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My girlfriend and I are going to marry in Brazil next month (she is from Brazil, I am from Hungary - and hence an EU citizen). After we have the translated and apostilled marriage certification, and we go together to London, at the airport do they let her in only with this certificate? I have lived in London for 2 and a half years, pay tax, have a place to live, everything.

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After we have the translated and apostilled marriage certification, and we go together to London, at the airport do they let her in only with this certificate?

This answer applies because, as a citizen of Brazil, your wife does not require a visa to fly to the UK. People who travel with a passport that does require a visa to fly to the UK will generally need to get an EEA family permit in these circumstances. Your fiancée may want to get one to reduce stress at the border, but it is not required in her case.

There are two relevant laws, the first being the European Union Directive 2004/38/EC and the second being the UK's Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016.

The directive states that to exercise their right of entry, family members who qualify for freedom of movement "shall only be required to have an entry visa in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 or, where appropriate, with national law." (Article 5(2)). I believe the intention of this is to say that for countries such as the UK where Regulation 539/2001 does not apply, the visa is to be required only of those who normally require a visit visa. But the UK does not say this explicitly in its regulations.

Nonetheless, under the directive, anyone may prove their eligibility to enter at the border (where a country may elect to issue a visa at the border or simply admit the person). That is in Article 5(4), which reads in part

Where...a family member who is not a national of a Member State does not have...the necessary visas, the Member State concerned shall, before turning them back, give such persons every reasonable opportunity to...prove by other means that they are covered by the right of free movement and residence.

(I've edited the passage to remove some irrelevant "or" phrases.)

The UK implements this provision of the directive in regulation 11(4), quoted here in its entirety:

(4) Before an immigration officer refuses admission to the United Kingdom to a person under this regulation because the person does not produce on arrival a document mentioned in paragraph (1) or (2), the immigration officer must provide every reasonable opportunity for the document to be obtained by, or brought to, the person or allow the person to prove by other means that the person is—

(a) an EEA national;

(b) a family member of an EEA national with a right to accompany that EEA national or join that EEA national in the United Kingdom;

(c) a person who meets the criteria in paragraph (5); or

(d) a family member who has retained the right of residence or a person with a right of permanent residence under regulation 15.

Reading only the parts that apply to you, it says:

Before an immigration officer refuses admission to the United Kingdom to a person under this regulation because the person does not produce on arrival a document mentioned in paragraph (1) or (2), the immigration officer must...allow the person to prove by other means that the person is...a family member of an EEA national with a right to accompany that EEA national or join that EEA national in the United Kingdom....

So, you can show up at the border with the same set of documents you'd need for an EEA family permit application, and the officers should accept them. It might be less stressful to have the EEA family permit in hand before you depart for the UK, however.

To apply for an EEA family permit, or just to see what documents you need, you can visit the gov.UK site. (There you will also learn that if you have already been granted "pre-settled status," your wife could apply for an EU settlement scheme family permit.)

The basic documents you'll need to provide are shown there.

  • Your wife's passport (proof of identity)
  • Your passport or ID card (proof of your EU citizenship)
  • Your marriage certificate (proof of relationship)
  • Evidence that you are employed in the UK (proof that you are a "qualified person" as defined in regulation 6; they may require this because you have lived in the UK for more than 3 months)

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