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Background: The person is married to an EEA citizen. They currently live outside Europe. They're traveling to the UK together.

Do they need to show any proof of income, hotel reservation, return or health insurance for the application? Or on arrival? Does the EEA citizen need to show evidence of prospective employment?

The official source only mentions passports, marriage certificate and photo. However I've heard about these other requirements, including from consulates of other EU countries (not about the UK in that case). Are they really not required for the UK? Are people just confusing it with the more common standard visitor visa (which does requires them)? Or is it recommended, albeit not required, to have them because the acceptance criteria are subjective?

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No, none of this is required, either in the UK or elsewhere in the EU/EEA (except in that person's country of origin). Some consulates have been known to make mistakes but that's a clear breach of EU law. There is nothing subjective about it and it's even one of the sample stories in the European Commission's overview of free movement rights as they relate to non-EU family members.

Marriage certificate enough to get a visa

Thomas is Irish and lives in Belarus with his wife Delia, a Belarusian national. When they wanted to visit Thomas's mother, now living in Spain, they applied for an entry visa for Delia.

She included their marriage certificate in the application, but the Spanish authorities also asked for proof of hotel accommodation in Spain and health insurance before they would issue the visa.

However, when Delia pointed out that no such additional documents were required under EU law, the Spanish authorities apologised for their mistake and immediately issued her entry visa.

Of course, it can occasionally be difficult to force consulates to recognize your rights. One resource to help you with that if a polite letter is not enough is the EU's Solvit service.

  • Very helpful. I didn't know about Solvit. Thank you. – Vituel Aug 24 '15 at 23:38
  • Now I have come across this info from europa.eu before. I even mentioned it to the people from this other consulate, but they didn't agree. I easily accepted that they must know better than me on that matter. Do you know where we can find the original law text of this to help support us? – Vituel Aug 24 '15 at 23:58
  • Ok, I've found this (which corresponds to this). It says that to stay for 3 months the EEA citizen doesn't need to be working, but for longer he does. Does it mean we're fine for the first 3 months (and after, as long as we start working by then) or it means we must be working to enter, since we have the intention to stay longer? – Vituel Aug 25 '15 at 0:43
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    @Vituel It means you are fine for the first three to six months (looking for work qualifies you as a “worker” under EU law), there is no requirement to have a job offer in hand when entering. Regarding the source of these rules, see politics.stackexchange.com/questions/1013/… for a brief introduction, with links to the main freedom of movement directive. – Gala Aug 25 '15 at 9:23
  • Beyond that, consulates sometimes do make difficulties, that's what I alluded to in the last paragraph and I could talk at length about that. In some cases (say the UK and EU family residence permit), the breach of EU law results from a deliberate policy and can only be reversed by a court case. In others, it's just incompetence and honest mistakes and a firm letter pointing to the law might be enough to unlock the situation. – Gala Aug 25 '15 at 9:26
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I'm sharing documents I found to support @Gala's response:

DIRECTIVE 2004/38/EC, the basis of EU free movement, says family members shall be granted entry but may be required a visa based on national laws. That is contradictory and must be the source of all confusion.

Now a EU Directive defines goals, and they must be implemented (or "transposed") by national law, which will define means to achieve those goals.

Later on a "Communication from the European Commission" says "the overall transposition of the Directive was rather disappointing" and (this communication) intends to "guide for better transposition and application". Now this document provides much more detail on the entry of third country family members. According to it, they have the right to obtain a visa if necessary. And only the passport and evidence of family link may be asked, "no proof of accomodation, sufficient resources, an invitation letter or return ticket, can be required"

As far as I know, a Directive has legal effect: When national law fails to implement it, people can go (and they have) to court against Member States. However, I haven't found any source about whether or not a "Communication" has the same value. I hope it does, otherwise Member States can just ignore it and it's pointeless.

That said, it might also be good to check UK specific laws implementing the Directive.

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