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My wife will be applying for a UK residence card soon. She is Argentinian. I understand that the HO will keep both of our passports (I am the British citizen) until the decision is made.

Is there any possibility of her getting her passport back so that she can go to Argentina for a family event? Alternatively, would a copy of her passport satisfy airlines/border agency etc? She has an Argentine ID card, which will suffice for getting in and out of Argentina with the passport copy, but I doubt that would be acceptable here.

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A copy of her passport is absolutely useless for crossing borders, and therefore for boarding airplanes. They are simply too easy to falsify.

Your best hope would be the European Passport Return Service, but there are conditions for using the service, so it's only an option for you if you meet those conditions.

Alternatively, some countries will issue a second passport to those whose first passports are tied up in visa applications. My Spanish is not good enough to find out quickly whether Argentina is such a country, but the UK does issue them under some circumstances.

  • You can use the European Passport Return Service if you apply for a residence permit based on EU rights: as a British citizen it usually means that you have been living together in another EU country before – SztupY Mar 14 '18 at 19:00
  • @SztupY there are other conditions. For example, you have to have applied for the residence certificate online. The term "residence card" in the question implies that OP is using the Surinder Singh route (this is also evident from his other questions). If he were sponsoring his wife under the immigration rules, she would be receiving a "biometric residence permit" rather than a "residence card." But I wonder whether a British citizen who qualifies under Surinder Singh can apply for a residence certificate as an EU national. – phoog Mar 14 '18 at 20:04

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