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I'm a Mexican national married to a German. We have two kids with dual nationality and have lived in Mexico since we got married five years ago. I have a job offer in the UK and we are planning to move there soon. Do we need to apply for an EEA Family Permit for me to be able to take the job, open a bank account, etc? My wife will quit her job here, we have savings to demonstrate we can live there (she will be looking for a job when we arrive) and I have a letter confirming the job offer, salary, etc. Mexicans don't need a visa to enter the UK and I have read that the EEA permit for non EEA spouses is mainly for nationals of countries that require a visa to enter the country. Can you please clarify? Many thanks

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Do we need to apply for an EEA Family Permit for me to be able to take the job, open a bank account, etc?

No. In fact, an EEA family permit won't help you to prove your right to work in the UK. For that, you'll need a residence card or a certificate of application for a residence card. For more information, see Acceptable right to work documents: an employer's guide.

My wife will quit her job here, we have savings to demonstrate we can live there (she will be looking for a job when we arrive) and I have a letter confirming the job offer, salary, etc.

You don't need any of that as long as the UK continues to implement EU freedom of movement. For more information, see Directive 2004/38/EC. But the UK is continually pushing the boundaries of what it's required to do under the directive, so also see the relevant UK government sites:

Mexicans don't need a visa to enter the UK and I have read that the EEA permit for non EEA spouses is mainly for nationals of countries that require a visa to enter the country. Can you please clarify?

That is correct; you don't need a family permit. But you might want one: The benefit of an EEA family permit would be to reduce the risk of being refused entry at the border when you apply to enter the UK.

When you arrive in the UK, you can enter without a visa only if you are a visitor or a family member of an EEA national with a right to reside in the UK. You will of course be unable to convince the immigration officer (IO) that you are a visitor, because you aren't a visitor. So the IO will need to examine your wife's passport, your passport, your marriage certificate, and your childrens' birth certificates to determine whether your relationship is genuine. If the IO decides that anything looks fishy, you could be sent back to Mexico.

On the other hand, if you apply for an EEA family permit, the examination of the documents will occur while you are still in Mexico, or wherever you are, vastly reducing your risk of being refused entry. In a case like yours, it seems unlikely that the risk is very high, so it's probably fine for you to travel to the UK without one. On the other hand, if you are particularly risk averse, or if you give high weight to the negative potential (perhaps on account of the presence of your children), you might want to apply. The EEA FP is free of charge, after all, and the application is not particularly onerous, although it could be much improved.

An additional consideration: As I understand it, you can't apply for the residence card unless your wife is a "qualified person." This implies that you won't be able to work until then. She can qualify as a job seeker, but it is much easier to do so as a worker. If you will want to work before she finds employment, pay attention to the relevant criteria in EEA nationals qualified persons, which include a requirement to be able to provide evidence that she is seeking employment and has a genuine chance of being employed.

  • not sure about the requirement for the EEA national to be qualified on arrival.... as: – Eric Gomez Apr 26 '18 at 17:33
  • @EricGomez You are correct; under the law, the non-EEA family member should be able to work immediately. The problem is that the UK has enacted a requirement for employers to review the documents of their prospective employees to ensure that they are authorized to work. For that, the non-EEA family member needs the residence card application certificate, and to file the application, as I understand it, the EEA national must be qualified. – phoog Apr 26 '18 at 18:27
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not sure about the requirement for the EEA national to be qualified on arrival for the non EEA spouse to have the right to work.... as:

Initial right of residence13.—

(1) An EEA national is entitled to reside in the United Kingdom for a period not exceeding three months beginning on the date of admission to the United Kingdom provided the EEA national holds a valid national identity card or passport issued by an EEA State.(2) A person who is not an EEA national but is a family member who has retained the right of residence or the family member of an EEA national residing in the United Kingdom under paragraph (1) is entitled to reside in the United Kingdom provided that person holds a valid passport.

  • also from Gov.UK Please note: because of the initial right of residence, the ECO cannot refuse someone on the basis that that their EEA national family member will not be a qualified person in the UK on arrival. However, if the ECO is satisfied that the EEA national has been in the UK for longer than three months, the ECO must be satisfied that the EEA national is a qualified person. – Eric Gomez Apr 26 '18 at 17:36

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