European Court: EU Citizens who become British can still have their families reside with them

Earlier this year, I wrote a post warning EEA nationals that if they naturalised as British citizens, they would lose their EEA freedom of movement rights, including the right to have their families reside with them.

This is how the Home Office has been interpreting the law to date.

Today however, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled in the case of Toufik Lounes v Secretary of State for the Home Department that such an interpretation is incorrect.

The case was referred to the ECJ by a High Court Judge who was examining whether the Home Office’s refusal to grant permanent residence to the Algerian husband of a Spanish national who had become British, was lawful or not.

The Court ruled that if the freedom of movement rules were to be effective, EEA citizens who move to another member state and acquire citizenship of the country, must be able to continue to have the right to build a family.

The decision is excellent news for EEA nationals like my client David (referred to in my earlier post) who can now naturalise with the confidence that he will not then lose his right to have his wife reside with him.

There is a useful 2 page press release / summary on the website of the ECJ that can be read here.,  Diary of an Immigration Lawyer, is a blog run by Fahad Ansari, the director and principal solicitor of Riverway Law, a niche UK immigration and nationality law practice based in London.  If you would like any advice or assistance in relation to your immigration matter, please do not hesitate to email me at or submit your details here.

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