My wife, a venezuelan national, requires a visa to enter the UK and is flying with me and our son (UK nationals) from Milan Malpensa Italy when Ryanair flights resume on 1st July.

As a family we have EU rights under Directive 2004/38/EC (Surrinder singh), as a family settled in an EU country for 2 years, to enter and settle in the UK. Since all the visa centres in italy are still closed due to covid19, we could not apply for a Surinder singh visa. We will bring an immigration Solicitors letter together with the relevant documents: marriage cert, proof of residence, work and "centre of life" proofs (all translated) to present to the immigration officer at the border. We have been advised that would be sufficient to make a decision and stamp her passport at border control.

We are concerned that: Though my son and I may be allowed to board at Milan, my wife may not be allowed, as she currently has no visa stamp in her passport. We may be separated and she may be sent back to Italy without us. (We have booked a return flight for 2 days just in case)

Does anyone know the likelihood of 1 or 2?

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    Because this question deals with long-term residence in another country, it should be asked instead on expatriates.stackexchange.com. That's why it has garnered several votes to close. You can either delete this question and post the same text on Expatriates, or wait until one of the moderators moves the question there. Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 14:16
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    Have you tried to write an email and/or call the UK embassy in Rome? Visa centres closed doesn't mean consular offices closed as well. Not that it persuades Ryanair, but they may provide an official answer on how to get your documents Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 15:09
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    Does she have a (permanent) Residence Card of a Family Member of a Union Citizen?
    – jcaron
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 16:15
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    What does the Permesso di Siggiorno state as type/reason? Does it state anywhere on the Permesso di Sigiorno "Family member of an EU Citizen" or anything similar?
    – jcaron
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 9:56
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    I've voted to reopen this because the existing answer is incomplete and therefore incorrect, and I would like to add another answer. Furthermore, the answer is useful to people in OP's circumstances who want to travel temporarily to the UK.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


As to the first part of your question: Because airlines are required (under their agreements with the countries into which they fly) to return to the point of departure at the airline's expense travelers who are refused admittance at their destination, air carriers are scrupulous to check passenger admissibility before allowing them to board the flight.

Airlines use the IATA database of TIMATIC for this purpose. TIMATIC will advise (correctly) that a Venezuelan national requires a visa to enter the UK. As @phoog points out in the comment below, there's an exception for holders of a carta di soggiorno di familiare di cittadino dell'Unione; with that card, and if she is traveling with or going to join her husband in the UK, she'll be allowed to fly. If, however, she holds only a permesso di soggiorno, she will not be permitted to board the Milan > UK flight.

As to the second part of your question: If your wife can get to the UK border without flying (say, by taking a train to Paris and presenting herself at the juxtaposed UK immigration controls at Eurostar in Paris), she can present the packet of documents you list to UK immigration as she attempts to board the Eurostar to London. As with flying, if she holds a carta she should be allowed to travel to the UK. If she does not, I do not know if the remaining documents will assure her entry to the UK.

If she were refused, or you decide to delay your return to the UK to avoid the uncertainty, you'll have to wait to secure a visa when consular offices and their contractors begin work again.

  • (+1) Under EU law (to the extent that it still applies, which it should for now), these documents ought to be sufficient.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 16:25
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    I've downvoted this because, in a comment, OP indicates that his wife has a permesso di soggiorno, which is almost certainly a carta di soggiorno di familiare di cittadino dell'Unione, in which case no visa is required to board the flight from Milan to the UK.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 15:55
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    Yes. If the OP's spouse indeed has the latter, then even Timatic agrees she may fly. I'll amend the answer. Thanks. Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 16:08
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    @DavidSupportsMonica I have reversed the downvote. I would add that the carta di soggiorno only serves in place of a visa if the EU family member (in this case Lawrence Davies himself) is either already in the UK or is traveling with the person whose card it is.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 2:54
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    Also true. I took from the OP's phrasing that the family was traveling together. I'll add this point to my answer as well. Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 3:36

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