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I'm French, my wife is Chilean. I'll keep my questions brief. Can my non-EU wife apply for an EEA family permit from within any country (apart from the UK, obviously) even if it is not her country of origin? It's next to impossible to apply in Chile because of the pandemic and I doubt it'll get better soon. Would she be able to apply for one in France while we are there? If so, what is the estimated application processing time for a married spouse?

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Can my non-EU wife apply for an EEA family permit from within any country (apart from the UK, obviously) even if it is not her country of origin?

Yes. The consulate or embassy may ask her to show that she is legally present in the country; I am not certain whether this is a requirement, but I suppose it won't be difficult to show.

However, because Chilean citizens do not need visas to visit the UK, your wife does not need an EEA family permit.

Would she be able to apply for one in France while we are there?

She ought to be able to, but do check whether the relevant offices are open in France.

If so, what is the estimated application processing time for a married spouse?

It shouldn't take more than a week or two.

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  • @phoog That's great news! What if it's to live and eventually work rather than just visit? Does that change things? I'm due to start working in September. – mjm Jun 15 at 13:30
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    @mjm questions about moving somewhere and working there belong on Expatriates, but the purpose of your entry into the UK does not matter. What does matter, of course, is the timing, since the UK will be withdrawing from the free movement system at the end of the year (subject to possible extension). This answer will cease to be correct when the UK withdraws. There are several relevant questions and answers on Expatriates, and several permutations of the process, but the simplest is that once you're both there you apply for a registration certificate and she applies for a residence card. – phoog Jun 15 at 16:10
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    @mjm I take that back -- the simplest is that once you're both there you both apply for the EU Settlement Scheme -- the registration certificate and residence card cease to be useful when the UK leaves the free movement system. – phoog Jun 15 at 18:38
  • That we we were planning to do from the very first month in the UK anyway. It's comparatively easier as we can do it from within the UK. I wanted to make sure my wife didn't need an EEA family permit first from outside the UK, but from what you've told me this is not the case. Thank you, you have been tremendously helpful! – mjm Jun 16 at 3:30
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    @mjm you should be prepared to prove your wife's entitlement to entry under free movement at the border. If they get wind of her intention to remain in the UK for more than six months then she won't qualify to enter as a visitor. You'll want to have the documents whe would present in an EEA family permit application, namely your marriage certificate with an English translation (in addition to your French passport and her Chilean passport). – phoog Jun 16 at 9:18

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