Schengen Visa for spouses & family members of EU nationals

Schengen visa for spouses / family members of EU nationals

In a previous post, I had mentioned how it was pretty hard to get a schengen visa to travel to Portugal in 2011. The issues were compounded by the fact that I had recently quit my job in Dubai to travel the world and as such, an un-employed [self employed ;)] single Indian male represents ‘significant illegal immigration risk’.  Obviously I had no intention of immigrating but it gets hard to prove these things through documentation, especially because I didn’t have a ‘strong reason to return’ (proved by an employment letter normally..), in fact, I wasn’t going to return, I was off to Mexico after that!

The basic Schengen visa rules mostly evaluate you for illegal immigration risk. There is pretty much no other concern on their minds. This can be understood very easily from the various Schengen visa handbooks that every consulate uses to decide on visas. The handbooks are available online.

- Schengen visa handbook 1

- Schengen visa handbook 2

- Schengen visa Code

These handbooks very clearly describe the rules for Schengen visas for anyone and actually make for quite an interesting read. The basic premise is that you need to prove that you will return, and that you have enough money to make the trip. They may ask you for a slew of documents (air tickets, hotel reservations, bank statements, income tax returns, employment letter’s, rental contracts, property deeds, etc.) to prove this. This usually makes the process quite annoying and invasive.

However, I understand the administrative reason for the Schengen Visa Code. There are so many different countries issuing Schengen visas that it’s important to adhere to a uniform and unfortunately rather strict code. Plus, there is always the risk of illegal immigration.


The handbooks even have some interesting tidbits like:

a third-country national subject to the visa obligation and legally residing in another third country whose nationals are exempted from the visa requirement (an Indian national residing in Canada or a Chinese national residing in the United States) normally presents a very limited risk of illegal immigration to the Member States


However, this post is about Schengen visas for spouses of EU nationals. Of course, if you do not need a visa for the Schengen territories (citizens of USA, Germany, New Zealand, etc. ) then you just need to arrive at the border.

For the rest of us, the process is also simplified greatly once you are married or in a documented civil partnership. The Schengen visa process for spouses of EU nationals is covered under the Free Movement Rights for European Union citizens. Under these rules, the non-EU spouses of EU nationals have the same rights of free movement as their EU spouses as long as they travel with their EU spouse.


What does this mean in practice?

Basically, as the non-EU spouse of an EU national you can go to any country except their home country as this falls under them exercising their free movement rights. Furthermore, in most cases, even if you arrive without a visa at the border, as long as you are together (or joining your spouse in the member state) and can prove your relationship, you will be granted entry. Several people have used this provision in the past although it’s usually much harder to do this arriving via air due to the fact that airlines don’t usually know these rules and will deny you boarding. So, if arriving by air, always get your visa in advance.

Don’t believe me? Check out the EU Directive 2004/038/EC.
Also, check out the Guide to Directive 2004/038/EC published by the EU commission in easy to understand language. 

The directive lays out in clear language what rights are granted to non-EU family members of EU citizens.

So, getting Schengen visas became a lot easier ever since Zara and I tied the knot! Of course, we have a US issued marriage certificate in English that has been apostilled by the Nevada Secratary of State. Furthermore, we had our marriage certificate legalized by the Portuguese Consulate in San Francisco. This is a small stamp that they placed on the document and charged us about $23 for it. Basically, make sure that your marriage certificate is in a position to be recognized by an EU country. If you got married in a country which ratified the Apostille Convention, then an apostille stamp on the certificate should be enough as all EU countries recognize documents with apostilles.


Applying for a short stay Schengen visa (up to 90 days per 180 days) is now much easier. All you need to do is provide:

- The visa application form with a photograph

- Your passport

- Marriage Certificate

- Copy of your spouse’s EU passport

The visa is free of cost and is given on an accelerated basis. What this means is that the consulate cannot ask you to go through a third party service (like VFS, BLS, Travisa, etc.) as you would have to pay their service fees. Furthermore, the consulate should process your visa in a timely manner.

