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Author Topic: Questions on HIV+ and Immigrating to Europe  (Read 2702 times)

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Offline beaubrent

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  • Posts: 44
Questions on HIV+ and Immigrating to Europe
« on: February 22, 2008, 08:37:04 AM »
I have an unusual situation.

I've been positive since 2002, and during that time I've been most concerned with the fact that HIV would keep me in the U.S. I love to travel and living in other places around the world has always been a dream.

In 2003, while riding a bike in the northern part of France and Germany, I fell in love with a Frenchman. It wasn't supposed to last, but when our visit ended, we kept going back and forth across the pond to visit one another. Over the years, it has become clear that we intend to stay together. Now we go back and forth every six weeks for months at a time on visitor's visas and, four years and some change since we started, we have now decided to end the distance and move to Belgium to get married.

So far as we can tell in the research we've done, my getting married to a citizen of the E.U. in Belgium means that any concern about my HIV would be waived. Provided he satisfies the three months requirement to live in Belgium (he will move there from France) and we are married, it is my understanding that there are no special health hoops to jump through. I'd like some other opinions on this, though. When planning such a big move, I don't want to leave any room for disappointment. Maybe it's just that as an HIV positive man, I am used to dealing with limitations and I'm expecting that this can't be as easy as it looks.

Does anyone have any insight on this? Any cold water to throw on our plans? Or, better yet, does this look as black and white as it appears? Is "marriage" really the magic HIV-doesn't-matter answer to immigration laws?


When I found out I had HIV,

I woke up and started living.

Offline jonsi

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  • i'd rather dance with you than talk to you
Re: Questions on HIV+ and Immigrating to Europe
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2008, 08:08:19 AM »

If things are like in the Netherlands (and i believe they are), then you probably won't even be asked anything about your health. Given the fact that he is not a Belgian citizien, but French, once you get there and get married you'll be treated as a family member of a EU citizen, not a Belgian citizen, which is far less restrictive. For example, if you were to get married with a Belgian citizen, the controls are a lot stronger: like proof that you know each other, you'll probably need to ask for a visa prior your arrival to Belgium, etc. Since you'll get married with someone who is a EU citizen in Belgium, you have the same rights as your partner: that is, no visa or working permit is needed. You'll be granted a residence permit (which will allow you to work) with the same duration as your partner. It will also cost the same as the one your Frenchman will get. Also, there's no reason why he wouldn't get a residence (which will be anywyas for a period of 5 years) unless the Belgian government thinks he is an undesired person (like if he's a criminal wanted by the French or Belgian law, etc), or if he fails to find a job in less than three months, in which case he can always go back to France and re enter Belgium after a while.

I'm telling all this as I also got married (a long time before I was HIV+) with a Swiss citizen in the Netherlands. I was never asked any question related to health and never had to show that i wasn't infected with anything in particular, not even a cold. Actually there are no problems at all, and I know by comparison with other couples (other foreigners marrying Dutch people) that it is a lot easier when the country you marry is not the country of your partner, since then EU law applies, not the national law. In any case no health issues are discussed, and if they were to be discussed, bear in mind it is against EU policy to deny entry on basis of HIV status.

I'll say, do not worry so much, there's no problem at all.... and if Belgium fails, try Holland ;-) it's just around the corner and I tell you, there a re a lot more work opportunities for foreigners than in belgium, I also know that by first hand experience and some friends who have tried moving to belgium.

Good luck!
ţetta er ágćtis byrjun...


Offline livingpos

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  • Posts: 30
Re: Questions on HIV+ and Immigrating to Europe
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2008, 10:38:16 PM »

I have recently been doing a lot of research on HIV policies in Europe because I wanted to apply for jobs there. Here is a bit of what I learned, hope its helpful:
(1) Do not rely on information on the net, its sometimes wrong and often out of date
(2) The best way to get information is to make an appointment with higher ranking staff (not front desk staff) at an embassy. Initially I felt quite embarassed walking into someones office saying "I have a job offer in your country but I also have HIV..." I was very pleasantly suprised by the enlightened attitudes. HIV is approached as any other illness and not in some special prejudiced category of its own. Most ambassies were very proud to be able to offer the same health care they would offer their own citizens.
(3) Very few european countries ask for any kind of health test. Norway for example does, but that is not to exclude HIV persons but to identify medical needs and make sure they are covered.
(4) the above information is true for the EU / Schengen states but not for some eastern european states like Hungary.
(5) HIV status has no bearing on civil unions. If the couple meets the civil union requirements thats it.

At the end of my job search I got a job in Zurich. While Switzerland does not fall under the EU the regulations are pretty similar. No issues with HIV and no questions or health information required for work permit or residence. Civil union requirements do not require any health information either. Once i am resident my partner and I submit the paperwork requesting acknowledgment of civil union.

