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Howard, Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 459
Experience:  Senior Partner with nearly 20 years experience in UK Immigration Law.
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I am a British national, and my wife is a Phillipino National.

Customer Question

I am a British national, and my wife is a Phillipino National. She has a Philiipine passport and her U.K. status is that she has a biometric Residents visa endorsed SETTLEMENT. Following my succesful recovery from a bowel cancer operation 29th May 2012, and subsequent chemo-therapy, my wife arranged a surprise to co-incide with my birthday on 8th May. It was a trip to see the Spanish Grand Prix, followed by a a few days on the Costa Brava! Due to a family bereavement in Birkenhead, she booked the outbound flight with Easy Jet from Liverpool. She had also pre-booked for two Grand Prix grandstand tickets, and pre-paid the Hotel accomodation half board for two.
When we arrived at the check-in, the girl referred my wife to the Easy Jet desk to get a "checked" stamp on the boarding card. The staff at the check in then told my wife that she could not fly because her residents permit did not state the words SPOUSE/FAMILY MEMBER. We protested that the term SETTLEMENT on her residents permit means that she is entitled to travel anywhere in the EU with me a full British Passport holder! We then showed our marriage certificate which fortunately we had with our documents, again this meant nothing to these arrogant, ignorant check in staff! We continued to argue with them almost up to the scheduled departure time, when I suggested that our luggage should be removed from the airplane. I've already organised that came the bland reply! Since she had not left our sight for some 30 minutes or so, it was clear that she had decided right at the beginning and NOTHING was going to change her mind! My wife was extremely distressed and distraught because of this outrage, notwithstanding the fact of the extreme disappointment, there was a lot of financial outlay involved with no recourse! I want to sue these dreadful uncaring semi literate cretins for as much as it is possible under English Law. So how do I go about it?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Howard replied 4 years ago.
If your wife is not a British Citizen then unfortunately she needs a visa to enter any countries in Europe where her nationality does not allow her to enter. A UK Visa does not give the holder any rights to enter a EU country.

Probably not the answer you are looking for but these are the facts. Even a Spouse Visa would not allow her entry to Spain. Settlement confers no additional rights to enter the EU.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Have you read and fully understood the question?
It would appear to me that you have not judging by your
Completely incorrect answer! You need to check your facts before giving out such drivel as an answer!
Take a look at the U.K.Border Agency website and look
Into >home>European Nationals>RESIDENTS DOCUMENTS for non-EEA family members of EEA nationals

Then when you have availed yourself of the facts, re-read my
Statement and see how wrong your answer is!
I expected better than this from this site!
I am wholly and totally unimpressed by your total lack
of knowledge on the subject you claim to be an expert in!
How do I claim my money back?
Expert:  Howard replied 4 years ago.
You are a British Citizen. The EEA rules that you refer to are for EEA nationals (a Spanish Citizen bringing a spouse to the UK - EEA Family Visa).

If your wife wants to visit Spain then she would usually get a Schengen visa.

I have no doubt that you did not like the answer but that does not make it incorrect. It most certainly is not 'drivel'.

You should consider the money spent here a wise investment if it stops you spending money trying to sue a Company for doing the right thing.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Again I don't think you have accepted my invitation to
read the UKBA website!
They issue all Resident Permits and visas in the UK.
After five years of marriage, my wife applied for
SETTLEMENT, we paid £1300 for this and we were
told it gives her almost the same rights as any other EU national!
I have a letter from them confirming that my wife's Resident Permit
Is correctly issued as SETTLEMENT . I went to the walk in centre in
Liverpool and obtained this letter! They confirmed verbally that my wife
Does NOT REQUIRE A VISA IF SHE IS WITH ME or flying to join me anywhere in the EU! If alone, and only then would
she require a Shenghen visa. But when with me, she does NOT!
The Guardia Civil in Spain have also confirmed that they would
accept Settlement on her residents permit and allow entry.
Where are you getting your incorrect information from?
The Spanish Embassy use VFS SERVICES they are also giving out
Incorrect information on their websites for Spain and France
They say the RP must state SPOUSE/FAMILY MEMBER.
This used to be on my wife's RP UNTIL WE
Clearly, they are wrong!!
The UKBA are correct!!
You, a so called "expert"
are also wrong!
Take a look at the UKBA under EEA family
Permits. It states QUITE CLEARLY that a visa
Is NOT required for a family member of an EEA
national, with SETTLEMENT status which confirms
her right to permanent residency in the EU.
Expert:  Howard replied 4 years ago.
I would appreciate a calmer and more polite response.

