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My girlfriend and I are looking to live in Europe, somewhere in the Schengen region, for one year from mid 2017. I'm aware of the 90 of 180 days allowance within these countries for people without EU visas.

Are there any de facto visa exemptions available for me?

We are from Australia, and I only have an AU passport, however my girlfriend has an EU passport (dual citizenship) and so is able to live and work anywhere in the UK or EU, without restriction. We've been in a serious relationship for 5 years and living together for almost 2 years. My girlfriend is planning to work for the year, and I will be completing an Australian university course online, and hoping to work part time, but I probably won't be a in a position to secure a job from here and apply for any type of working visa.

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    The UK is still in the EU as of Jan 2017. – Estey Jan 5 '17 at 12:15
  • Are you prepared to marry your girlfriend? AIUI if you do then it will make things much easier. – Peter Green Jan 5 '17 at 12:33
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    What is your question? – Vince Jan 5 '17 at 13:31
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    @PeterGreen marrying would make it easier to qualify for freedom of movement, but with a five-year relationship and a two-year cohabitation, it ought to be possible to qualify nonetheless. With a cohabitation of slightly less than 2 years, the UK will probably reject the application, but that two-year threshold is a UK thing; other countries will have different criteria. – phoog Jan 5 '17 at 17:49
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I'm not an expert on this but I would think 1 year and planning to work is probably enough to count as "taking up residence".

AIUI if you marry your girlfriend and she takes up residence in an EU country other than her own then she can get you a residence permit as a "family member of an EU citizen". It may be possible to do this without marrying but AIUI your legal position is then much weaker.

If she takes up residence in her home country then local laws apply.

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as an European lawyer, I believe I can shed some light on the matter:

  • your girlfriend, as an EU citizen, can reside in any EU country, she would need to register her presence in the country, but that is usually just a formality;
  • the EU and the Schengen space and two different areas, as for example, the UK is not part of the Schengen space, but (still) is part of the EU;
  • you can either apply for a student/work visa depending on your activity as a non-EU citizen, or can get a visa as "the partner of an EU citizen" (you don't need to be married). The latter usually means that your girlfriend would have to take responsibility for you and take included healthcare (or if you can prove you have separate means/coverage). Good luck!

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