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I'm a UK citizen and my wife is non EU. We are currently in Spain and undergoing the residency process. Eventually ( probably after 6 to 9 months' of self-sufficiency in Spain) we will come to the UK with her Article 10 res card but no family Permit. My question is, what do we say at the airport? Do we show the RC and say we are using Surinder Singh and then apply for the UK Rc asap, or do we just come in ( her) as a tourist and get the 6 month stamp. She is Argentinian so needs no visa and she has visited 4 times in the past and always left within time.

  • I'm sure you know but just for completeness I'd like to mention that your Argentinian wife will have a right to Spanish nationality after just two years of legal residence in Spain. Not sure how the timing will play but it's something to consider. – Diego Sánchez Sep 2 '17 at 9:53
  • Yes Diego, we are aware of that and it is something we are bearing in mind. Thanks for commenting. – Kevin Armstrong Sep 2 '17 at 14:43
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At the moment (and probably for the next two years), any EU citizen has the right to move to the UK and work there and bring their wife - except UK citizens. But having lived in Spain for 6 to 9 months, you can move to the UK not because you are a UK citizen, but because you make use of your EU citizen's right to move to any EU country, and bring your wife.

Since your wife wants to become a permanent resident in the UK, that is how you should proceed, and not let her come in as a tourist.

Now what happens in 2019 when the UK leaves the EU, and what that will do to the Surinder Singh route, that's a very interesting question, and I suppose nobody knows the answer (except that UKIP will want your wife OUT). I'd study all the ways how she can get permanent residence in the UK and try to find what works quickest.

  • As an addition to the question and answer, I have become concerned about how the UK would view a return to the UK under SS rules. – Kevin Armstrong Apr 27 '17 at 8:19
  • I am concerned about the medical insurance position for us. Until 13/5 we can use our EHIC cards. After that, to apply for residence we must have medical insurance and that has to run for at least 1 year.On 6/9 I will be 65 and so will get cover under the S1 form. How will the UK view the period without private cover for SS purposes? Our Spanish lawyer says we can carry on as we are, there wil be no problem under Spanish law waiting until September, but she can't comment on the SS route implications. – Kevin Armstrong Apr 27 '17 at 8:30
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have you made your journey yet? Like gnasher said you should just show your wife's RC - do not get a tourist stamp unless you intend to comply with the tourist condition of intention to leave within 6 months. Also, visitor/tourist status cannot be changed in-country to any other category so best stay away for that.

I'll share my 'entering the UK on article 10 RC' experience with you. I'm British and wife is non-EU and we're currently living in the Netherlands. We've visited UK together 3 times in the last 6 months.

First time through Calais, UK border post just asked where we were coming from and let us drive through. Second time we took a flight from Murcia. Before boarding they made us wait a bit at the boarding gate as they wanted to stamp my wife's passport. On arrival at the UK immigration desk they didn't even stamp the passport and let us through NQA.

Third time was totally different. Again through calais. This time the border post guy suggested that we should've applied for Family permit beforehand which he said was free and took 2 weeks. He then referred us for investigation so we had to get off the car and go into the immigration building. Here, the officer at the desk expected us to have documents for SS in order - registration with doctor, centre of life proof, accommodation contract, language etc etc. We didn't have all of that available so we were refused entry and told we had to go back gather the surinder singh evidence and apply for an EEA family permit first.

I'd saved a copy of this on my iPad, that I tried to quote but the officer wasn't interested:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/entering-the-uk-as-the-holder-of-an-article-10-residence-card/entering-the-uk-as-the-holder-of-an-article-10-residence-card

Here it clearly states that all we need along the RC is to carry proof of our relationship (and of course passport). I had our marriage certificate with us. So I stood my ground and told the officer at the desk that I knew I had the right to enter just like I'd entered the previous 2 times as well. The SS proof she was asking me was evidence needed for when I apply for UKRC (for my wife) but she didn't budge shouting at us telling us not to tell her how to do her job. She kept on saying the rules had changed and that SS evidence was compulsory now

I asked to speak to the head immigration officer(having seen tons of UK Border tv programmes on Dave helped!) who listened to us and gave us these options: Go back, produce the SS evidence or agree to be detained and interviewed individually which could take hours and in case of a refusal it would be recorded. She tried to convince us that we didn't stand a chance if we didn't produce SS evidence in the interview and would most likely be refused. But we opted for the interviews anyway being confident of our rights.

