In connection with a new issuance of documents for citizens of the European Union, the Czech Ministry of the Interior proposes to change the definition of the term “family member” for people coming to the Czech Republic from some of the EU member states.
If this new amendment is passed, the term “family member” will be defined more precisely, which means that it will apply only to the closest relatives.
Family Member versus Relative
According to the Minister of the Interior, this amendment reacts to a European Union regulation that would provide identity cards and residence permits issued to EU citizens with stronger security. However, this also means that some documents will have to be replaced completely; it is estimated that the change would affect tens of thousands of people living in the Czech Republic.
At the same time, however, in accordance with the agreement on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, this law allows those British citizens who resided legally in the Czech Republic until the end of 2020 to continue their stay in the Czech Republic.
The new law would change the way the term “family member” is defined in the case of EU expats living in the Czech Republic. Up until now, there has been no legal difference between family members such as the spouses, children, or parents of an EU citizen and so-called beneficiaries, such as unmarried partners or people dependent on the care of an EU citizen. Because of the fact that so far, there has not been a legal difference between the two aforementioned groups so far, both of them had the same legal status and thus the same rights and obligations.
The definition plays a great role in family reunification, which helped many expats return to the Czech Republic during the first wave of coronavirus that occurred in the spring of 2020. However, according to the Ministry of the Interior, such a procedure is not a common practice in other countries, nor is it, as they claim, justified.
What Does This Mean for Expats?
Up until now, expats from member states of the EU have been allowed to bring, for example, their partners with them, even if they haven’t married them yet, or dependent persons. If the bill is approved, this won’t be possible anymore, though. In other words, this means that in the future, only close family members, such as spouses, children, and parents, would be entitled to a temporary or permanent residence card.
Entering the Czech Republic would be still easier for people falling into the other group of family members than it is for people from non-EU countries, however, they wouldn’t be automatically entitled to enter the Czech Republic. At the same time, their residence permits would be valid for a longer period of time and wouldn’t have to prove the purpose of their stay.
This should supposedly prevent any abuse of the law and the social system and mitigate possible security risks. According to the Minister of the Interior, Jan Hamáček, there have been even many cases of targeted partnership agreements with people from outside the EU.
The bill would not be retroactive, which means that it would only affect those who will arrive in the country after the bill is approved. The people who already live in the Czech Republic using these programs will be allowed to stay.
The bill was already approved by the Security Committee on January 7 and sent back to the House of Commons. This means that it is likely the bill will soon be approved and put into effect.
Written by Foreigners – a relocation agency providing complex services for expats in the Czech Republic