Freedom of Movement – Concept, instances and limitations

We explain what freedom of movement is, why it is one of Human Rights and what instances it currently applies to.

freedom of movement
Freedom of movement is always limited by local law.

What is freedom of movement?

Freedom of movement or freedom of movement is one of the fundamental human rights, according to which everyone has the right to move freely within a given country, or from one country to another, as long as it does so within the parameters of respect for freedom and the rights of others.

This means that any human being is guaranteed the right to move from one country to another, to reside in a country, leave it and return later, as long as you do it within the regular and legal channels. The latter means that this right does not grant anyone permission to freely enter a country other than their own, but must do so by obeying the rules in force there.

That is why the States can reject the application for the filing of a foreign citizen, in accordance with their own laws and provisions, since freedom of movement does not imply individual or collective migratory freedom.

The right to free movement is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in article 13 which reads:

  • Everyone has the right to move freely and to choose his residence in the territory of a State.
  • Everyone has the right to leave any country, including their own, and to return to their country.

This human right is among the first generation rights or civil rights, and it applies to three fundamental instances:

  • The freedom to circulate within a country. No one can forcibly prevent a person from moving within a nation, except in situations of force majeure in which their displacement jeopardizes the fundamental rights of others, such as in the case of epidemics or criminals prosecuted by justice.
  • The freedom to move between countries without changing residence. That is, the freedom to travel wherever we want, as long as it is with tourist or professional intentions, and not with the intention of permanently settling in a foreign place.
  • The freedom to move between countries with change of residence. No one can prevent us from leaving a country legally, nor can they prevent us from legally resettling in another country, again, as long as it is done legally and we do not violate the fundamental rights of others.

In short, freedom of movement translates into the free choice of where we want to be and where we want to live and for how long, provided that said choices are made in accordance with the provisions of the law, or in any case paying attention and respect. to the fundamental human rights of others.