My wife (Italian citizen) and I (Commonwealth but not EEA citizen) recently moved to the UK. I had done quite a lot of research about the immigration rules before we arrived, but admittedly mostly read about what the law says rather than what people's actual experiences were.
My wife will be working here, so is a qualified person.
Our arrival at Gatwick went very smoothly, with a friendly immigration officer checking our marriage certificate and then stamping "Admitted to the United Kingdom under the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016" in my passport.
I then quickly discovered that the advice on the gov.uk website saying "You can apply for a residence card [...] to confirm your right of residence. You do not have to apply but it will make it easier to prove your right to live and work in the UK" should probably be read as "You should apply for a residence card if you want to be able to do anything official in the UK". It's very difficult to open a bank account or rent a house, for example, without a residence card.
I also quickly discovered that not every immigration officer understands the rules. We took a weekend trip to Paris, and on the way back the UK immigration officer insisted that I only had the right to live in the UK if my wife and I had been living in a different EEA country first (seemingly, he was confused with the Surinder Singh rule for UK nationals, which clearly doesn't apply since neither of us are a UK national). He did eventually relent (saying that since I'd already been allowed in once, he would let me in again, but reiterating that he didn't think it was right) but was very unhappy that I didn't have a residence card.
Applying for a residence card right now is very inconvenient because I need to travel regularly for work. If I apply, at a minimum I will be without my passport for a month (if I immediately request it back after placing the application) but possibly more. My country of citizenship doesn't offer additional passports for this type of situation.
Because of this, I have considered traveling to another EEA country and applying for an EEA Family Permit there. The EEA Family Permit seems to usually take less than 10 days to be granted. I understand that this should then let me travel in and out of the UK without any trouble for six months, and then I should be able to schedule 1-1.5 months without my passport somewhere into those six months to get the residence card. My questions are:
Is this option open to me considering that I am already living in the UK?
What should I list as my permanent address? We have already rented an apartment in the UK and I would prefer to list this since it's my correct permanent address. Will it raise an issue though?
Are there other, better options for my situation?