I’ve followed this procedure twice now, once in San Francisco and recently in New Delhi. However, both times the consulate requested that I have medical insurance. It’s always a good idea to have medical insurance and while the guidelines specified in Directive 2004/038/EC do not let the consulate ask you for additional documents, I personally didn’t mind giving them a copy of my medical insurance.

Both consulates (San Francisco as well as New Delhi) when queried over the phone initially requested the whole array of documents (tickets, hotel bookings, bank statements, etc.) but when Zara spoke to them and mentioned the rules for spouses, they processed my Schengen visa within 24 hours without any additional documents (except the medical insurance I mentioned). The language of the directive is quite clear:


The right of entry of your third country family members is derived from their family ties with you, a Union citizen. All the Member State consular officials can ask for is their passport and a document establishing their family ties with you, such as marriage or birth certificate and proof of dependence, where applicable. Your family members cannot be asked to present documents such as travel tickets, employment certificate, pay slips, bank statements, proof of accommodation and means of subsistence or a medical certificate.


The visa granted under these rules is a short stay Schengen visa. So, you can only use it to stay 90 days within a 6 month period. Also, both times I received a visa with 6 months validity. I had written a letter to the Portuguese Consulate in New Delhi requested a longer visa (5 years validity, which is the maximum) as a family visit need might arise at any point of time, however, they still issued a 6 month visa and the man at the counter said: “It’s because our system is limited to just 6 months, but you can apply again when this one runs out because it’s free anyway, haha”.

Haha, but I don’t buy it. I’m sure they issue visas with longer validity periods but the next time I apply, I shall make another request for a visa with a longer validity. In fact, the consulate in San Francisco had mentioned earlier that I could get a longer validity visa in my home country.

You can also apply at the consulate of any Schengen country but it’s always best to apply at the one where you are going to visit. In our case, we will always visit Portugal and Spain when we go to Europe so it’s a no-brainer to apply at the Portuguese Consulate in New Delhi.

If you are the spouse/immediate family member of an EU national and are applying for a Schengen visa, make sure you inform the consulate of the rules in case they ask for extra documents. It is always important to ask for your rights and in the case of the EU, the good thing is that all the relevant laws are available online. If required, carry printouts of the relevant pages with specific passages highlighted for the benefit of the consular officer.

Ultimately, as the family member of an EU citizen you do have rights inside the EU, although for stays longer than 90 days you would need to register as a resident and you also have a right to that as long as your EU spouse is exercising treaty rights – so it should be a fairly simple process.

For more information, please consult the Directive 2004/038/EC and the Guide to the Directive published directly by the EU commission. If required, do not hesitate to present these rules to the consulate you are dealing with as they are bound by these laws and must follow them.


Update 2016:

The UK is going to vote in June regarding whether they will stay or leave the EU. How is this related? Well, as part of the “stay” deal, the UK has negotiated some rather worrying terms with the EU regarding the free movement rights of non-EU spouses.

The Commission intends to adopt a proposal to complement Directive 2004/38 on free movement of Union citizens in order to exclude, from the scope of free movement rights, third country nationals who had no prior lawful residence in a Member State before marrying a Union citizen.

What this means is not fully clear yet and there has been no clarification issued on the subject. However, the aim seems to be to limit the free movement rights of non-EU family members and bring their movements under the purview of national family re-unification laws.

There is a lot of confusion regarding the situation including how non-EU spouses who have already moved to the EU with their family are going to be treated under the new regulations. For now, if you are planning to move to an EU country and exercise your free movement rights with your non-EU spouse, the best advice is to move before the UK referendum if possible.


The UK has voted to LEAVE:

The UK has voted to leave the European Union. The changes mentioned above that the UK had negotiated in early 2016 are no longer applicable as the UK has voted to leave the European Union. Therefore, all the information in this article is current and applies to the EU – except the UK. Regulations regarding the UK will change in the near future and will differ significantly from the Directive outlined above. The changes to UK law will now be outside the scope of the EU Directive on Free Movement until the UK reaches a new deal with the EU Commission.

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  • Dominic Martins Says

    iam very happy to hear all these stories, thanks,and I will be very happy if you can send more stories infuture.