The UKBA site contains rules for people coming to the UK...

I'll have one more go at clarifying this.

Refer to the following website page (Spanish Consulate - they know a thing or two about going to Spain and rather more than UKBA):

You will find the following:

-- start quote --

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Under Directive 2004/38/EC and according to Real Decreto 240/2007, 16 February, family members of an EU/EEA national in possession of a valid UK Residence Card specifying its condition as a family member do not require a visa to enter Spain when travelling with the EU/EEA National or joining him/her in Spain. Otherwise, a visa will be still required (Real Decreto 1161/2009, 10th July 2009). For spouses and/or children of Spanish Nationals the above condition applies provided that the marriage and/or birth is registered according with the Spanish Civil Register (original Libro de Familia).

Please note, that the UK Residence Permit must state literally that the holder is a family member of an EU/EEA National.

-- end quote --

The visa you have described did not state that the holder was a family member and this is why they refused to allow you to board the plane (there are fines for them if they make an error).

The chances are that entry might have been allowed under free movement if you had made it to the border.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The Spanish consulate website contains errors!
This will be pointed out to them!
If you are relying on the accuracy of their
Website rather than actually knowing
Details of the relevant legislation, then you
will also be as incorrect as their website is!!
If you maintain that the UKBA is not correct,
Will you now be prepared to sue them on my
behalf on a no win no fee basis?
Put your money where you mouth is!
You have not answered my original question
which was how do I sue the airline?
I have researched this and I know that the UKBA
is correct! You need to look up the appropriate
English language version of the decree
As approved by the EU.
Expert:  Howard replied 4 years ago.
You are missing the point.

The Spanish Consulate website states their interpretation of a national law that was introduced (Real Decreto 240/2007). Directive 2004/38/EC and Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 are of obvious relevance and the reason for the Real Decreto.

Your original question was talking about trying to sue the airline for them not letting you board the plane. You still want to sue the airline. They are not border control - they are an airline operator. The instructions they are given have been followed - the interpretation of the Spanish Consulate. If you want to sue anyone you would have to try and sue the Spanish Consulate for their instructions and not the airline for following those instructions. Good luck with that.

As you seem to like the UKBA site so much (despite it being for those coming to the UK), you might like to pay attention to their advice for family members of EEA nationals exercising their treaty rights to come to the UK:

-- start quote --

You do not need to obtain documents confirming your derivative right of residence in the UK. However, you may be inconvenienced if you do not obtain this confirmation, as:

- you may have difficulty proving that you are lawfully resident in the UK;
- if you leave the UK, you will usually need to obtain an EEA family permit before returning here; and
- you may find it difficult to obtain or change employment.

-- end quote --

in other words, you are advised to get a visa (which is issued free). Think about it - you do not have to get a visa but you are advised to do so. In the same way, your wife is advised to get a visa that will be accepted (best to check these things first rather than simply relying on the advice you are given that you actually like the sound of).

The fact remains that none of my Clients have ever had a problem getting into Spain as they have always obtained a Schengen visa (at no cost) in order to avoid the problems your wife encountered - much along the lines of the advice given by the UKBA site for those coming to the UK. You, however, know far more than I could ever hope to, yet your wife has been refused entry.

You can choose to sue whoever you want. I wish you luck as you will need more than that.