16

I have checked this question and this question as well, but neither fits our case. My children are SEND if that makes any difference.

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  • 40
    You can never go wrong with "All Passports".
    – Hilmar
    May 6 at 12:40
  • 3
    This is controlled by the Schengen Borders Code. Since the UK was never part of the Schengen area, the answers to the other questions did not readily apply, even when the UK was in the EU (and irrespective of any other differences in your circumstances).
    – Relaxed
    May 6 at 13:34
  • 1
    travel.stackexchange.com/questions/173363/… is more directly relevant even if there are some nuances.
    – Relaxed
    May 6 at 13:47
  • 10
    @Thomas, I have never seen a family line in any EU border control area.
    – Willeke
    May 7 at 6:02
  • 1
    @Relaxed The Republic of Ireland was never part of the Schengen area either, but the images shows the Irish flag sharing a queue with the EU.
    – Kaz
    May 8 at 14:29

3 Answers 3

24

You should have the right to go through the EU passport lane. This stems from the Schengen Borders Code article 10 (1) and article 2 (5)(a), read together with article 3 (2)(a) of directive 2004/38/EC.

It's not as clear cut as the rights spouses enjoy as it depends on your children being dependent on you. However, that would usually be the case for minor children living with their parents, especially if they have special needs. It would not readily apply if they do not live with you, are (non-dependent) adults, or if you were travelling alone obviously.

For completeness sake, note that all of this technically would not apply if the country you are trying to enter is also your children's country of citizenship.

All of you definitely and explicitely have the right to go through an “all passports” lane as well.

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    I’d also note that there’s no penalty for taking the wrong queue. Worst case scenario you’ll be asked to go to the other line.
    – JonathanReez
    May 6 at 17:38
  • 1
    On its face, the directive does not provide for derivative freedom of movement for a parent unless the parent is dependent on the child.
    – phoog
    May 6 at 22:03
  • 3
    @JonathanReez - I've gotten in the EU line as a US citizen. They told me I was in the wrong line and then processed me anyways. They didn't seem to care at all. YMMV.
    – noslenkwah
    May 7 at 13:45
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    @noslenkwah I think different countries handle this eventuality differently. I've also heard stories of mixed EU and non-EU couples being sent to the back of the other line (despite the directive). So mileage may vary indeed.
    – phoog
    May 7 at 17:05
19

The approach I take is:

  1. Ask them. There is almost always someone directing people to lines. Explain your situation and ask which line to join.
  2. If there isn't someone to ask, join the EU line.

My experience is that officers are fine with mixed-passport families coming through the EU line. It's usually more hassle for them to refuse you than to process you. If they tell you "no you shouldn't come though here" then you know for next time.

This isn't a big deal. You won't get refused, or given extra scrutiny, just because you joined the wrong line.

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  • 18
    Number 1 has not really been my experience in the EU.
    – Relaxed
    May 6 at 14:02
  • 2
    This is my experience as well, coming into EU occasionally with my wife (non-EU citizen), we stood in the non-EU line once and the agent basically asked us why we stood a long queue when we could've gone to the EU line. We always did after that and they've always accepted it.
    – Tom
    May 7 at 10:39
  • 1
    "officers are fine with mixed-passport families coming through the EU line": in particular, it would take longer to examine their relationships to determine whether the directive actually applies (in which case they have a right to use that line) than to process them and send them on their way.
    – phoog
    May 7 at 17:07
1

You should take your children with you through the non-EU ("All passports") queue.

Some answers to the questions you linked mention that you might get lucky in the EU queue, as they don't split up families, but I wouldn't rely on that goodwill (and on their ability process people who don't benefit from freedom of movement).

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    The OP might in fact benefit from the freedom of movement, that's the gist of the question. Since third-country citizens are definitely allowed to use this lane in some cases, border guards should definitely be able to process them (including stamping their passport). If they are not, it's not a lack of goodwill but a clear violation of the law.
    – Relaxed
    May 6 at 13:51
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    I (EU citizen, non EU wife) was specifically told by a border agent when I went through the non-EU queue with her that next time we both should go through the EU queue. We've done that ever since and have never had any trouble. If this is just goodwill and not a policy, then all of the border agents in all of the countries we've entered this way are good willed. :-)
    – Tom
    May 7 at 10:41
  • 2
    @Tom but spouses unambiguously enjoy derivative freedom of movement. A non-EU parent of a dependent EU child is another matter. But passport inspectors don't have a lot of time to consider the finer points of free movement law; they'll mostly just process the family and send them on their way.
    – phoog
    May 7 at 17:10
  • 2
    @phoog It’s literally the job of passport inspectors to consider the finer points of free movement law. But they may not have time to do so where it’s not relevant to your eligibility for admission.
    – Mike Scott
    May 8 at 11:23

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