Research by a reader suggest that Brits (and other non-EU nationals) with EU spouses are not bound by the 90/180 day rule when travelling in the Schengen area in the company of their spouses.
“I’ve been trying to find out from varied sources over the last few months whether being an UK citizen married to an Irish citizen I was exempt from the EU 90/180 day rule,” says reader John by email. “I had been led to believe the only way was through residency.”
John contacted the Europe Direct Contact Centre, an official office of the EU, and got a response that helps clarify the rules from the EU perspective.
“I hope the reply below from the Europe Direct Contact Centre will be useful for British or other third-country citizens, married or in a partnership with E.U. citizens, who wish to escape this rule without taking out residency,” says John.
The EU Direct Contact Centre response copied below suggests that Brits and other non EU nationals married to EU citizens are not bound by the 90/180 rule when travelling with their spouses in the Schengen area, but Spanish lawyers say this does not mean they can spend more than 90 consecutive days in Spain without the appropriate visa. The text below taken from an email from the Europe Direct Contact Centre forwarded by John has not be checked and may or may not be reliable, so you use the information at your own risk. Be sure to consult a Spanish lawyer on this question if you want to be sure of the current situation.
Thank you for contacting the Europe Direct Contact Centre.
A citizen of the UK does in principle not require 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, on its own, not sufficient to waive the limits of the 90/180-days rule if you intend to travel on your own to a Schengen Member State.
However, if your wife is travelling with you to a Schengen country, or joins you in a Schengen country, the 90/180 days limitation does not apply. Accordingly, any stays in the Schengen area together with her will not be taken into account when you travel again on your own. Please be aware, however, that in this case you might need to have documentation to show on when you were travelling with her and when you were not.
If you wish to remain in Spain with your wife for more than 3 months, you may both need to register. You can find information on the necessary procedures here.
Please note that as Ireland is not part of the Schengen area and because your wife is Irish citizen, this does not apply if you wish to travel together to Ireland. For information on the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK, please see here.
We hope you find this information useful. Please contact us again if you have other questions about the European Union, its activities or institutions.