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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

First I will say that I've searched this forum and many other websites up and down and could not find a similar story of anyone doing this. So apologies if it has been discussed already, but I have exhausted my searching resources.

The question is: can a U.S. citizen who is married to a dual U.S./Italian citizen enter the UK on their U.S. passport as a visitor and then once in the UK apply for a UK residence card as the direct family member of an EEA qualified person? The goal here is to avoid the whole EEA family permit and jump straight into the 5 year residence card. I figure since an American doesn't need a visa to enter the UK for visiting purposes the visa is a waste of time and just leaves another opportunity for something to get rejected by the sometimes ridiculous UK immigration authorities. Obviously the U.S./Italian citizen would already be in the UK for this to work.

Let me know if I'm leaving out any important details. Thanks in advance!
 

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You can't switch from a visit visa to any other visa from within the UK. An EEA Family Permit is free and is generally issued in a matter of days. Why wouldn't you apply for 1?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I guess I'm just discouraged now after reading about all these people who have valid applications but yet are rejected because the UK decides that their marriage is one of "convenience". Though I suppose the same thing could happen if we apply for the UK residence card. I was just trying to eliminate areas where they could possibly reject the application.

The situation is like this: I am the Italian/US citizen, and my fiance is a US citizen. I lived and worked in the UK from mid-2013 to mid-2014 and will be returning there to settle permanently and start working full-time again on June 1st. She will be staying in the US for now. We are then getting married in Montreal at the end of June, and she plans to come over to the UK within 3-6 months after the wedding. As I'll technically be an EEA qualified person, I know my wife is eligible for the family permit and then the residence card once she's on the ground, I'm just worried about the UK giving us a hard time because we're moving over so soon after the wedding. Also worried about us being without our passports for some time while they mull over the application, since we have other weddings to attend in the US this summer and autumn.
 

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As said, you can't switch to anything from a visitor visa.

You certainly can't start permanent work on June 1st without either a work visa or the Family permit in place and she needs to enter the UK with you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I can start work on June 1st because I'm an Italian citizen. I don't need a family visa. My wife-to-be will need a family permit before making the journey and then apply for a residence card once she arrives in the UK.

You've answered my question, thanks. We'll have to apply for the family permit no matter what, and hope that the residence permit application process doesn't hold up our passports too long.
 

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I can start work on June 1st because I'm an Italian citizen. I don't need a family visa. My wife-to-be will need a family permit before making the journey and then apply for a residence card once she arrives in the UK.
Sorry .... misread your post. Thought your wife to be was the EU citizen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No problem.

Are you aware of any temporary travel documents that could be issued to allow us to leave the UK and visit the US in the event that UK immigration holds on to our passports for an extended period of time?
 

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No problem.

Are you aware of any temporary travel documents that could be issued to allow us to leave the UK and visit the US in the event that UK immigration holds on to our passports for an extended period of time?

Do you mean after you are in the UK and you have applied for EEA2?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes, while we're both living in the UK and while the EEA2 application is in progress. Unfortunately we have to attend at least 3 weddings in the US this summer/autumn, and there's a good chance the UKBA still has our passports during this time.
 

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There is no alternative travel document. The Italian citizen can submit a copy of his/her passport which has been certified by the Italian Embassy or Consulate. You can request that your passports be returned and it won't affect your application but I am pretty sure the applicant is expected not to leave the UK during processing.
 

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Alternatively, if you are arriving in UK together after marriage, she can request Code 1A stamp instead of leave to enter as visitor. Code 1A will allow her to apply for residence card. Expect to be delayed at the border as they have a brief discussion with supervisor and check up on eligibility. Carry your marriage certificate. Not 100% certain to work (that's why we recommend getting EEA family permit in advance) but if you are really pressed for time, it's an option (though UK government doesn't want to encourage it as it can create logjam at UK border and there is a perfectly valid alternative in the form of family permit).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okay that makes sense, that's the info I was originally looking for. But it sounds like there is a lot of risk with that - it'll ultimately depend on how much of a pain in the A the border agent wants to be. We'll go for the family permit then.

I guess if we're really concerned with the passports being held up we could have her enter as a visitor for the first 3 months in the UK (no eligibility to work) and then go back to the US for the weddings, and then after finally settling in the UK after that we can take our time with the residence card.
 

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That plan has some issues as well. Not many Americans or anyone for that matter, can take a 3 month vacation. She'll have to be able to prove that she has strong ties to the U.S. Like a job to return to and rent or mortgage to pay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
How can they give her a hard time entering as a tourist? She wouldn't be overstaying so they have no grounds to deny her entry to the UK. You're saying when the border agent asks how long she'll be in the UK they could potentially turn her away when she says "2-3 months"?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
God I feel like I'm watching an episode of UK Border Wars. Okay thanks for all your help. Hopefully this all goes somewhat smoothly.
 
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