歐盟公民的非歐盟配偶之第一章 – non EU spouse in Europe, part 1

Continuing the extremely boring but necessary topic for international marriages: today I will focus on bringing your non EU spouse to EU country. Because bringing your pet was more important and a priority to cover on this blog.
image (19)
In the first part I will talk about Ireland and in my next post I will write how it looks in Poland. Rules are slightly different, in Ireland there’s EU1 card, some countries have a family passport etc. etc. so it would be great if you shared your own experience to help other international couples.

I have to say that even thought in Ireland we need a lot of paperwork to be done, it’s almost free if you don’t count the cost of printing an official bank statement or sending a registered letter at the post office. In most of the cases you can forget about expensive lawyer and stressful interviews (I’m looking at you, US – but I totally get why you have to be strict about it). With spending maximum 25 Euro we are now awaiting the decision if Sing can get a 5 years stay. Did I mention that in the time you wait for the decision your non-EU spouse CAN WORK or traveler around, just like being EU citizen him-/herself! How cool is that?

Please remember I’m talking about a Hong Kong citizen who doesn’t need a visa for a 90 days visitor stamp. If your loved one is required to have a visa to enter EU countries he or she is required to obtain a re-entry visa if you want to leave Ireland, for example to travel. It’s the official information we got in the letter from Irish Naturalisation And Immigration Service so I guess it’s better to keep that in mind.
Now let’s start step by step!image (21)

1. Before you start anything GET YOUR PPS number. It’s something like social security card in America, but you don’t need to pay PPS-tax and basically you need it for anything. Especially one letter proving you never took welfare in Ireland.
To get the PPS you need to provide proof of the address (it can be a bill in your name or a letter from a friend you live with and bill under his name, but I went there 4 times until they said my proof is valid enough so I guess the tenancy agreement is the most powerful proof of the address you can have and once you have it be sure you make yourself a bank account and that your landlord or the agency sent out your information to PRTB because you will need it later on), valid passport or national identity card and A REASON. I know it sounds stupid, but you won’t get PPS just like this, you need to have a letter of offer of employment, school enrollment or letter from a bank – there is a whole list you can find on welfare.ie. To be honest the easiest way is through driving license form and we went that way. 20 minutes and one extremely ugly photo later you get the good news that your letter will come in around 10 business days, but both of our letters took around a week.

2. Once you get a PPS you go to the Department of Social Protection with your PPS number and ask them to write a short letter you never took welfare in Ireland.

3. Now it gets much much easier and faster. You have to chose what is your exercise of EU Treaty Rights: employment, self-employment, study, involuntary unemployment and residing with sufficient resources. You need to be engaged in one or more of the activities to apply for the card.
We chose residing with sufficient resources living in a rented flat so I will focus on those circumstances.

If you’re working or studying or own your own flat, have kids etc. you will be asked to bring different documents, you can find full lists by clicking here (click click).
For the EU1 form itself click here (click click)

4. Take Irish passport-sized photos of you and your spouse. It costs about 7.50 Euro for I think 6 photos at O’Sullivans (chain pharmacy-and-more stores).

5. Start collecting your personal documents. Submit ORIGINAL passport for your spouse and ORIGINAL passport or national identity card for yourself (EU citizen). You also need to submit ORIGINAL evidence of relationship with the EU citizen, in our case it was marriage licence. Only those documents are submitted in their original form, the documents in part 6 and 7 are COPIES. 

6. Once you’re done with personal documents start collecting COPIES of the evidence of current activities. Since we applied as ‘residing with sufficient resources’ we had to present copies of  bank statements (only official statements count, not printed from online banking or at the bank itself, it takes around 4 business days to get them and for AIB it costs 3 Euro per page), copy of the magic letter I wrote about in the part 2 that you didn’t take any welfare, copy of the letter from your insurance provided, it needs to cover both of you (we used VHI, circa 80 euro a month for both of us).image (20)
The most tricky part about this activity is that they never tell you how much is enough, some sites say 20k, some other people say that minimum 30k Euro in savings, but once we get the answer I surely tell you.

7. Last but not the least is collecting the COPIES of evidence of residence for both of you. If you’re renting like us you need to provide copies of letter from landlord/agency or the tenancy agreement (that you already used to get your PPS, right?), copies of your PRTB letters (it can take month or more but if you call them you can get it in 4 business days just like we got) and copies of utility bills for the applicant and the EU citizen (we still didn’t get any in both of our names since electric bill is issued every two months and we didn’t want to wait, but we send out different bills under our names at the same address).

