Connecticut, US

Jun 08 2018

Court of Justice Rules That EU Countries Must Grant Residence Rights to Same-Sex Spouses of EU Nationals

European Union

The situation

In binding advice to a Romanian national court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that all EU countries must recognize same-sex marriages when evaluating applications for residence rights for dependent same-sex spouses of EU nationals that have resided in other EU countries.


In the Coman-Hamilton case brought before the CJEU, the question involved a Romanian citizen and his U.S. partner, who were married in Belgium and moved to Romania. The Romanian immigration authorities refused the spouse’s family reunification application because Romanian laws do not allow same-sex marriages and the authorities did not recognize the same-sex marriage entered into abroad. The couple appealed to the CJEU for advice on the interpretation of related EU law, and the court advised that the Romanian authorities must accept the family reunification application of same-sex spouses, where marriage was legally conducted in another EU country.


Based on this ruling, EU nationals who move to another EU country can sponsor a same-sex spouse as a dependent in any EU country. EU countries cannot obstruct the freedom of residence of an EU national by refusing to grant their same-sex spouse a dependent residence permit in that EU country.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].