Landmark case could have implications for passport applicants

The European Court of Justice is to rule on a case involving a dual British-Spanish citizen seeking authorisation for her Algerian husband to live with her in the UK.

Under current UK immigration law, British nationals must meet certain criteria before bringing family members from outside of the EEA into the country.  In this case however, the applicant, a Spanish woman who has settled in the UK and acquired British citizenship whilst retaining her Spanish citizenship, is attempting to use her rights under EU law which state that any individual moving to another EU country is entitled to bring family members, including adult dependents, with them and are less restrictive than UK immigration rules. 

The woman’s husband, currently residing in the UK, has applied for a residence card based on the rights bestowed by her EU membership, but was turned down by the Home Office based on her status as a UK citizen.

The case was referred to the Grand Chamber by the High Court last year and its significance and possible ramifications have attracted legal submissions from Spain, Poland and the UK Home Secretary.  If the Home Office wins the case, precedence could be set for all EU countries to put their own domestic policies before those set out in EU law, which could have wide reaching ramifications not just for the UK, but also the other 27 EU member states.

This would also indicate that any dual nationality EU nationals currently living within the UK are no longer recognised as EU citizens in the context of their rights to bring family members from outside the EEA into the UK, which in turn could affect many EU nationals currently considering applying for British citizenship to secure their right to remain in the UK post Brexit.

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