8. Now you put all the documents, passports, photos and other evidence into a nice big envelope and send as registered or express mail to EU Treaty Rights Unit, Residence Division, Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2 and wait for their respond.

In meantime you will receive two letters from INIS – first one will inform you what documents they got and eventually if they need more of them (in our case it was PRTB letter), at the same time they will give back the original documents and passports (we asked them to give them back ASAP so we can visit my family and guess what – in less than a week from the date I SEND the documents, I already got those back) and the other one will be your permission to reside in state, that also means you’re allowed to work. With the letter, national card/passport of the EU party and passport of non-EU party, and the evidence of the relationship, you go to the Immigration Office at your local Garda (Police) station and your spouse will get a special stamp (and a card 11 days later in Limerick) in his passport saying (s)he awaits the decision and has a right to reside in the state until such and such date or until you get a result.
You do exactly the same when you receive the approval.

It isn’t as bad as it looks, it doesn’t take as much time to complete all the documents and if I knew the trick with PPS and welfare letter, if I knew I had to make sure our information will be sent to PRTB it would make me much less stressed and I hope this whole post will save trouble to all of you who wants to move to Ireland with their non-EU spouse.
For now – please keep your fingers crossed for us!

I hope I wrote everything, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask and if you been in a similar situation, as I said, it would be great if you shared how it looks in your country or what you had to do to live in your spouse’s country. Let’s help each other out 🙂

40 thoughts on “歐盟公民的非歐盟配偶之第一章 – non EU spouse in Europe, part 1

  1. Man I am so grateful that my boyfriend has a European citizenship.. Not ready for marriage yet!

    Anyway great informative post, I am sure it will be super helpful for a lot of people.


      1. The problem is, MIL is a European citizen too. This means she can visit ANYTIME for as long as she wants and she could even decide to move to Europe one day! Sigh.


        1. you can always give an anonymous call that you call from the airport and you’ve seen her with some dried mushrooms in her luggage 😀 I had thoughts to do that, but it was just in my fantasy world 😀


    1. oh, if I was living in HK I wouldn’t move away at all haha 🙂 we used to live in the US, my husband was there for college and later got a job there but it’s not for us and sadly HK is too expensive and we would have to probably live with his family which would kill me haha but the worst thing is that most of engineers are sent to China or SE Asia and they are gone 5 days a week or more, just like my FIL – he is needed in the factory for most of the time so last time we went to HK in October they didn’t even have time to see each other 😦 how sad is that?


    1. The most stressful was PPS, for some reason person working there couldn’t get that electric ireland gave me one address, internet company gave the other one (adding some crap there :D) and bank gave their own so for her 3 addresses at APT. 305 …….. + something added from each company means I live in three different addresses. C’mon :DDD

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What do you do if you don’t have enough funds to support yourself (the 20-30K in euros)? For US visas you can have people sponsor you other than your spouse, which is what my husband and I have had to do. The US also has very clear guidelines about how much money you need to make, which is nice.

    I’ve never hired an immigration lawyer, nor known anyone who has (other than a friend of mine who got a work visa for the UK). I’m sure it’s expensive. US visas can definitely be gotten without one, though they are pricey regardless. I’d budget at least $1000 for a spousal/fiance visa when all is said and done. Depressing!


    1. I guess cry about it haha 🙂 But seriously – there are 4 other activities like work or study etc. but it all is about money in the end, even for school you need to support yourself so as much as I complain about Momzilla – she helped us a lot, we gave half, she put the other half for the car into our account so the number looked nice but I know without her help it would be impossible to go ‘the fund way’.
      Just for H1B for my husband and H4 for myself we spent 3500 USD, the rest was paid by the company – we could do it ourselves but again Momzilla helped us out in case we mess up (and trust me, Sing fails on some tasks :D), for visa sticker itself I paid 100 USD as well, but once you’re done with the lawyer etc. it’s sure you will get it (unless you know nothing about your hubby :D)


  3. These kind of things are always rather annoying. Here in Germany my wife would not be allowed to work without a residence permit strictly allowing it. However in the rest of Europe she would be as she has a Europe wide lifetime residence permit (from Finland)which is usually Europe wide with some exceptions (seriously, why they call it europewide when it is just few countries…)
    Here in Germany they even have different standard for the biometrical passport pictures! We had few of my wife from Finland which were used for the residence permit however they were not valid in Germany, OMG another visit at the photographer (in Finland about 25-30Euros!!)