We went through the ordeal which in all took almost 10 hours of delay with no food or sleep most of it spent sitting on the hard plastic chairs. The interviews were very thorough and carried out politely and professionally but the front line officers at the desk treated us like criminals. Their behaviour with us was appalling to say the least. In the end, they let us through and gave us a note for the ferry for them to let us on the next one.

This has turned out to be one protracted post! But I hope it helps plan your entry if that’s yet to come…

Have you done much research about the medical insurance? From your post it seems for the UKRC it's required. I still have to research this and need answers to questions like can my non-EU wife register for the GP using the dutch RC? Is dutch issued EHIC compulsory? What happens in the intervening time between arriving in UK and applying for the UKRC?

  • Thanks for the info gadgets. No, we haven't returned to the UK yet. It will be early next year when we attempt it. – Kevin Armstrong Sep 1 '17 at 9:13
  • We have heard of people applying successfully from a tourist visa, hence my question. We know of people with an EU stamp with no time limit whilst others have a 6 month period. All of these are recent events. Anyway, we will just turn up and see, flight from Malaga to Liverpool, Ryanair, one way.No adverse immigration history. – Kevin Armstrong Sep 1 '17 at 9:20
  • We will apply for a UKRC about 3 months' after arriving and will get CSI for my wife then as I will be self-sufficient. In the meantime we will use the drop in centre for medical stuff or as a visitor for her at the GP/dentist where I will register. Quite frankly, the whole thing is a mess and can only get worse with all the Brexit stuff still to be sorted.I suspect in your case, if you're working and paying NI then CSI is not required. I can't help re EHIC, sorry. – Kevin Armstrong Sep 1 '17 at 9:29
  • Thanks for sharing your story. The UK border force really are scum, and it's hell if they target you. I hope your RC application goes better. – user Sep 8 '17 at 21:37
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    @KevinArmstrong With respect to the tourist stamp, it should not matter. There is a provision in the EEA regulations 2016 that explicitly waives conditions imposed under the immigration rules while a person qualifies for a benefit under the EEA regulations. – phoog Oct 17 '17 at 15:52
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This is terrifying. As I write this, my wife has just returned from Madrid, having collected her passport from the Visa Processing facility. We didn't get the FP because I had provided no information on my income (primarily because like 90% of the Expat populace, I've been working for cash in hand although registered as self-employed).

But there's more. I have rented a house in England, having had to come early because all our stuff and the two dogs were on a truck on its way to the UK. Tomorrow, I fly back to Alicante, collect her and intend to come through using only her Spanish RC.

We had tried to cancel the FP application but it seems that was impossible and it went through its ever-so-slow motions, and her passport arrived in Madrid almost two weeks late. Our story will be, and it's quite correct, that I had no idea that after thirteen years in Spain, and two and a half for my wife, that we would have any problem at all, as nobody in their right mind would assume that we were circumventing the immigration rules. Hence I provided none of my non-existent wage slips. In Spain, things are different as the saying goes, and a payslip/proof of having paid tax is not usual.

As far as integrating into Spain goes, I'm (virtually) fluent in Spanish. We were heavily involved in a local dog charity - I was secretary and we were the ones who collected the coin boxes and banked the proceeds, and also with a local club. We have a couple of references to that effect.

It appears that we are going to face one hell of a battle, and although I'm up for it, I suspect my wife is not quite so aggressive in defending herself. Very worried!

  • Pay slips should not be necessary for an EEAFP application. If they're claiming that you need them for the "centre of life" test then that's another matter, but it should not affect her ability to travel with you on an article 10 card. Your degree of integration will be at issue for the residence card application, though. But since this is a question and answer site... do you have a question or an answer? – phoog Aug 15 '18 at 0:54

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