3 Things to Know | How to Visit London without Visa before Brexit?
On our 3th marriage anniversary, we were struggling with where to spend our weekend. London is always in our bucket list. But applying for visa is also very annoying for me. After researching so much about visa stuff, I found that I am actually the non-EU family member among the “Visa Exemptions” to UK. Nothing is more excited than travelling without visa for a Chinese passport holder.
Since I am the family member of EU citizen, I was eligible to travel to UK without visa with my husband under EU law “Free Movement Directive”. Thus, we quickly booked the flight to London before the UK leaves the EU.
Read here to check all about visa stuff.
1. Check UK Visa
If you wonder whether you need a visa to UK, check out this useful government website: Check UK Visa. They also provide very detailed documentations accordingly.
2. Visa Exemption Condition
If you are a family member of EU / EEA citizen, and if normally your nationality requires tourist visa to UK, don’t worry. You can travel to UK with your EU family member without visa if you fulfil the following two key conditions:
- Travelling with or visiting either your partner or a family in the UK;
- Hold a valid Article 10 residence card. (“Residence Card of a Family Member of a Union Citizen” wording on the card to identify on the card). You should notice that the person you’re visiting or travelling with must be your sponsor.
If you don’t have an Article 10 residence card, then you need to apply for EEA Family Permit. It is supposed to be free to apply though.
3. So, what is the valid Article 10 residence card?
“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.” – from “Entering the UK as the holder of an Article 10 residence card” published by UK Visas and Immigration in 2015.
For this, you need to be noted that this genuine residence card is only issued in another EEA state which is not your EEA relative’s member state of nationality, which apply to other EU/EEA states. Below are two typical examples to clarify this:
In the beginning, I was not 100% sure that I can visit London without visa even after researching so much. Because not many people share about this online. My heart was hanging until I passed the border control.
Now I can tell you all that, yes, I could visit London without visa together with my husband.
But when crossing border control in London airport, they did stop us for a few minutes. They just needed to double check with other immigration officers to make sure that I really don’t need a EEA family permit or standard tourist visa. They were happily letting us pass later on. So I guess not every immigration officer at the border control is very clear about EU law, therefore, be prepared that you may be stopped there for a few minutes.
I hope this article is useful for you if you have similar situation with me!
Love from Richole.