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I am a UK citizen married to a Thai National. We're going to the UK in July for a 2 month holiday and we'd like to pop over to France via the Plymouth-Roscoff ferry to spend 5 days at my brothers holiday home in Brittany. My brother would be driving us there and back. Do we really have to go through the whole schengen palaver here in Thailand or is there an alternative for such a short trip? My wife has a tourist visa for the UK all sorted. She also has good travel insurance for the trip.

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Your wife will need some document to show at the border crossing. Being the family member of an EU citizen will make getting the document much easier, especially if she plans to cross the border with you, but a document is still required. A normal UK tourist visa does not allow visits to the Schengen area, or vice versa. You can't expect the border guards to sort out marriage certificates, that's what visa officials are trained to do.

  • You might try to apply from the UK, arguing that the trip is spontaneous and that an application from Thailand would be undue hardship. That brings the risk of being rejected because you really should have applied from Thailand.
  • If you look at the Schengen visa application form, you will see that the family members of an EU citizen don't have to fill the most bothersome parts of the form. The fields 34 and 35 replace those fields marked by an asterisk.
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    I believe that for freedom of movement visas, the normal rules about consular competence are somewhat relaxed. Freedom of movement is a right, after all. – phoog May 14 '17 at 5:54
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    @phoog, I believe the proper advice for the poster is to apply for the Schengen visa from Thailand, even if the competence rules are relaxed. Better not to argue a special case, especially with an application as "strong" as that for a family member. – o.m. May 14 '17 at 6:11
  • I disagree. Under the directive, the couple can even apply for a visa at the border. Sure, it may be simplest to do it in Thailand, but the advice you give is unnecessarily overcautious. – phoog May 14 '17 at 14:46
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    @phoog, good point, but I would advise to take the route which avoids unnecessary hassle and aggravation. You can call that overcautious. I've been in a bus (from France to the UK) where a woman argued that she was married to an EU citizen and the IO didn't believe the documents. That kind of scene sticks to the memory. – o.m. May 14 '17 at 14:55

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