for most EU members and should be answered separately. Sep 4, 2022 at 7:15
  • 1
    @MarkJohnson Not really, they are bound by very similar rules through an agreement with the EU, any difference between countries can be handled in one answer. You seem comfortable answering for a single country and using country tags anyway so why not do the same for Switzerland?
    – Relaxed
    Sep 4, 2022 at 15:30
  • 1
    The following Q&A pretty much covers it: expatriates.stackexchange.com/questions/6056/… It's true the EU citizen was actually looking for work but the answer covers all scenarios. It boils down to proving sufficient resources or choosing the non-EU law route (forget about your spouse citizenship, apply for an EU blue card or some such).
    – Relaxed
    Sep 4, 2022 at 15:33
  • @MarkJohnson while the situation in Switzerland is going to be quite similar to that in Germany, the situation in Luxembourg is completely different.
    – phoog
    Sep 8, 2022 at 5:38
  • @phoog Staying in Luxembourg for more than 3 months as a third-country national and family member of an EU citizen or Luxembourg national: Family members of Luxembourg nationals are treated as family members of EU citizens. Switzerland is more complicated, since the EU citizen must also apply for a residence permit. Thus it warrents a seperate answer. Sep 8, 2022 at 6:47

1 Answer 1


My question is, what are the possibilities and requirements for the non-EU citizen to be the single income earner if the EU citizen does not choose to look for work?

This is covered in §2(2)(5) - Right of entry and residence of the Freedom of Movement Act/EU.

EU citizens who are not gainfully employed must fulfill 2 conditions (for themselfs and all family members):

  • have adequate health insurance
  • and sufficient means of subsistence

It doesn't matter who in the family supplies the income.

After moving to Germany and taking up residence (i.e. moving into a flat), the address must be registered at the local registry office.

After that, the non-EU spouse may start to work.

This income, which will include a health insurance for any 'not gainfully employed' family member, will be considered to be a legally permissible income that fulfills the conditions of §4 of the Freedom of Movement Act/EU.


Zu §4 – Nicht erwerbstätige Freizügigkeitsberechtigte
4.1.1 Ausreichender Krankenversicherungsschutz
4.1.2 Ausreichende Existenzmittel Existenzmittel sind alle gesetzlich zulässigen Einkommen und Vermögen in Geld oder Geldeswert oder sonstige eigene Mittel, insbesondere Unterhaltsleistungen von Familienangehörigen oder Dritten, Stipendien, Ausbildungs- oder Umschulungsbeihilfen, Arbeitslosengeld, Invaliditäts-, Hinterbliebenen-, Vorruhestands- oder Altersrenten, Renten wegen Arbeitsunfall, Berufs- oder Erwerbsunfähigkeit oder sonstige auf einer Beitragsleistung beruhende öffentliche Mittel. Dazu zählen nicht die nach SGB II zur Sicherung des Lebensunterhalts an Arbeitsuchende und an die mit ihnen in einer so genannten Bedarfsgemeinschaft zusammenlebenden Personen zu gewährenden Mittel.

General administrative regulation for the Freedom of Movement Act/EU
About §4 – Non-gainfully employed persons entitled to freedom of movement
4.1.1 Adequate health insurance coverage
4.1.2 Sufficient means of subsistence Means of subsistence are all legally permissible income and assets in money or money's worth or other own means, in particular maintenance payments from family members or third parties, scholarships, training or retraining allowances, unemployment benefits, disability, survivor's, early retirement or old-age pensions, pensions for work injuries, occupational or earning disability or other public funds based on a contribution. This does not include the funds to be granted to jobseekers and to the persons living with them in a so-called community of need in accordance with SGB II [social welfare] to secure their livelihood.


The conditions meantioned in the last sentance of (excluding SGB II, social welfare) no longer applies after working for a period of 3 months.

§7 Abs. 1 S. 2 Nr. 1 SGB II
Ausgenommen sind

  1. Ausländerinnen und Ausländer, die weder in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland Arbeitnehmerinnen, Arbeitnehmer oder Selbständige noch aufgrund des § 2 Absatz 3 des Freizügigkeitsgesetzes/EU freizügigkeitsberechtigt sind, und ihre Familienangehörigen für die ersten drei Monate ihres Aufenthalts,

are exempt

  1. Foreign nationals who are neither employees or self-employed in the Federal Republic of Germany nor entitled to freedom of movement on the basis of Section 2 (3) of the Freedom of Movement Act/EU, and their family members for the first three months of their stay,
  • (+1) The language comes straight from the EU directive, it would be more relevant to point to it directly and do away with all the irrelevant fluff at the end.
    – Relaxed
    Sep 4, 2022 at 15:34
  • @Relaxed The 'irrelevant fluff' is not contained in DIRECTIVE 2004/38/EC - Article 7 Right of residence for more than three months but in §7 Abs. 1 S. 2 Nr. 1 SGB II based on the EuGH, 11.11.2014, Rs. C-333/13 ruling. Sep 4, 2022 at 18:21
  • The actual answer, the text at the top, does in fact reflect the contents of the directive. I know you lifted it elsewhere but that doesn't really add anything meaningful and omitting to mention where it actually comes from is even misleading.
    – Relaxed
    Sep 4, 2022 at 20:50
  • What I call "irrelevant fluff" is the rest. Do you mean what you call "sources" are not really sources but additional information? If it is, it should be presented differently. If it isn't then it's full of irrelevant fluff and not a reasonable way to present sources. I know you don't really care about the quality of your answers, you don't correct even glaring mistakes but I still thought it was worth pointing out.
    – Relaxed
    Sep 4, 2022 at 20:53
  • @Relaxed You are really the last person to complain about how present sources. Your low quality answer (Unintentionally overstaying in the Schengen area by 5 days without exceeding the visa expiration date - Expatriates Stack Exchange) made many claims and conclusions without any sources at all. The only correct statement made was: I don't know German law.... Sep 5, 2022 at 6:01

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