What is meant by "dependent parent or even dependent grandparent" under EU Free movement rights of Union Citizens (and to bring their non-EEA family with them)? Grandparents are more likely to be dependent for one reason or the other, but parents can generally sustain themselves normally.

Does dependent mean "financially" or "health reasons"?

This Wikipedia page mentions that "dependent" means:

"Dependent" here is defined[6] as someone who is either:

systematically preparing for a future profession,

cannot systematically prepare for a future profession or perform gainful activities due to illness or injury; or

is not capable of performing systematic gainful activities due to a chronic adverse health condition.

But I can't find anything from the EU itself. The source of that wiki piece of information is a Czech Republic website.

What is your opinion?

2 Answers 2


As described in the original post, a typically dependent parent would be a parent who is disabled.

"parents can generally sustain themselves normally."

Not if they are 80 years old. All grandparents with living children are also parents.

  • I want to specifically ascertain whether parents who are merely financially dependent qualify or not. User Mark Johnson believes that I should follow the dictionary meaning of it and according to that, if I am not wrong, financial dependency can be considered as dependent in this sense as without financial resources, they won't be able to survive on their own. I am seeking more information regarding this.
    – Jay Shah
    Aug 5, 2020 at 18:32
  • Moreover, I think it is a little bit more to say that a typically dependent parent would be a parent who is disabled. That is quite a strict generality.
    – Jay Shah
    Aug 5, 2020 at 18:48
  • 2
    Financial dependence also counts. My mother in law qualified on that basis for an EEA family permit (the UK's visa-like document for third-country family members traveling to the UK under the UK's regulations transposing the free movement directive). But it is left to each country to establish criteria and to judge facts in individual circumstances. I don't think there's a lot of jurisprudence on this question, but I could be wrong.
    – phoog
    Aug 5, 2020 at 19:36
  • @phoog Sorry for flooding you with replies:-) Your mother-in-law qualified SOLELY on the basis of financial dependence? Nothing else?
    – Jay Shah
    Aug 5, 2020 at 20:17
  • 2
    Yes, and the evidence of her financial dependence was that she was registered as such with my wife's employer. However, this was only for a brief visit, so her application probably received relatively little scrutiny. Furthermore, it was several years ago, and the regulations have changed since then. But anyway the UK's regulations are only indirectly relevant to someone seeking to move to Ireland.
    – phoog
    Aug 5, 2020 at 20:21

In EU Law - it's again vague to mean different things in different contexts. I reference a few documents here that the UK and EU use, for example, in immigration cases to determine the dependency of a relative (parent/grandparent) coming to be looked after in the UK by their relative.

UK Immigration Application Form for Dependent Relatives Appendix 1: here. Living alone, home ownership, financial support, medical conditions, ability to self-care and availability of others to care for you are asked about.

There is further legislation, pertinent to the free movement within the EEA (rather than non-EU immigration) seen here and the rules here.

UK Immigration Rules EC-DR here - would clarify dependency as:

E-ECDR.2.4. The applicant or, if the applicant and their partner are the sponsor’s parents or grandparents, the applicant’s partner, must as a result of age, illness or disability require long-term personal care to perform everyday tasks.

E-ECDR.2.5. The applicant or, if the applicant and their partner are the sponsor’s parents or grandparents, the applicant’s partner, must be unable, even with the practical and financial help of the sponsor, to obtain the required level of care in the country where they are living, because-

(a) it is not available and there is no person in that country who can reasonably provide it; or (b) it is not affordable.

Dependency has been challenged a number of times in the European Courts. The relevant regulation is Regulation 7(1)(c). This provides that for the purpose of the EU Regulations, dependent direct relatives in the ascending line of the spouse or civil partner of the EU national should be treated as family members.

"Applications will usually succeed if enough evidence of material or emotional support is provided and if it is demonstrated that having regard to the financial and social conditions, the dependent relative would not be in a position to support himself/herself without the EU worker’s help. The need for material support must exist in the state of origin of the relative, or the state where they came to be at the time when they joined the community member."

from here.

In Ireland, there are further considerations, beyond the notion of dependency the sponsor has to meet: here

As you can see, it is quite a broad consideration. I hope this helps :)

  • 1
    Your link is to Appendix FM does not apply to those entering the UK under the free movement system. The applicable appendix is Appendix EU, and that only applies to the settlement scheme. Before the end of the transition period, the relevant law is found in the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016.
    – phoog
    Aug 5, 2020 at 19:50
  • @phoog I believe that the Irish document that DrDee provided is about Irish Citizens and PR holders who wish to bring their family members to Ireland and NOT those who want to exercise EU free movement treaty rights for them and their non-EEA family. Could you please confirm?
    – Jay Shah
    Aug 5, 2020 at 19:54
  • I was surprised to see requirements (for the sponsor) in the document like "proof of 3 years sufficient income after taxation". I did not expect EU citizens who might relocate to Ireland with their non-EEA family members ought to provide proof of sufficient Irish income for the past three years.
    – Jay Shah
    Aug 5, 2020 at 19:59
  • 1
    Indeed, you are correct - but the question was "what is meant by dependent parents under EU law" - so I was just looking to give some examples. I see now that this discussion has stemmed from another question thread, so I can add these comments to my answer. :-)
    – DrDee
    Aug 5, 2020 at 20:03
  • @DrDee That is my mistake really. I just posted this question with the context in my mind but dismissed that context which I should have mentioned in the question. I am going to edit the question to make it a bit more clear. Thanks:)
    – Jay Shah
    Aug 5, 2020 at 20:07

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