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I'm a British citizen and my wife is from the Philippines. We live in Spain and she has an Article 10 residence card with 'Family Member of an EU Citizen'. We'd like to visit the UK in July and she should be able to enter visa-free with her residence card as she'll be travelling with me.

The Gov.uk advice page says that we'll need to bring our marriage certificate as evidence of her right of admission. Our marriage certificate is from the Philippines (in English) and has been authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Philippines and legalized by the Spanish consulate in Manila. It's dated in August last year.

I haven't been able to find any information about any requirements for the marriage certificate. We had trouble getting the Spanish government to recognise our marriage certificate when applying for my wife's entry visa + residence card (lots of crazy requirements like it not being allowed to be more than three months old) so I'm worried that UK border control will try to impose similar requirements when trying to enter visa-free.

Does anyone have any experience or knowledge of this? Is it possible that border control won't accept a foreign marriage certificate as evidence and won't allow my wife to enter visa-free?

  • I'm pretty sure they cannot exclude foreign marriage certificates. They could presumably have time restrictions on the certificate and/or its authentication, but I would expect them to say that in the page you link to if that were the case. If you're inclined to worry, you should apply for an EEA family permit, but I suspect you'll be just fine with the documents you have. – phoog Jun 3 '17 at 14:35
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    Was the issue that your marriage certificate is in English, not Spanish? It would appear you've ticked all the boxes: you're a UK citizen, she's travelling with you, carrying the Article 10 residence card, and you have an English-language marriage certificate. – Giorgio Jun 4 '17 at 16:59
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+200

Called the Border Force at Heathrow terminal 5 (+44 20 8196 2500) and asked about this.

Any official marriage certificate in English or Welsh will be accepted, and there's no restriction for old certificates (e.g. for long-time couples).

For general reference, it is highly recommended, but not formally required, to legalise marriage certificates not issued by an EU/EFTA state, as well as any translations of documents not in English or Welsh (translations are mandatory, but do not strictly have to be legalised).

That said, contrary to what people here seem to think, you usually don't have to present your marriage certificate (the passport and article 10 card being sufficient), only if the officers get a reason to doubt that the Article 10 card was issued on the basis of you.

So in essence, your wife will be fine.

  • Legalisation is unnecessary then? What about translations; do they need to be certified? – phoog Nov 21 '17 at 3:38
  • @phoog OP's certificate is legalised, so I didn't ask about that. Shall I call them again? (they seem stressed and busy so don't want to overdo it) – Crazydre Nov 21 '17 at 3:42
  • I suppose whether you should call again depends on whether you want to answer the more general question in the title or the more specific one in the body. If they're busy maybe you should wait until another time. – phoog Nov 21 '17 at 4:04
  • @phoog No one at T5 picked up the phone, so called T3. Updated my answer. Btw, they said that the marriage certificate isn't systematically requested in the first place, and that normally the passport and article 10 card would suffice, but that they could ask for evidence of the family relation in dubious cases – Crazydre Nov 21 '17 at 4:13
  • Your "btw" is interesting because it seems to contradict the webpage, which lists the marriage certificate (or other evidence of the relationship) under the heading "evidence you need to bring." – phoog Nov 21 '17 at 4:17
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I just wanted to come back to this months later and say how it went for anyone who might have stumbled on this looking for info. They didn't actually ask to see our marriage certificate at all. They looked at the passport and residence card (as Coke said) and issued a visa for six months.

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    Not a visa, an entry stamp. Visas aren't issued at the UK border. And also that was wrong. That's what an ordinary visa-free visitor would get. She should've received "indefinite" admission (i.e. with no time limit) and should not have had her passport stamped – Crazydre Nov 22 '17 at 21:14
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    Doesn't matter in the end, but it is something you could bring up with a supervisor next time it happens – Crazydre Nov 22 '17 at 21:16
  • @Coke regardless, the grant of a right or privilege under the (generally applicable) immigration rules does not preclude the exercise of a right or privilege under the EEA immigration regulations. The regulations explicitly provide that any limitation under the rules is without effect as long as the person qualifies under the regulations. – phoog Aug 6 '18 at 12:59
  • @phoog You are correct in theory, but in reality such mistakes can complicate matters. – Crazydre Aug 7 '18 at 18:36
  • @Coke do you have any evidence of that happening in practice? – phoog Aug 7 '18 at 22:35

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