Are you travelling to the Schengen Area as the spouse or core family member of an EU citizen?
In that case, you might have lots of questions concerning the Schengen Visa requirements for spouses or family members.
You might even ask yourself, “Do I actually need a Visa to travel to Europe if I’m married to an EU citizen?” or “Do I really need a Visa if I’m a relative of an EU citizen?”
The short answer is, “it depends”.
So bear with us for a few minutes and read this post all the way to the end.
You’ll find out everything you need to know about the Schengen Visa requirements for spouses and relatives of EU nationals.
Table of contents:
- Does a spouse or relative of EU nationals need a Schengen Visa for Europe?
- Schengen Visa requirements for spouses and relatives of EU nationals
1. Does a Spouse or Relative of EU Nationals Need a Schengen Visa for Europe?
Under EU law, as the spouse or relative of an EU national, you may need or not a Schengen Visa to travel to Europe depending on your citizenship.
For example, if you hold the passport of a state that has established a visa-free agreement with the Schengen countries, you do not need a Visa to Europe – although you may need to apply for an ETIAS Visa Waiver.
ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorisation System. The ETIAS Visa Waiver is a travel permit that enables you to enter the Schengen Area.
However, there’s no need to worry about the ETIAS Visa Waiver – this travel authorisation is relatively easy to get, and the application process is automated.
On the other hand, if you hold the passport of a state that has not established a visa-free agreement with the Schengen countries, you need a Schengen Visa to enter Europe.
You might be thinking, “There’s too much confusion surrounding bureaucracy. How in the world can I know what countries need a Schengen Visa to enter Europe with all the misleading information spread online?”.
Just spare a few minutes to read this post and find out whether or not your country of citizenship has established a visa-free agreement with the Schengen States.
If your country of citizenship isn’t on the list of countries that need a Schengen Visa to enter Europe, then all you need to do is check whether or not you are eligible for an ETIAS Visa Waiver.
If your country of citizenship is on the list of countries that need a Schengen Visa to enter Europe, then you must apply for a Schengen Visa, even if you are married to an EU citizen (or you’re a close relative of an EU citizen).
Now, let’s clear up what we mean by “relative of an EU citizen”.
According to the official website of the European Commission, you can apply for a Schengen Visa as the relative of an EU citizen if you’re a core family member – meaning spouse, child, dependent parent, or dependent grandparent.
The European Commission outlines that these rules are also applicable to non-EU registered partners if the country they are travelling to recognises the status of registered partnerships.
For more information about registered partnerships, click here.
As a general rule, other relatives of EU nationals who need a Schengen Visa – such as siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. – may have their entry to Europe facilitated under certain conditions.
The Schengen Member States do not necessarily have to grant this right, but they consider these requests on a case-by-case basis.
For example, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain, other relatives of EU nationals may have their entry to Europe facilitated when serious health grounds or disabilities require an EU citizen to personally take care of them.
Now, we bet you’re asking yourself this question: “Why does the spouse or relative of an EU citizen need a Visa to enter Europe? After all, as the spouse or close family member of an EU citizen, I should have visa-free access to the Schengen Area.”
That’s a great question.
If you’re the spouse or core family member of an EU citizen, you still need a short-stay Visa (which has a duration of stay of maximum 90 days) because the EU authorities must ensure that you are legally entering the Schengen Area.
However, if you are the spouse or relative of an EU citizen and want to join them in Europe, you have the right to apply for a type-D National Visa and a residence permit issued by an EU country (the country where your spouse or relative lives in).
Once you have obtained your National Visa and/or EU residence permit, you no longer need a short-stay Schengen Visa to enter Europe.
If you’re looking to stay in Europe for more than 90 days and get an EU National Visa/ residence permit as the spouse or core family member of an EU citizen, do note that each Member State has its own rules for issuing the national Visa or residence permit for non-EU citizens.
For example, according to italianvisa.it, to stay in Italy for more than 90 days, you must apply for a National Visa for family reunification at the Italian Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence.
Once you have entered Italy using your National Visa, you can apply for a residence permit as a family member.
Or, according to the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, you’ll receive a residence card within six months of registering in Germany as the spouse or core family member of an EU national. It is not necessary to separately apply for the residence card.
We hope you found this information useful.
Now, let’s have a closer look at the Schengen Visa requirements for spouses and relatives of EU nationals.
2. Schengen Visa Requirements for Spouses and Relatives of EU Nationals
Before we examine the Schengen Visa requirements for spouses and relatives of EU nationals, we need to clear up one possible misunderstanding.
The Spouse or Family Member Schengen Visa is not a special type of Visa.
As the spouse or relative of an EU national, you need to apply for a type-C Schengen Visa that enables a traveller to spend up to 90 days within the Schengen Zone over six months (the 90/180 days rule).
However, the type-C Schengen Visa varies according to the travel purpose.
For example, you can request a type-C Schengen Visa for tourism, business, medical reasons, study, or to visit your friends and family.
However, as a family member of an EU national, your Schengen Visa is free of charge. You will also enjoy preferential treatment, as outlined on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy.
This means that your Schengen Visa application is likely to be processed faster than ordinary applications.
When applying for a Spouse or Family Member Schengen Visa, you need to submit the following documents:
|● Visa application form fully completed and signed
|● Two recent passport-sized photos (be sure your photos meet the Schengen Visa photo requirements)
|● Valid passport not older than ten years and with at least two blank pages
|● Photocopies of your passport personal data pages and previous Visas (if applicable) – Even though this is an optional requirement for most Embassies, we are encouraging you to submit a certified passport copy
|● Schengen Travel Insurance with a minimum of 30,000 euros coverage
|● Round-trip flight reservations of bookings
|● Proof of financial means, such as your bank statements for the last 3-6 months or a sponsorship letter
|● Proof of accommodation – If your spouse or relative in Europe provides you with accommodation, ask them to write an accommodation sponsorship letter addressed to the Embassy officers (unless they sponsor your whole trip and need to provide you with a full sponsorship letter).
|● Invitation letter written and signed by your spouse/family member
|● Document proving family ties with an EU national (e.g., marriage certificate). Also, do note that marriage certificates issued by third countries (not the Schengen Country you are applying to) must be legalised or apostilled.
|● Birth certificate
|● Photocopy of your birth certificate – While this is not a mandatory requirement for most Embassies, we are encouraging you to submit a certified birth certificate copy
|● Certificate proving you’ve changed your name after marriage (if applicable)
|Cover letter addressed to the Embassy officers outlining your travel purpose
|● If you are employed, we recommend you submit employment documents, such as your Employment contract, Leave permission from the employer, Payslips for the last 3-6 months, No Objection Certificate (NOC) Letter from Employer, Certificate of Employment (COE), and Personal Income Tax Return (ITR). However, as the spouse or family member of an EU citizen, some Embassies do not require you to submit employment documents.
|● A copy of your spouse/family member’s passport and ID card
Do note that the requirement list above is not exhaustive.
The documents you must submit depend on the Embassy you apply to and your personal situation.
For example, if you are the minor son/daughter of an EU national and your parents are divorced, you must submit a divorce certificate and custody decree.
Or, if you’re a minor and want to travel alone to visit one of your parents who is an EU citizen, you must submit a travel parental authorisation from both parents.
If you have any questions concerning the Family Member or Spouse Schengen Visa application process, please feel free to contact us.
If you need our team to provide you with the exact list of documents you must submit based on your personal situation, do not hesitate to request your Schengen Embassy Requirements Report (SERR).
We would be more than happy to help you make your application process faster, smoother, and stress-free.