Research by a reader suggests that Brits (and other non-EU citizens) with EU spouses are not subject to the 90/180 day rule when traveling to the Schengen area with their spouses.
“I’ve been trying to find out from various sources over the past few months if being a UK citizen married to an Irish citizen was exempt from the EU 90/180 day rule,” says reader John by email. “They had led me to believe that the only way was through residency.”
John contacted the Europe Direct Contact Center, an official EU office, and got a response that helps clarify the rules from an EU perspective.
“I hope the following response from the Europe Direct Contact Center will be useful for UK or other third country citizens, married or in partnership with EU citizens, who wish to escape this rule without applying for residency,” says John .
The EU Direct Contact Center response copied below suggests that Brits and other non-EU citizens married to EU citizens are not subject to the 90/180 rule when traveling with their spouses in space. Schengen, but Spanish lawyers say this does not mean they can spend more than 90 consecutive days in Spain without a proper visa. The following text, taken from a Europe Direct Contact Center email forwarded by John, has not been verified and may or may not be reliable and you use the information at your own risk. Consult a Spanish lawyer on this issue if you want to be sure of the current situation.
Thank you for contacting the Europe Direct contact center.
In principle, a UK citizen does not need a visa to travel for a short stay of no more than 90 days within any 180-day period in the Schengen area.
The fact that you reside with your Irish wife in the UK is not, by itself, enough to waive the limits of the 90/180 day rule if you intend to travel alone to a Schengen Member State.
However, if your spouse travels with you to a Schengen country or joins you in a Schengen country, the 90/180 day limitation does not apply. Consequently, any stay in the Schengen area together with her will not be taken into account when you travel again on her behalf. Keep in mind, however, that in this case, you may need to provide documentation to show when you were traveling with her and when you weren’t.
If you want to stay in Spain with your wife for more than 3 months, both of you may need to register. You can find information about the necessary procedures. here.
Please note that as Ireland is not part of the Schengen area and your wife is an Irish citizen, this does not apply if you wish to travel to Ireland together. For information on the common area of travel between Ireland and the United Kingdom, see here.
We hope you find this information useful. Please contact us again if you have any other questions about the European Union, its activities or institutions.