Bundesministerin für Inneres
(Request for a preliminary ruling from the Verwaltungsgerichtshof)
(Reference for a preliminary ruling — Right to family reunification — Directive 2003/86/EC — Article 4(5) — Provision of national law under which the sponsor and his/her spouse must have reached the age of 21 by the date on which the application for family reunification is lodged — Interpretation in conformity with EU law)
Summary — Judgment of the Court (Second Chamber), 17 July 2014
Border controls, asylum and immigration — Immigration policy — Right to family reunification — Directive 2003/86 — National law requiring the sponsor and his/her spouse to have reached the age of 21 by the date on which the application for family reunification is lodged — Lawfulness
(Council Directive 2003/86, Art. 4(5))
Article 4(5) of Directive 2003/86 on the right to family reunification must be interpreted as meaning that that provision does not preclude a rule of national law requiring that spouses and registered partners must have reached the age of 21 by the date when the application seeking to be considered family members entitled to reunification is lodged.
The minimum age fixed by the Member States by virtue of Article 4(5) of Directive 2003/86 ultimately corresponds with the age at which, according to the Member State concerned, a person is presumed to have acquired sufficient maturity not only to refuse to enter into a forced marriage but also to choose voluntarily to move to a different country with his or her spouse, in order to lead a family life with him or her there and to become integrated there.
A measure requiring the sponsor and his or her spouse to have attained the prescribed minimum age by the date when the application is lodged does not prevent the exercise of the right to family reunification nor render it excessively difficult.
Furthermore, taking the date when the application for family reunification is lodged as the point by reference to which it must be determined whether the minimum age condition is satisfied is consistent with the principles of equal treatment and legal certainty.
(see paras 15-17, 19, operative part)