Consider a (so far hypothetical) situation like this: Jack is a non-French EU citizen living in France. Jin, his spouse, is a Chinese citizen. She has a French residence card (titre de séjour directive 2004/38/CE) as spouse of an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen.

My understanding from this page is that she cannot travel within the Schengen area unaccompanied by Jack. Is this correct?

Now the main question: Jin travels to China alone and has a return ticket back to France which involves a transfer through Germany. Does she need a visa to return? If yes, a visa to which country? Please consider both the case of single ticket to destination and separate tickets for the two legs of the journey.

I find the linked article a bit confusing. Also, the example it presents about travelling alone is to a non-Schengen country (Cyprus). I would appreciate it if you could back up any answers with appropriate references. It's always good to know what to reference when needing to clarify things with a checking desk or border control.

  • Also note that the text always mentions “travelling together with you or travelling to join you in another EU country” (my emphasis). If Jin presents herself alone at the border checkpoint but is on her way to join Jack (whether at their place of residence or on holiday or whatever), then in principle freedom of movement applies fully.
    – Relaxed
    Sep 9, 2016 at 13:04

1 Answer 1


Your understanding is not correct, she can in fact enter Germany without a visa, like all holders of residence documents from Schengen countries. This is not based on the freedom of movement at all (which is why it does not require her to be with her husband) but on the Schengen Borders code, article 6(1)(b) and applies even to regular residence permit (i.e. for people who reside somewhere in the Schengen area as students, workers, etc. without any relationship to an EU citizen).

Technically, when visiting another Schengen countries, residence permit holders must fulfill all conditions for visitors (sufficient financial means, etc.) but there is even an explicit exception for transit: If you are travelling back to your country of residence (and can prove it with a ticket), these conditions can be waived. In practice, if you have a residence card for family member of an EU citizen, your rights are so strong that border guards rarely bother beyond establishing that you really are the holder of the card.

The example you noticed pertains to non-Schengen countries (there are hardly visible bullet points in the page) and is only valid there.

  • Edited: The Schengen Borders code has been recodified, current reference is article 6(1)(b)
    – Relaxed
    Sep 9, 2016 at 13:13

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