    1. Oh wow, your moving abroad sounds much more painful than mine. I remember you talked about those language courses and everything your wife needs to go through.
      Note to self: never move to Germany 😀


        1. I wonder, do they like wake up in the morning and think ‘Let’s change some sh*t there to annoy people’ 😀 but maybe it’s because there are a lot of people from poorer countries (my country including), a lot of illegal immigrants etc. so they just want to somehow stop it? it’s sad because it also affects people like you and your wife who are doing things the right, legal way :/

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I honestly don’t know why they do all of this because in the day people do still come from around the world to Germany, just that it costs more money for them/ some people earn money through those things such as all the bureaucracy, lawyers to fight decisions and so on. It was estimated that if Germany would get rid of hartz 4 ( unemployment benefit but Ina weird form) it would safe so much money due to the bureaucracy that every citizen could instead get over 1000euros from the state each month….so this whole bureaucracy thing is in the end just a huge money dump

            Liked by 1 person

    1. The British partner has to be earning £24k I think, and the non EU partner not claiming benefits for a few years.

      Things are getting tighter, in order to stop mail order bride and sham marriages.

      Of course, the problem is non EU citizens can just become European and qualify as an EU marriage, no docs required…. which is why we will have a vote to leave EU next year!


      1. Where can I find out more information about “becoming EU citizen through marriage” ? As now I am with a student visa, so there would not be a problem for me to stay for in the UK for another 3 years. But My wife (Spanish) is searching online, but she finds it difficult to find a useful information about the process of apply the EU citizenship through marriage. If you can provide some websites or places that i can find out more information, i would be grateful.


        1. in what country of UK are you living? England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland? Is your wife also living in the same country? (as stupid as it might sound some marriages are in LDR)


            1. Sam, I am a non-EU spouse of a French national. Now in London. What you need to do is to get a EEA FM form (121 pages as of July 2015). That will start the process of getting a residence card; exercise your treaty rights. At the same time, your EU spouse need to send (together with your EEA FM https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/451898/eea_fm__07_15.pdf) the qualify person form called EEA QP (around 50 pages long). https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/…/EEA_QP__07-15.pdf While you can exercise your free movement treaty rights, UK home office / immigration will give you a shady stamp that confuses most HRs; making it VERY unlikely that you’ll find employment while you wait for your residence card.


      2. Mail order bride is the UK/EU person’s problem; they didn’t find a date and want a spouse, the process is initiated by the UK/EU person (exit or not, it will continue to be a problem). There is little that anyone can do to stop mail order bride. I think sham marriages are more criminal-like. But hey, real marriages end up in divorces too. So who knows?


  4. There’s a bit of huge issue about foreign temporary workers, especially with the drop in oil prices and affecting our economy.


  5. Not sure about that passport issue by Hong Kong government after 1997. if it’d without written Hong Kong, it looks like Mainland passport.
    it should be use Legislative Council Building and five-petal Bauhinia blakeana flower instead of National Emblem of the People’s Republic of China, and call Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Only. it will look better 😉


    1. it’s not the prettiest one, but at least it’s not intense red 😉 Sing really dislikes the passport haha but the colors inside are pretty cute – flowers and crap 😀 (girls be girls)


    1. Sing? You mean BNO – British National Overseas? Aside that it’s not really recognized when you need it – the best you can do is stay for 6 months in the UK without a visa then you need to get one, to get a working holiday or after 5 years of being in UK (on visa) you can apply for citizenship etc. so Momzilla didn’t want to deal with registration of him and his sister (it wasn’t given automatically) – or something like that, but I never asked if he regrets not having it.
      Fun fact: Sing will never have Polish citizenship… because he cannot speak Polish at all 😀 neither I will have HK because I don’t have so called Chinese blood – that’s why at least I can laugh if someone says we got married for ‘green card’ 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Huh really? HK bureaucracy is really strange and complicated and we all don’t get it squarely.
        After 1997 Mr. Panda became British because he decided on it and not Chinese, and some time ago he requested and received Austrian citizenship and got a Hong Kong ID card with which he can enter HK without a passport, can live and work there.


        1. so he gave his HK citizenship completely, I think if you did that way until 2003 with BNO you could become British, but in order to do that you need to have no citizenship at all 🙂
          For Ireland citizenship takes 5 years as well. About HK ID – he used to have citizenship so it might be bit different 🙂 we have a friend who has also few passports haha 🙂 I personally hate all the bureaucracy 😀


  6. The main problem is a lot of HR doesn’t know what the EEA spouse stamp means -_-: so although it is perfectly legal to exercise all the rights (work, travel etc), employers largely doesn’t know. Like UK for instance, I somehow feel that they’ve purposefully made the stamp unclear. UK’s spouse stamp only states ‘EEA 2006 regulation’, it doesn’t even say ‘leave to remain’.


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