The European Court of Justice has ruled that family members of EU citizens who are not EU nationals themselves but have permanent residence status in a EU member state shall be exempt from visa requirements to enter any other EU member state.
The ruling extends the exemption granted specifically to holders of a residence card for a family member of an EU citizen under Directive 2004/38/EC on the freedom of movement for EU nationals and their family members.
In a statement on June 18, the court said that “family members of an EU citizen who have already obtained a residence card should benefit from the exemption in question, the EU legislator having intended to grant the benefit of this exemption to all family members of an EU citizen who hold a residence card, irrespective of the type of card.”
The court also ruled that this exemption applied equally to holders of permanent residence cards issued by EU member states in the Schengen visa-free travel area and those outside Schengen.
The permanent residence card in itself was proof that its holder was a family member of an EU citizen, so no further verification of that status was necessary, the court said.