My non-eu spouse and I plan to move to Germany next year. I am a British citizen, however currently we both live in South Korea, where we both work. We are intending to spend some time to travel together during the first part of next year which means that neither of us will be working directly prior to entering Germany, so won't be able to prove any current income on arrival. I would prefer not to find employment immediately on entering Germany as I will be working on a personal art project that will not bring any income for a few months. However, my wife would like to begin work immediately on entering Germany.

We both have savings which will total around 13,000-15,000 euro when entering Germany. Can I exercise my EU treaty rights as economically inactive in Germany with our savings and will this allow her to apply for a residence card allowing her to begin work immediately?

If this isn't possible, I would seek a very minimal part time job, perhaps 10 or less hours per week, would this be sufficient in order for me to exercise my EU treaty rights enabling her to apply for a residence card?

1 Answer 1


Both options are just barely OK but should work:

  • As an economically non-active person, the standard is that you should not “become a burden on the social assistance system of the host Member State”. But the law does not include a predefined minimum and the amount should be decided based on the local costs of living.

    Not being eligible for welfare benefits should in any case be sufficient and I think that €15000 is just enough for that in Germany. In 2015, the basic benefit (Regelsatz) under the SGB II regulations was €360 per month per person for a couple so that's €8640 for both of you for a year but you need to add the costs of rent. The best place to get definitive information for a given place/province would be the local Ausländerbehörde.

    Also beware: You need to show you have health insurance, so if you are not eligible for statutory cover through work or retirement, you probably need to pay for private insurance.

  • A part-time job is also enough, the standard is that it must be “genuine and effective”. IIRC, case law from the EU Court of Justice established that something like 10 or 12 hours per week is enough, but less than that could be more difficult. So here again you would be very close to the limit but it should work.

If you qualify, even as an economically non-active person, your wife can indeed work immediately without restriction.

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