  • TJ Says

    I’ve had a similar problem with my Chinese wife’s application. Our Chinese Marriage Certificates had no Apostille stamp. Had I known this, I guess she would now have a Schengen Visa!

  • Thanks so much for this info. I will be applying for the visa in a few months and seeming I quit my job over a year ago, fingers crossed this won’t be a problem. I’ll let you know how we go…..

  • Bobbobababaque Says

    Hi, I’m an EU national and recently had my Asian wife’s daughter make a request for a visa to come to Europe. If issued, she will get a tourism Schengen C visa. The thing that bothers me is that when she arrives–being a timid teenager and not assertive in the least–the border guard may try to grill her and ask for things like hotel confirmation, onward ticket, bank statements, itinerary, etc since the visa would say it’s for tourism, and it’s no secret that many border guards don’t know the EU Directive laws so well. Is there nothing on a C visa that says they are coming via EU Directive rights to join family? If not, what exactly must she do to get through? Would the same documents–proof of family ties–that she used to get the visa in the first place suffice? I don’t even know if the guards where we are speak English so I would rather she not get into a heated discussion with one of them; you know many with badges have power trips–no offense to the honest ones.
    Any information you folks might have would be highly appreciated, thanks in advance and good luck to everyone else going through this.

  • Rahul Says

    Hi A & Z,
    I am an indian national. My wife is a. Latvian national. We got married in sep2009 in ireland. In october2010 I had to come India due to some property issues. This september (2014)my wife has come to Ireland. Now I want to go to join her in ireland, but before going to Ireland we want to spend some time in portugal. I have my marriage certificate issued from Ireland with me. I am worried about the time gap we were away from each other. Could this be a reason for visa rejection? Please guide me.
    With regards

  • SG Says


    Have you tried traveling to a Schengen area (coming from outside the Schengen area) without your wife using your short-stay Schengen visa as ‘Family Member of an EEA?’. I have a valid C Schengen visa but it has a remark ‘Family of EU/EEA,’ not sure if I could travel without my husband.


    • Ashray Says

      I haven’t personally traveled without my wife into the schengen territory but just because your visa has that endorsement, does not mean that you cannot use the visa to travel without your spouse. A C Schengen visa does not normally carry any restrictions regarding traveling together. If you want to be sure, just ask the consulate via email, take a printout of an email from them saying that you should be able to travel. Technically, you can’t be issued 2 schengen visas with overlapping validities, so you should be good to go with this one.

    • Tom Says

      Hi S,

      Have you travelled without your spouse with a Schengen visa marked ‘Family of EU/EEA’? Thank you.


  • SR Says

    hi guys, i have a EU spouse schengen visa, but need to travel withuot my spouse – is this possible?

  • SR Says

    ok i just realised this has been answered above :)

  • Pingback: Applying for a Schengen Visa as a EU Citizen Spouse | Tripper

  • Pingback: Schengen Visa Requirements: EU Citizen Spouses | Tripper

  • Kat Says

    How was it with applying away from your home country

  • Kat Says

    Can you plz tell us a lil since Hong kong Greek embassy told us we needed residency in order to apply from there

    • Ashray Says

      Is your spouse from Greece? It would be best to apply from the country that your spouse is from as they would be the most willing to help you. There is no requirement for residence for spouses although embassies can sometimes make it hard to process a visa without residency. If you have all the documentation to prove that you are spouses, residency documentation is not a part of the process. If you have trouble, contact solvit and they should be able to help you.

      • PASCAL Says

        Dear Ashray,
        You have mentioned that you have used the EU Directive 2004/038/EC to travel as a Non EU Spouse to Portugal your spouses country. I have been given to understand that it applies to other EU countries rather than the home country. My wife and children are Portuguese Nationals and I will be accompanying them as an Indian National. I am applying for a Schengen Visa but am not sure whether the Directive applies to me.Kindly advise.