I would simply reiterate that the internet is not the best source of information for the questions you have. Really do your self a favor for peace of mind, call up the embassy make an appointment and have a frank cards-on-the-table conversation. I for one was very suprised and greatly relieved. I do understand what you mean about not wanting to leave anything to chance.

best wishes to you

Offline John2038

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Re: Questions on HIV+ and Immigrating to Europe
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2008, 12:10:16 AM »
Poz or neg, happy PACS, because EU won't consider your status at all to allow you to marry.

Be happy !

Offline Poz Brit

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Re: Questions on HIV+ and Immigrating to Europe
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2008, 07:15:01 AM »
I doubt that you will be asked, it’s only the USA and a few other countries where HIV is for export only? But check out Heath insurance as some European countries require this even if you emigrate from an other EU country. Also I’ve known of a couple of people who gave up there heath cover in the USA, eventually had to return and had difficulty getting cover because of there status.       

Offline John2038

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  • Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
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Re: Questions on HIV+ and Immigrating to Europe
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2008, 11:04:10 AM »
In the EU, in most countries, like in FRA and  CH, the base insurance will cover you, poz or neg.

Offline beaubrent

  • Member
  • Posts: 44
Re: Questions on HIV+ and Immigrating to Europe
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2008, 07:26:37 AM »
Thank you all, especially Jonsi, for the insight. That's what I was hoping to hear. I think I will try to walk into an embassy to talk to someone, too, at least to get all the right forms. Settling overseas is a scary enough idea already, but making sure that HIV doesn't compound it is important.

All that's left to it now is to get a bit of French and Dutch into my head before I go! Time for adventure...
When I found out I had HIV,

I woke up and started living.

Offline water duck

  • Member
  • Posts: 404
Re: Questions on HIV+ and Immigrating to Europe
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2008, 08:13:45 AM »
it is illegally for anyone to do a HIV test without your consent, to my knowledge.
if you are applying for a job, it is also illegally to do that, except if you are going into the Police.
in the European Institute, there was tests done on your cd4, an indirect way to go around it, this case was brought to court, there was condemnation based on violation of humans right. now they don't do it anymore.

there are afew clauses put into place , otherwise, there is no major problems ;
here are certain things that you must prove:
if you want to marry in Belgium, then your BF must prove residency here.
you need to prove you are having a relationship - like phone bills to prove you are in constant contract ; stamps on my passport to the country of your BF, dig out what ever prove you can find - restaurant , trams, bus ....................bills
then you will given a visa for a short stay before your marriage is finalize.
there is a medical examination to be done but it will be the classical one - x-ray .....etc.
at this moment , to the best of my knowledge, there is no obligation for HIV testing.
i shall get Herman's attention on  , meanwhile, i hope i had been of help.


PS : herman - heartforyou
you can always PM me should you have questions in this regards

Offline ryeguy

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  • Posts: 173
Re: Questions on HIV+ and Immigrating to Europe
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2008, 03:55:39 PM »
Greetings from Berlin,

As I have been living here for many years and am hiv pos I think I may be able to help you here.

If you would be applying for a visa longer than 6 months, and not be married to a German citezen, a hiv test would be required before a visa would be given. However, if you are married to a European citezen the test is not required.

Be very careful about which countries recognise the homo-marrige, the laws, rights, and responsibilities for same sex married couples are from country to country different here in Europe. Here in Germany one has to accept a lot of responsibilities for ones partner, but in turn gets few rights. One thing that is garante ed is the visa and work permit.

If you have any further questions you may send me a private message.

Rion Turner

Offline Ivan

  • Member
  • Posts: 45
Re: Questions on HIV+ and Immigrating to Europe
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2008, 06:36:08 PM »
i agree with Rion.
i am in germany too, but i have just a student-visa now. and i had told my doctor that i want to stay here in germany later,when i will have been graduated. and he had suggested me to marry with a german man. because he thought, that it is the best way and the safest way for me. the reason is it would be not sure whether i could find a job here in order to become a work-visa. although i could get a work-visa, it is not sure how long i can work with that job. in germany, 8 years long work experieces in germany , and 5 years long payment for social insurence would be at least required, when you want to apply a long-term resisdence. all the things would be difficult for me, my doctor thought. so he told me that the easiest way is to marry a german man. and i think the politics here in germany are better than in france. but it is just my opinion. i do not know that exactly.

but i am not 100% in his opinion. i would not like to marry a man ,who i even don't love. of course , when i find someone here in germany, who i really deeply love, i will marry him. but it could not be the exclusive way for me.
so, i am trying to build my own career now here in germany. and i hope all the things will be fine. of course i hope too, that i could get help from the friends here , when i need. :-)

and i wish you all the best and good luck!   beaubrent

sep.2006  HIV+ diagnosed
feb. 2007  cd4 638  VL 10130
may. 2007 cd4 530  VL  4832
sep. 2007  cd4 430  VL 10482
dec.2007   cd4 503  VL 18356
Jul. 2008   cd4 608   VL  9683
oct. 2008  cd4 630   VL  10368
jan. 2009  cd4 558    VL 50243 (because i have had a fult in spain)
Nov.2010 cd4 418  VL 28597 (still not on Therapy, but need to begin)
Dec. 2010 Therapy with Atripla began


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