If you are a non-EEA national who holds a valid genuine residence card, issued to you as the family member of an EEA national who is exercising free movement rights in another EEA State (i.e. not your EEA relative’s Member State of nationality) under Article 10 of Directive 2004/38/EC (the ‘Free Movement Directive’), you may use this document for travel to the UK if you are accompanying your EEA national relative here, or joining your EEA national relative in the UK.
1. Article 10 residence card
An Article 10 residence card is a document which is issued under EU law (‘the Free Movement Directive’) by EEA Member States to non-EEA family members of EEA nationals who are exercising free movement rights in another Member State than that of their nationality. For example, the non-EEA spouse of a French national who is living and working in Italy may be issued with an Article 10 residence card by the Italian authorities.
An Article 10 residence card should feature the wording “Residence Card of a Family Member of a Union Citizen”.
Another document, “Permanent Residence Card of a Family Member of a Union Citizen” issued under Article 20 of the Directive is also acceptable.
Documents issued on any other basis, for example (biometric) residence permits issued under the national law of another Member State are not acceptable and do not exempt the holder from the requirement to obtain an EEA family permit.
For example, a non-EEA spouse of a German national living in Germany will usually hold a residence permit issued under German domestic law. Therefore, a United Kingdom EEA family permit is required for travel and entry to the UK.
A non-EEA spouse of a German national living and working in France will usually hold a residence card issued by the French authorities under EU law. Therefore a United Kingdom issued EEA family permit is not required for travel and entry to the UK.
If you are the non-EEA national family member of an EEA national and you do not hold a residence card issued under Article 10 or Article 20 issued by an EEA Member State, you will need to apply for an EEA family permit before travelling to the UK with/to join your EEA family member.
Find more information about applying for an EEA family permit.
2. What you are allowed to do with a residence card
A valid, genuine Article 10 (or Article 20) residence card allows the non-EEA national family member of an EEA national to travel to the UK without the requirement to obtain an EEA family permit.
However, in order to be admitted to the UK you will need to demonstrate that you have a right of admission under EU law. Without evidence that you have a right of admission, you will not be allowed to enter to the UK on the basis of your residence card.
3. Evidence you need to bring in addition to your residence card
In order to be admitted to the UK, we would expect to see the following in addition to your valid residence card:
- your valid passport
- evidence that you are the family member of an EEA national (for example, your marriage certificate or birth certificate)
In addition, if you are not travelling with your EEA national family member, you will also need to show:
- evidence that your EEA national family member is in the UK, and
- evidence that they have a right of residence in the UK because:
- they have been in the UK for less than three months, or
- they are in the UK as a worker, self-employed person, self-sufficient person or student, or
- they have acquired a right of permanent residence in the UK under EU law.
If you cannot satisfy the Border Officer that you have a right of admission to the UK under EU law, you will not be allowed to enter the UK.
4. Applying for an EEA family permit
If you hold a valid genuine Article 10 (or Article 20) residence card, you can still make an application for an EEA family permit.
These applications are free of charge and will help facilitate your entry to the UK.
Find more information about how to apply for an EEA family permit.