The European Court of Justice has ruled that a third-country national who holds a residence permit as a family member of an EU citizen can obtain long-term resident status. The case involved a Ghanaian mother and her son, who has Dutch nationality.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided in favor of a woman seeking long-term residence rights in the Netherlands, saying that EU law covered her residence as a family member of an EU citizen.
The law examined in the case was an EU directive aimed at the integration of third-country nationals who are de-facto long-term residents of an EU member state.
Creating a precedence
The Ghanaian woman who had filed the case had reportedly first obtained a temporary residence permit in 2013 as a family member of her son. This was on the basis that her son was dependent on her and was an immediate family member.
In 2019, she applied for a long-term residence permit, referring to the EU directive, which determines the residence of third-country nationals, who have legally resided in the same EU country for more than five years. Third-country nationals who fall in this category have to be treated like EU citizens according to this law.
The Dutch authorities, however, refused to implement the directive, arguing that the right of residence as a family member was only of a temporary nature.
Easier access to long-term stay permits for parents?
The woman took the case to the ECJ, and won her case. The court argued that the relationship between mother and son is one of dependence and can therefore not be argued as being of short and temporary duration — as would be the case in a student exchange or an au-pair program.
The ECJ decision could set a precedent, allowing non-EU parents of EU children easier access to long-term stay permits. The case can now be cited as case law in similar scenarios.
However, the court's ruling only applies to the Ghanaian mothers's case and future court cases -- the authorities in the Netherlands and other EU countries are not required to revise past stay permit decisions.