I am a Spanish citizen living in the UK, and my spouse is a Gambian national living in Gambia, I am intending to apply for him to join me in to the UK. I am currently in Gambia with him and I heard that there is a way that he will be able to come along with me as a family member of an EEA citizen under the settlement scheme. Can someone help me to explain how to apply and the requirements, as they told me I don’t need to be working as I am in the Gambia with him and we are planning to come together.

  • 1
    If you plan to live in the UK and not just visit, you should ask at Expatriates Stack Exchange. But as you know the UK is in the process of Brexit, and any advice given now may be invalid by November.
    – o.m.
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 18:39
  • How long have you been in Gambia? Have you already registered for the settlement scheme?
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 18:42
  • Thanks for your time ! And yes i am registered for the settlement scheme , and what is this expatriates stack exchange? I am living in the uk but i just went for some time
    – Aicha
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 18:53
  • I just came to gambia last month
    – Aicha
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 18:55
  • @Aicha Expatriates. You should apply for a settlement scheme family permit. I'll answer the question and flag for migration.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 19:27

3 Answers 3


As you have already registered with the settlement scheme, your spouse should apply for an EU settlement scheme family permit. If you do not have settled or pre-settled status, he would apply for an EEA family permit (details on the same page).

If you have "pre-settled status" I believe you have to be working or otherwise "qualified" for the application to succeed, but this is not clear.

After he arrives in the UK, he should not apply for a residence card but to the settlement scheme as a family member. The residence card will not be valid after 31 December 2020.

  • How is his different to my answer?
    – Daniil
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 19:33
  • 1
    @Daniil your answer says he is eligible for a residence card. That is true, but (1) he cannot apply for it before he gets to the UK, and (2) it's not the document he wants, since it will only be valid for just over one year.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 19:35
  • I'll remove that part then
    – Daniil
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 19:37

If you have already applied for the EU settlement scheme, you can apply for the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit:

You can apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit to come to the UK if all of the following apply:

  • you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • you’re the ‘close’ family member of an EEA or Swiss national (excluding UK nationals)
  • the EEA citizen you’re joining has ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • the EEA citizen you’re joining is in the UK already or travelling with you to the UK within 6 months of the date of your application
  • Thanks a lot 🙏🏽 Bless you !
    – Aicha
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 19:01
  • 1
    @Aicha Thanks, if my answer helped please press the tick next to my answer. Thanks
    – Daniil
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 19:05
  • 2
    @Aicha this answer is not correct. Your spouse cannot apply for a residence card in Gambia. The application can only be made after arrival in the UK. You must be working or otherwise "qualified" for the residence card application to be successful. The residence card will cease to be valid shortly after Brexit. Instead, he should apply for the settlement scheme.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 19:26
  • The part of the answer that was incorrect has been removed, so I have upvoted the answer.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 19:58
  • Is there any inconvenience if i am not working at the moment to apply ?
    – Aicha
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 21:19

I believe this is the document you're looking for: Free Movement Rights: direct family members of European Economic Area (EEA) nationals

As a general rule, family members of EU nationals have an automatic right to accompany or join their EU partners/parents in another member state. A visa is still required to enter the EU but must be issued free of charge and ASAP.

However, since May took over the Home Office the UK has set up numerous barriers that make it much more difficult to get such a visa. The intention to leave the EU won't make it easier either.

Applying for an entry visa to the UK for family members of EU nationals requires filling out a whopping 14 pages that include very personal questions.

The freedom of movement of EU nationals and their family members in the UK will at least continue until 2020-12-31: No deal immigration arrangements for EU citizens arriving after Brexit

I believe it might be advisable to think about entering the UK from Ireland, at least if it proves impossible to get a UK visa in time. The point for this is not to prevent being refused entry but to avoid trouble with your airline as they most likely would have no clue about the Citizen's Directive and do not let you board the plane regardless of your rights. I am not entirely sure about the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK but for the Schengen Area all that is required is an entry visa. After entry, the visa is completely irrelevant as long as you have other means to prove your relationship. This should also apply for the CTA as the Citizen's Directive is (still) valid in the UK as well.

You should carry your marriage certificate with you. If your certificate is Spanish, simply get a multilingual EU certificate. If it is Gambian, it might be advisable to get your marriage registered in Spain first, as the Gambia is not member to the Hague Convention, meaning in order to do anything, you'd have to get it recognised for every country you go which would be most likely less painful in your home country doing it once only.

  • 1
    "Apparently, Irish visas are valid for the UK as well, if the national applying for one requires for both the UK and Ireland then it is valid for both": that's not at all how the BIVS works. It applies only to visitor visas issued in China or India to citizens of China or India and explicitly marked BIVS. It is therefore entirely irrelevant to a citizen of Africa and entirely irrelevant to a family permit.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 13:06
  • @phoog Actually, both the UK gov page for the scheme and the FAQ say so. It seems a little less ambiguous in the FAQ though first says it applies to "anyone" and then says it has only rolled out for Chinese and Indian nationals and will be rolled out for all other nationalities at a later point. So don't blame me, blame the UK government for not being able to make a clear statement. Commented Sep 14, 2019 at 13:44
  • See expatriates.stackexchange.com/questions/14735/… in which an EEA family permit was refused because an applicant married in Albania presented an Italian "extract of marriage" certifying the registration of the marriage with Italian authorities. This was not accepted because it was not the "original marriage certificate." Registering the marriage in Spain will not help with an EEA family permit.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 18:52
  • @phoog That is surprising and most likely illegal. A "marriage certificate" is not required, only proof of relationship. Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 19:31
  • @phoog it looks like the refusal from your link was not the marriage certificate but more the fact that it looked like a marriage without relationship (ie. of convenience) to UK immigration. Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 19:47

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