I’m doing some travelling with my mate in a few weeks and I was wondering if, to save time, he could come through the Schengen border through the EU Line with me even though he is not a citizen? I’m a dual Australian and Italian citizen, and he is an Australian citizen and has a 1 year residency visa (Italy).


4 Answers 4


Generally not. Non-EU citizens who are family members of EU citizens within the meaning of the free movement directive are entitled to use the EU passport lines at Schengen borders, but other traveling companions are not (see articles 10(2) and 2(5) of the Schengen Borders Code).

You can of course accompany him in the "all passports" queue. While that won't save any time, it should at least be less boring and/or more convivial.

  • The free movement directive only applies when you're entering a country that's not the country of your nationality. I.e. in this case it wouldn't apply to an Italian (and companions) entering Italy. So that can't be the official reason in every situation. Apr 15, 2019 at 5:46
  • @ErwinBolwidt That's still the definition used in the Schengen Borders code.
    – Relaxed
    Apr 15, 2019 at 7:24
  • "Non-EU citizens who are family members of EU citizens within the meaning of the free movement directive are entitled to use the EU passport lines at Schengen borders" Do you have a reference for this? It could have saved a lot of time, but I had no idea ...
    – Szabolcs
    Apr 15, 2019 at 12:31
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    @Szabolcs Schengen Borders Code, article 10(2), read in the context of the definition at Article 2(5). Also note 2(6), which excludes non-EU family members covered by the directive from the term "third-country national" for the purpose of the Schengen Borders Code. The Schengen Borders Code does not apply in the UK or Ireland, and because this rule is established in the SBC, not the directive, the UK and Ireland are not obliged to have a similar rule. But see the comment I'm about to leave on the other answer.
    – phoog
    Apr 15, 2019 at 12:48
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    @Szabolcs as I understand it, in the UK such a family can go to the EU passports desk because the UK has a policy of not requiring families to separate. But I haven't ever seen that written anywhere, despite looking. I have no idea about Ireland. As to the countries that are officially Schengen candidates, I do not know whether they are bound by this part of the SBC, but I suppose that even if they are not, they follow it in practice.
    – phoog
    Apr 15, 2019 at 13:00

With a residency visa and accompanied by you it is worth a try, but no guarantees.

I've had this several times in Germany with my girlfriend, who has a non-european citizenship, but a residence permit. The first time we entered Germany together, I stood with her the "all passports" queue and when we finally came to the counter, the officer looked at us and asked why we hadn't gone to the "EU" line. Which after this we did and never had issues.

This may not be official policy, however.


A study details the differences of member states treatment of unmarried partnerships. For example, about Germany it writes:

"Germany [...] does not include common spouse partnerships and does therefore not seem to recognise the principle of durable relationship."

  • 1
    The difference here of course US that your travel companion was your girlfriend, so possibly entitled to the benefit of the directive, although it's not clear that the officer was aware of that fact or reacting to it. In any event, practice appears to vary by country. I recall reading here about a married couple, where one had EU citizenship and the other did not, being sent to the all-passports desk in Italy after waiting in the EU passports line.
    – phoog
    Apr 15, 2019 at 13:01
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    and had a residence permit Apr 15, 2019 at 15:16
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    @phoog no, "girlfriend" is a status with no legal meaning. Marriage is a different thing, legally speaking.
    – Tom
    Apr 15, 2019 at 18:39
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    @Tom which part of what I wrote are you saying "no" to? While "girlfriend" has no legal meaning, the benefits of the free movement directive can also extend to partners in a "durable relationship," and I've known plenty of couples in such relationships who have used the words "girlfriend" and "boyfriend" to refer to each other.
    – phoog
    Apr 15, 2019 at 19:47
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    I do not know how relevant it is to the question of Schengen border control, but to German law there exist things like "nichteheliche Lebensgemeinschaft" and "eheähnliche Gemeinschaft" which is basically non-married couples. There are certain rights that come with that status, however.
    – kap
    Apr 16, 2019 at 14:02

My experience is that a bit of common sense is applied for people travelling together and they will let you both through in the shortest queue. This also assists when they as for reason for visit etc. This applies when I've been going into UK, Thailand, and France.


There's also a different security aspect - I (UK citizen) was told off for not bringing my wife (then only ILR) through the UK&EU queue because I was sitting on the seats beyond immigration - I got the impression that they don't like people waiting there in case they are spying on how the process works.

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