        • Ashray Says

          Hi Pascal

          You are right that the directive only applies to EU free movement to other countries (other than the state of the national through whom you are deriving free movement rights) since countries are free to apply national legislation to their own nationals in their own territories. Most of the times when I go to Europe, I also visit countries other than Portugal so the directive still applies in my case. Furthermore, Portugal has also pretty much mirrored Directive 2004/38/EC for its own national legislation so it does apply to direct family members of Portuguese nationals as well.

          SEF has published the details of all legislation dealing with foreigners in Portuguese territory over here:

          You’ll note that the treatment of Non-EU family members (in the case of Portugal) is the same whether your spouse is Portuguese or not. So although Directive/2004/38/EC does not directly apply in your case, Portuguese national law is pretty much the same for your case and you still have a right of entry and permanence in the same way under the same terms.

          Hope this helps! Ask the consulate and I’m sure they’ll be happy to help you out.

      • Hi Im Roselyn married to a danish guy I have a question regarding applying visa we live here in phillipines with my husband and we plan to visit his grandma but we dont have business here or job im worried about bank statement ..but in law will shoulder all my expense..I need advice pls thank you

  • John Doe Says

    Hi Ashray and Zara, you guys have a very helpful blog for Indian travelers. I have suffered the travails of being a world traveler with an Indian passport for a long time and am quite fed up (and envious of friends with 1st world passports).

    Anyway, I am trying to compile a list of Indian people’s experience with different Schengen consulates in terms of getting long duration visas. Some consulates can be very finicky while others not so much. Hopefully this will help people in terms of what to expect – at least to the extent that you can “consulate shop” (yes, I know in theory you aren’t supposed to but sometimes there might be legitimate reasons to do so). If you can publicize it and add your own experiences from before you got married maybe, maybe we could build a good resource in the long run. Here’s the link:

  • Nani Says

    Dear both,

    Thanks for the info. This has helped a lot. Our issue is a bit more complicated since my SO is a Romanian, I’m a Vietnamese, and we’re having a long distance relationship. I’m fully employed at an international corp., U.S graduated & travelled back there a couple times. The fact that we’re not physically together worries me that it’ll cause an issue for me to apply for a schengen visa.

    We plan on signing the marriage cert in VN, then he goes to work (wherever that may be) and I apply the schengen visa to follow (then a residency if need be). Do you know/think if a marriage registration from Vietnam can be apostilled to make it relevant for Schengen visa application?

    Thank you so much.

    • Rashomon Says

      Hi Nani,

      You posted this almost a year ago but just in case you see this – had you managed to get a visa? My fiancé and I are in a similar situation.

  • Graham Says

    Hi, Great info but we (British husband/Chinese wife) have similar problems whenever we travel to Schengen Europe from the UK. Last Easter Spanish authorities demanded a stack of paperwork – bookings, insurance … and stated there would be a visa fee. Eventually we obtained the visa in one day free of charge and without the paperwork but this was only after involving legal representation. We are now looking at a visa for France but the French authorities have no readily identifiable contact details (email address) so it seems to be impossible to put them right – they are, via there website, demanding bookings for hotels, travel, insurance etc. and a fee. All wrong but difficult to circumvent! We just want to take a ferry – go for a drive – camp where we find ourselves and buy some wine. The tactics employed by those that control visa applications are tantamount to bullying and are totally anti the concept of freedom of movement for EU citizens and their families.

  • andres Says

    Hi Ashray:
    Thank so much for all your help!!! me and my wife are so thankfull for your advices!!
    I have a question, I am Peruvian and my wife is german we both life in canada but i dont have any legal status, i know that the EU Directive 2004/038/EC wouldnt apply to us if we would like to get the schengen visa at the german embassy but can we process the visa in other embassy and then travel to germany once we are there???
    is my legal status gonna be a problem?
    Thank you so much!!

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Andres

      You can definitely travel to some other Schengen country and make your way to Germany from there. As long as you are visiting any Schengen country other than Germany, you can use Directive 2004/38/EC. Depending on where your wife is from, you could plan to go to a neighboring country, spend some time there, and then go to Germany.

