I live with my wife since 2012 in Latvia. My wife and two kids are Latvian citizens. I hold a Latvian permanent residence card. On my residence card is written permanent family member. According to article 20, it should be clearly written "family member of EU citizen" but on my card is only written "family member." As my wife and kids are Latvian citizens, can I travel with them to Ireland or the UK?

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    Please upload the whole card, front and back, only blacking out your Name, photo and date of birth – Crazydre Feb 4 '18 at 14:49
  • i added both of side of my Rc. Thank you so much – user73361 Feb 4 '18 at 15:19
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    You should edit your pictures (which still don't show the whole card) into the question rather than post them as answers. – hmakholm left over Monica Feb 4 '18 at 15:36

The card does really need to say "family member of a union/EEA citizen" before it has any effect for the UK. Those cards are only supposed to be issued when the union citizen lives in a different member state than the one of his citizenship, which is why your card does not say that.

Even if you had one of those cards, the UK have been sort of reluctant to accept them, and the official guidance from the UK government recommends bringing separate documentation for your relation to the union citizen in addition to the article 10 card.

In principle you can just show up at the UK border and ask to be let in based on any convincing evidence that you're a family member of the union citizen you're traveling with -- such as a marriage certificate -- and they have to consider this evidence rather deny you entry immediately. But this can easily take hours and quite ruin the beginning of your holiday. And that's assuming that you even make it to the border, because without an article 10 card (or EEA family permit) you probably won't be allowed to board a plane towards the UK. So this only works if you go by train from France or Belgium (in which case delays at immigration will make you miss your train unless you plan for them and arrive hours in advance).

The sane thing for you to do is to apply for an EEA family permit (or its Irish equivalent, depending on where you're going) before leaving.

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    "the UK have been sort of reluctant to accept them" Any anecdotal evidence of this? I've spoken to the Border Force at Heathrow on the phone and they said that the passport and article 10/20 card is all that they expect you to present upfront. Now, if they suspect you of fraud, they may request a marriage/birth certificate as well, but it's not the standard thing for them to do. Anecdotal evidence here on TS confirms this as well – Crazydre Feb 4 '18 at 19:07
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    @Coke: I think the recommendation to carry a marriage certificate looks like reluctance in itself, when the intention of the directive is that a genuine article 10 card should be all the documentation one needs. – hmakholm left over Monica Feb 4 '18 at 19:37
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    Like I said, actual practice at the border (at least at Heathrow T3 and T5) is that the Article 10 card and passport are sufficient som utgångspunkt as we say in Swedish (similar to "by default" but can't really translate it in an idiomatically accurate way into English) – Crazydre Feb 4 '18 at 20:01
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    @Coke "as a point of departure" or "as a starting point"? But as I've said before, anyone who ignores the UK's statement that travelers "need" to bring proof of relationship with them is being foolhardy. – phoog Feb 4 '18 at 23:25
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    You should certainly apply for the EEA family permit, not necessarily for use at the UK border, where the proper supporting documentation is readily accepted and everything is dealt with quickly and pleasantly (in my experience) but rather for the flight, where airline staff may not know the law, and may be very reluctant (as in > 1 hour discussion at the airport) to let you take the flight without a permit/visa in your passport. Source: this has happened to me on multiple occasions, and it is obviously very stressful. I'm a UK citizen, my wife is a non-EEA citizen. – davnicwil Feb 5 '18 at 11:38

Your card is not an article 20 card, because those are issued to people whose family member lives in an EU/EFTA state other than that of their nationality.

Your wife is Latvian and lives in Latvia, so you don't qualify.

As such, you'll need an EEA Family Permit for the UK, and an equivalent visa for Ireland.

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    Spain apparently issues article 10 cards to family of its citizens as a matter of routine, and every EU country ought to issue them to family of their own citizens who have returned after exercising their right of free movement elsewhere in the EU, along the lines of the Surinder Singh ruling. You don't know whether they moved to Latvia from another EU country, in which case OP would qualify. – phoog Feb 4 '18 at 23:20
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    @phoog Actually had no idea about that. Feel free to edit my answer if you wish – Crazydre Feb 5 '18 at 0:32

The UK is unlikely to accept this card for visa-free travel, and they are not required to under the directive. The same is probably true for Ireland. More importantly, airlines are unlikely to let you board with your permit. The safest thing for you to do is get an EEA family permit for the UK and the analogous visa for Ireland.

  • Thanks so much. I contacted with irish embassy they said if you hold a rc under article 10 or 20 visa is not required . I told them twice my card only says family member. They said then u should contact you residence country i contact with them they that card you hold is only one we give family member of latvian citizens. I still not sure is that my card above is under article 10 or 20? I will apply for Eea fp but still want to be sure is my rc card is under article 10 or 20. Example at border with my wife and proof our relationship and could i ask them about my freemovement under eu law – user73361 Feb 4 '18 at 16:07
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    @MARINMARTIN Based on what the Latvian authorities told you, your card is not an Article 10 or 20 card. As Henning Makholm's excellent answer notes, once you get to the border, you must be allowed to prove your eligibility for free movement, and if you are successful you must be let in, either without a visa or with a visa issued then and there. But that's a fairly risky proposition. I wouldn't chance it if I were in your shoes. – phoog Feb 4 '18 at 16:36
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    @phoog The UK and Ireland never issue visas on arrival - the facility simply does not exist – Crazydre Feb 4 '18 at 19:10
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    @Coke I don't doubt it. I'm just saying what the directive requires and allows. – phoog Feb 4 '18 at 21:53