I have read a lot of info around spouses of EEA/EU citizens but couldn't find a definitive answer for our specific circumstances. I am a UK National with a UK Passport and my wife is a French National with a French Passport with Settled status in the UK.
We want to do a road trip around Europe next summer which would mean spending more than 90 days out of 180 in the Schengen zone, travelling to at least 6 different Schengen countries from May-September. The purpose of the trip would be primarily tourism but we would also be visiting her family in France as part of this trip.

Obviously she has freedom of movement across the zone but would I, as her spouse and travelling together the whole time also have freedom of movement or would the 90/180 rules apply to me? Does anyone have details of specific documentation that deal with this scenario?

  • 1
    I have found it difficult to get government officials to acknowledge this, but a plain reading of the free movement directive and the Schengen Borders Code leads to the conclusion that the 90/180 rule does not apply to you in the circumstances you describe.
    – phoog
    Oct 2, 2021 at 13:37
  • I am dual UK / Irish so I can use the EU / EEA / CH queues at borders. My wife is UK only. I have had trouble bringing her in the same queue. E.g. in Copenhagen airport last year, I was told: we don't do that here. I have not made a fuss since, so far, we have not faced a very bad non-EU queue.
    – badjohn
    Apr 3, 2023 at 13:45

1 Answer 1


You are exempt as long as you are travelling with your EU spouse. Administrative formalities may apply if you stay in one country for more than 3 months consecutively.

The Practical Handbook for Border Guards, while not legally binding itself, represents the position of the European Commission on matters of interpretation on the Schengen Borders Code and other relevant Union laws.

On pages 20-21, section 2.1.2:

In the case of third-country nationals who are family members of EU, EEA and CH citizens, they have the right of residence in a Member State for a period of up to three months if they are in possession of a valid passport and are accompanying or joining the EU, EEA or CH citizen, without any limitation to 90 days in a 180-day period.

To be noted that, third-country nationals who are family members of EU, EEA and CH citizens are entitled to accompany or join the EU, EEA or CH citizen for consecutive periods of up to three months per Schengen States without any conditions or formalities (except the need to have a visa for third-country nationals from a country subject to a visa requirement).

in addition

The previous stays performed in the area without internal border controls accompanying or joining the EU, EEA or CH citizen should not be taken into account for the sake of the calculation of the compliance with the 90/180-day rule which is applicable to the short stay only.

and for examples it gives

An Indian national married to a French citizen may accompany his French spouse to Germany for three months, Spain for two months and Italy for three months, thus staying in the area without internal border controls for a total consecutive period of eight months.

A Japanese citizen is married with an Estonian citizen and has never come to the EU before. The Japanese citizen accompanies his Estonian spouse to Italy for one month. Just after that month, the Estonian spouse leaves Italy and returns to Japan to work. The Japanese citizen can remain alone for another 90 days (the limit of 90 days in any 180-day applies)

Stays over three months or establishing residence in one EU/EEA/CH country are of course allowed for a person staying together with their EU/EEA/CH spouse under freedom of movement, but the country may impose certain administrative formalities and conditions (e.g. applying for a residence permit).

For France, as it is the country of origin for your spouse, national rules may apply. But in any case, your wife has exercised her free movement rights in another (at the time) EU state (UK), so it shouldn't matter.


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