      I can’t say about your legal status as this heavily depends on the consulate you deal with however legal status is not important to apply Directive 2004/38/EC. Your right of free movement is a derived right so as long as you are planning to travel together to a country other than Germany, they should not stop you from going as that would be an obstruction of your right of free movement. If you have trouble with the application, please contact Solvit and they will help you with options to get your visa processed.

      I hope this helps!

  • Mo Says

    I am an Indian national (living in UK) and wish to apply for schengen visa to go on holiday in Portugal. My father is a Portuguese national I AM OLDER THAN 22, do I qualify as a family member of an EU national bearing in mind my age?.

    Also i have a protuguese birth certificate so i may be an EU national myself not sure i just dont have a ID card or Portuguese passport. I can make these documents in the UK but it would take a long time compared to 2 weeks in Portugal.

    so in essence my actual reason for travelling to Portugal, besides the sun, is to make a Portuguese passport as quick as possible.

    You guys are a cute couple!!

  • Ailene Says

    My experience on getting Schengen visas are different for each country I applied with. I am a Filipino, resident of Australia, married to a French citizen. Austrian and German embassies gave me my right to free movement, while Denmark didn’t. They even suggested I apply through the French Embassy initially. Then, when I explained how our main destination is Denmark, they said, they can offer to process my visa if I pay the 90 AUD visa fee. Which I agreed to because I really just want it done. My application has been with them for 3 weeks now. I’m still waiting.

  • kana Says

    greatings to all here and thanks for al the information ur giving us; i m maried to a swedish citizen and our mariage is register in my country and in sweden; i hv just apply for my residente permit : i life in cameroon and she is back in sweden;we want to meet for one month in italy or germany . will the ambassy ask me bank statement or hotel reservation or job attestation; because i went to italy ambassy and they ask for all of this
    please help me

    • Ashray Says

      They should not ask you for those documents. It is not required as per EU Law. Carry a copy of the directive when you meet them and show it to them. That should help your case. The Italians are known to be a little pushy about their documentation requirements but they too are subject to the same law that all EU countries must follow.

  • azmar Says

    Hello people
    please anyone can help , my non Eu wife applied for C visa to go to ireland with me as I am european Citizen but now 8 weeks & Ireland visa office not replied us yet
    any advise we can do ? please help

    • Ashray Says

      You need to get in touch with the Ireland visa office because it has been far too long. They are supposed to process applications within 15 days.

  • Jacqueline Says

    I am a British Citizen and my husband is Indian Citizen with valid 1 year Multiple Schengen C Visa issued with remark “Family UE/EEE”

    My husband currently in Belgium after visiting Paris and my question is;

    Can my husband work and live in Belgium as I am British Citizen but I am not in Belgium currently?

    Can he apply for a C+D Visa in Belgium as he want to do his own business in Belgium?

    Or he need to apply for a work permit or a professional card in Belgium?

    My husband currently in Brussels, can he come to meet you for this issue?

    Look forward to hear from you soon.

    • Ashray Says

      He may be allowed to get some kind of visa if he starts a business there. I do not know about that. It would perhaps be harder if you stay separately.

      EU family free movement is based on the family living together. If you move to Belgium with him, it would be easier to acquire a family based permit for both living and working there.

  • azmar Says

    thanks Ashray
    but I have emailed them many time only they told visa application awaiting examination !!!

    what else can i do please do you know anything

  • jaser Says

    my wife is a Lithuanian ,do i have to present to the Lithuanian consulate in Egypt “” as travel tickets, employment certificate, pay slips, bank statements, proof of accommodation and means of subsistence or a medical certificate” ” to get a schengen or even national visa to join her in Lithuania her home country

    • Ashray Says

      If you go to the home country of your wife, then EU free movement rules do not apply. Hence, you will have to provide whatever is required as per the national rules of Lithuania. You will need to ask the Lithuanian consulate about what is required in this case.

  • Hi Ashray –

    Thank you for publishing this article. I am an Indian citizen and my wife is German, and your article has been super-helpful for us.

