Apologies if this has been answered already but I couldn't quite find it.

I am a UK citizen, my wife is a Thai citizen.

We were married a year and a half ago in London, UK and she has a valid (marriage!?) visa to live and work in the UK for 2 and a half years. She has 1 and a half years left on her current visa. I own my own property outright which we live in within Greater London. I work full-time.

We would like to take a 2 week holiday to Spain later in the year (2014)

Firstly would she be able to apply for a Schengen visa and if so what documentation would be required.

She works in a Thai restaurant that pays cash in hand which seems to be sort of normal here in London for that sort of thing so I'm not sure she has any proper employment documentation (P60/payslips or whatever). Are these necessary?

She speaks good English anyway but is starting a part-time English course next week which may qualify her as a student if that helps at all?

Anything else she would need? eg Insurance - I've read somewhere is mandatory!?

How long in advance would we need to apply?

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    Employment, income, language, insurance, etc. are mostly relevant if she were to travel alone or move to another European country without you. If you are traveling together, she needs a visa but it should be delivered quickly and free of charge based only on your marriage certificate, see europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/non-eu-family (further down the page as your situation does not fall under the “visa exemption” conditions).
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 16:07
  • Do inquire in advance as some countries/embassies might be unaware of the rules. The EU commission might be able to offer assistance if you have trouble having your rights recognized.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 16:08
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    Thanks for the replies i'll go through them soon. Sounds like checking with the Embassy in advance might be the wisest option just in case.
    – Paul
    Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 16:57
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    Yes, do that in any case as she does need a visa. But if the Spanish consulate asks you for the whole documentation package (and visa fees!) they would usually demand from Thai citizens (i.e. proof of income + itinerary + insurance + booking confirmation), don't be afraid to point out that rules are different for EU citizens traveling with members of their family. I think you can also go together through the EU/EEA lane for the passport check on arrival.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jan 11, 2014 at 6:42

2 Answers 2


Please have a look at the sample case from EU website:

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.

Your wife needs to have an entry to visa to visit Schengen countries. But luckily, the only required document is marriage certificate and the application should be executed very quickly and free of charge.

Applying for a visa

If your non-EU family members need an entry visa, they should apply for one in advance from the consulate or embassy of the country they wish to travel to. If they will be travelling together with you, or joining you in another EU country, their application should be processed quickly and free of charge:

Countries which are members of the border-free Schengen area should issue visas within 15 days, except in rare cases, when the authorities should provide an explanation of their decision. All other countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania, UK) should issues visas as quickly as possible. The documents your family members need to include in their visa application may vary from country to country. Before travelling, check which these are with the consulate or embassy of the destination country.

Visas issued by a country belonging to the border-free Schengen area are valid for all countries in that area.

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    Thanks for the reply - yes i noticed this also on the EU website. Sounds like i might be able to circumnavigate a lot of the requirements with us being married. I hope so anyway. Never straight forward. Once i've found out for sure i'll post back my experiences.
    – Paul
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 14:19

Finally got the visa for the wife so thought I'd conclude this post I created some time ago - As you say above with us being married and me from the UK we only needed to ask for an EU Spouse Visa (for Spain) which as you say is free if you go and pick it up or just over £30 if you want it couriered to your home. It takes around 5 working days to get the visa if you ask for it to be couriered to your home but you are advised to apply at least 3 weeks before your departure date for it.

VFS Global where we went to get the visa collated all the information and sent it to the consulate to be processed. We were told if there was anything else needed or further clarification of anything required the consulate would be in touch - presumably this is why they say apply at least 3 weeks in advance. Google them for their website and to fill out the visa form (print and take with you) and book an appointment date and time.

Perhaps unsurprisingly our appointment was for 3pm but they ended up seeing us at about 4.30pm - par for the course in these kind of places I would think.

We needed the marriage certificate, hotel and flight details and proof of payment of them, my and her passports, her UK visa card and her insurance details (which you have to have).

My understanding if you apply for a Schengen visa is the person applying also needs 3 months of bank statements and a letter from their employer saying they are working there.

  • The sample story I pasted from the EU website was fully covering your situation. Why did you provide them these extra information, like hotel & flight details?
    – Alp
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 12:26
  • Because they specifically asked for them when we were there including proof that we'd paid for them! Rules for this sort of thing change all the time i guess.
    – Paul
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 10:22
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    Nothing is changed. And it cannot be changed without an EU-wide referendum. Consulate workers just used to treat every other non-citizen like sh*t. Please, please, please fight for your rights next time.
    – Alp
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 11:40
  • Oh well luckily we'd taken all those details with us anyway so it wasn't a problem. As we had to go through VFS Global and not the consulate directly maybe they've been asked to check those details for some reason?
    – Paul
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 15:52
  • Outsourcing companies are even less likely to know little-used regulations than embassy officers.
    – Alp
    Commented May 30, 2014 at 9:28

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