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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Apologies for making my first appearance in this forum asking for help. I've been a reader for a long time, and I need some help.

I just got off the phone with someone with the Department of Work and Pensions. I meant to apply for my National Insurance Number but was told instead that I am not eligible to work in the UK, mainly because I do not have a visa that specifically permits me to do so.

I'm American and married to a Swedish citizen. She's currently working about 25 hours/week in London. We just had a baby. Granted, that I'm in the UK currently on a tourist entry stamp. That's because we came to the UK without the intention of staying right away. As I'm aware, my rights as the spouse of an EEA national who is exercising treaty rights are not dependent on which stamp I get at the border..nor are they dependent on getting an EEA family permit. The spousal stamp and the EEA family permit are merely entry permission and not an indication of rights, as is the tourist stamp. Unfortunately, I can't post links, but I have two sources that seem to indicate this is true.

This comes from one of them:
It is not a requirement under regulations for the EEA family member to obtain documentation to confirm their right to come to the UK...EEA family members can apply for an EEA Family Permit which is valid for six months and enables you to leave and enter the UK as many times as you need within that period....You can stay in the UK after the permit expires but you may wish to apply for a UK residence card to confirm your right of residence. This is not necessary but it will make re-entering the UK easier at immigration control...
I was also told by this person from DWP that if I obtained an EEA family permit, I would not be allowed to stay passed the six months without applying to "extend it." I told her I knew that was false and the conversation quickly turned hostile. She wouldn't let me talk to a supervisor. She also told me that an EEA family permit is not a "visa that would allow me to apply for a national insurance number."

I suppose if an EEA family permit wasn't enough, I would apply for my residence card. However, that will likely take 6-8 months with current processing times, and will leave me without a passport. How am I meant to live that long without a NIN or ID? Where do I even go from here? Should I just call back and hope to get someone else?

I read elsewhere that I am allowed to work, but I'm not allowed to apply for a national insurance number without first applying for my residence card. This seems counter-intuitive, since I won't have any ID and impractical, since employers will find this confusing. Is that even possibly true? If so, I have a round-about way of getting a second American passport, though it would be terribly inconvenient. Is this a path I should take?

I'd be willing to leave the UK and come back with an EEA family permit if I thought that would help. Any advice is appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I called the same number again, and while this next person was much more helpful, it still wound up at a dead end. She told me that I needed to call the home office and confirm my right to work. The way she said it made it feel like, "just check in with them and then apply for your NIN." Though, she may have meant, "get a formal confirmation in the form of a visa." I'm not 100% sure.

I called the home office, and they led me around in circles..eventually telling me to call "this department that referred you to our department."

I believe leaving the country and applying for an EEA family permit will be all the "confirmation" I need. As stated previously, I'll do that if I need to, but I'd rather not leave my family unnecessarily.

Any ideas?
 
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