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Travel requirements for non-EU family members

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Travel requirements for non-EU family members
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Question from Olaf, Brussels:

“I am a German citizen, residing in Belgium with my wife, a non-EU citizen. For our summer holidays we are planning to travel to France and then cross into the UK. Will she be required to have a visa?”

Answer by Isabelle Dochy, Europe Direct Information Officer:

“Your wife must carry a valid passport at all times and, depending on her nationality, she may also have to show an entry visa at the border.

“Your non-EU spouse does not need to get a visa from the country she is travelling to if she travels within the Schengen area – as is the case with France and Belgium – while in possession of a residence card (or visa) from another country in that area.

“As far as the UK is concerned as well as other non-Schengen area EU countries -Ireland, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria – your wife will not be required to have a visa provided that she is travelling with you or travelling to join you and has a residence card issued by any EU country except the country you are a national of, in your case Germany. The residence card should clearly state that the holder is a family member of an EU national.

“To avoid any problems, contact the consulate or embassy of the country you are travelling to well in advance to find out which documents your non-EU family member will be asked to show at the border, as the list may vary from country to country.

“Should your wife require an entry visa, you should apply for one in advance from the consulate or embassy of the country they wish to travel to. The application should be processed quickly and free of charge. Schengen area states should issue visas within 15 days. All other countries should issue it as quickly as possible.

“Even if your wife arrives at the border without an entry visa, the border authorities should give her the opportunity to prove by whatever means she can that she is your relative. If she manages to prove it, she should be issued with an entry visa on the spot.”

For more information about the EU, call 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or check out the website: http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/

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