I'm from a non-EU country and I have been in a Civil Partnership with my Spanish spouse for three years. We plan to move to UK together. Do I have to apply a EEA family permit prior to the UK Residence Card or will it be possible to enter UK on a tourist visa (during the 6 months validity period) while applying the UK Residence Card as a family member of the EU?
No, you do not have to have an EEA family permit to apply for a residence card. You just need to show that you meet the requirements for a residence card. These are essentially that you are the family member of the EEA national and that the EEA national is either a permanent resident of the UK or a "qualified person." For more information, see
If you don't already have a tourist visa, though, you may want to get an EEA family permit instead. They're free of charge, unlike tourist visas. They also have less stringent criteria.
If you are a national of a visa-exempt country, you may want to apply for an EEA family permit anyway. This will reduce the chance that you'll be refused entry at the border. On the other hand, that chance is probably pretty small, so as long as you have your civil partnership certificate with you when you arrive in the UK, you should be fine.
Addendum: Since the UK has had a referendum to leave the EU, it seems the above links may break sooner rather than later. Here are some relevant excerpts:
You can apply for a residence card if you’re both:
- from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)
- the family member, or extended family member, of an EEA national who is a permanent resident or ‘qualified person’
Whether you’re a family member or an extended family member affects the form you use when you apply.
You may also be eligible for a residence card if you have a ‘retained right of residence’ or apply as a ‘Surinder Singh’ case.
A qualified person is someone who is in the UK and one of the following applies:
- they’re working
- they’re self-employed
- they’re self-sufficient
- they’re studying
3. Documents you must provide
For each person on the application you’ll need to provide:
- a current passport
- 2 passport size colour photographs
- one passport size colour photograph of your European Economic Area (EEA) national (or British citizen) sponsor
- your EEA family member’s valid passport or national identity card
- evidence of your relationship to your EEA family member - eg marriage certificate, civil partnership certificate, birth certificate, or proof that you’ve lived together for 2 years if you’re unmarried
You also need to provide proof of one of the following, depending on your eligibility:
- that your EEA family member has a permanent right of residence
- that your EEA family member is a ‘qualified person’
- that you qualify because of a ‘retained right of residence’
- that you qualify as a ‘Surinder Singh’ case
You’ll need to provide a certified translation of any documents that aren’t in English or Welsh.
You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.