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UNITED KINGDOM: Non-EU Family Members With Valid EU Residency Permission Need Not Apply for Additional Permission To Enter the UK

In December, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) handed down a significant judgment regarding the rights of non-EU family members of EU citizens to enter the UK.

In that case, a dual British and Irish citizen, his Colombian wife, who held a Spanish residence card, and their children had resided in Spain since 2010. The family also had a house in the UK to which they would travel often. However, UK law required that the wife obtain an EEA family permit before entering the UK, a process that required applying at the diplomatic mission in Madrid, a significant distance from their home in Marbella.

The court held that "a person who is a family member of a Union citizen and is in a situation such as that of Ms. McCarthy Rodriguez is not subject to the requirement to obtain a visa or an equivalent requirement in order to be able to enter the territory of that Union citizen's Member State of origin."

The UK government has expressed its concern and disappointment with the ruling, citing a lack of consistency among EU member states with regard to the issuance of residence cards.

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