Good news for many European migrant families with partners living in the UK: non-EU family members with a valid EU residence permit or visa can visit Britain without having to apply for a UK visa or permit according to the latest ruling from the European Court of Justice.
The European Court of Justice has ruled that Britain cannot impose a blanket visa requirement on family members originally from outside Europe but who have valid EU residence rights. The ruling only covers cases where the partner from the EU – the native EU citizen – has exercised their right to free movement within the Union. Thus, if that someone still lives in their home country, their spouse is not entitled to free movement.
This decision was made after the case of McCarthy who contested UK insistence on a family permit or visa, valid for six months, for his wife, Helena, every time they visit Britain. The couple have two children, both British nationals. The ECJ decided that Helena McCarthy’s Spanish residence card entitled her to travel to Britain without first obtaining a UK visa in Spain.