Family reunification

Holders of a residence permit are usually entitled to family reunification, regardless of the length of stay. The agreement on family reunification defines family members as:

  • the spouse and children who are under 21 years of age or dependent
  • own or spouse's parents who are dependent
  • the spouse and dependent children (for residing students)

The spouse and children of a person with a residence permit have the right to seek gainful employment. These children also have the same rights as children who are nationals of the country in question in terms of access to general education, apprenticeships and vocational training. 

International marriages

Provisions on marriage may vary from country to country, so it is advisable to obtain as much information as possible before emigrating to your EU/EFTA destination. 

Unmarried couples

Unmarried couples are not recognised in all EU countries, which means that the relevant provisions may vary to a considerable degree. In countries that do recognise unmarried couples, rights and obligations in terms of property, inheritance and post-separation maintenance payments, for example, are also accorded. 

Registered partnerships

Most EU states recognise registered partnerships. The following countries do not provide for registered partnerships under domestic law: Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

In EU states that deem a registered partnership to be equivalent or comparable to a marriage, registered partners have the same immigration rights as married partners. 

Same-sex marriage

The following EU states allow people of the same sex to get married: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. Iceland, Norway and Switzerland also permit same-sex marriages. 


Innovation and Partnerships

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