    A quick question – I was slightly confused with your response to the question posted by Andres above. He said (and you agreed) that he would not be able to apply for the visa from the German consulate because his wife is German, because the EU directive only applies to states other than the one to which your spouse belongs. However, your own experience seems to be that you were able to apply for the visa in a Portuguese consulate even though Zara is Portuguese. Can you clarify?

    Thanks so much for your help!


    • Ashray Says

      Hi Sumantra

      You can apply at any consulate based on the schengen rules of where you’re traveling to, your primary destination, first port of entry, etc. EU Family free movement rules don’t necessarily apply in your spouse’s home country. So if you’re just going to Germany, then your entry is subject to German national law. A consulate may or may not issue you a visa under Directive 2004/38/EC in this kind of situation and so you might need to apply for a regular tourist/schengen visa. Most consulates should issue you a visa under the directive with minimal documentation requirements but the Germans can be a little sticky when it comes to rules (especially THEIR rules!) in general.

      Portugal has national rules that pretty much are the same as EU free movement rules. So, I can apply at the Portuguese consulate with no problems to go and visit Portugal.

      I don’t know what German national law says about spouses visiting Germany. But, if you want to apply at the German consulate and would like to ensure that your visa is processed under Directive 2004/38/EC, you should visit at least one other country. This proves that you are exercising EU free movement rights. Alternately, if you’re flying to Germany and your first port of entry is Paris (for example), then just apply at the French consulate. Remember, your free movement rights are RIGHTS that you derive from your spouse’s status as an EU citizen, don’t be afraid to politely ask for them if you have any trouble.

      Let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck!

      • Sumantra Roy Says

        Hi Ashray – thanks a lot for your help. I went to the German consulate in Bangalore today. You were correct – the person at the consulate said that Directive 2004/38/EC does not apply in my case because I am married to a German citizen and am applying for the visa from the German consulate. That directive would only apply if I applied for the visa from the consulate of a different EU country.

        However, he nonetheless issued a Schengen visa with a validity of 1 year to me without my having to go through the whole rigmarole of having to provide bank statements, income-tax returns etc. And the visa was issued free of cost as well.

        When I asked him whether he can issue a visa with a validity of 5 years, he said that they would be uncomfortable doing that immediately because this is the first time I am applying for a visa as the spouse of a German citizen, but that the next time I apply, they may be able to give me a 3-year visa. Anyway, I can’t complain – a 1-year visa is better than the usual 1-2 month visa that I used to be issued earlier :-)

        Just thought I’d post this for anyone else who is in my situation, and to thank you for posting this extremely useful article. Without your article, I’d still be going down the whole VFS route and having to submit a mountain of documents etc.


        • Ashray Says

          That’s great to know Sumantra! Thanks for posting back with your experience, it’ll definitely help others in the same situation.

  • Sujith Says

    Dear Ashray and Zara,

    Eva and myself are about to embark on this very testing journey hoping not to be separated too long. Currently we are awaiting her capacite du marriage and still have miles to go. But it’s encouraging to know that at the end of all this there will be some good days ahead. Thank you for this blog and it would be amazing for us to be able to have your guidance for our journey ahead. Kindly email me a reply with your contact on Facebook so we can keep in touch. God bless you both.

    I’m an ex Dubai lad myself and just got rejected a schengen to France to visit my Fiance and her family…Was heartbreaking…but good to know it was only part of the learning process…I used an invitation letter vs hotel bookings and am currently unemployed too…bummer…tc u both…hugs :)

    • Ashray Says

      Glad to be of help Sujith! Don’t let the rejection get to you, it’s all a bureaucratic mess and there’s nothing personal about it. Best of luck to you and Eva. It’ll be much easier once you are married so good times lie ahead :)

      I’ve emailed you my contact details.

  • ben Says


    I’ve been reading the information on here and would like to thank you in the first place for the useful info on here. There is lots of information on the internet, but sometimes it’s rather confusing. I have a specific question as well. I am a Belgian citizen. My Nicaraguan girlfriend is currently studying in Denmark on a 2 year visa. After that time she will need to return to Nicaragua, though she would like to stay another year in Europe. We will live in Denmark together next year. We do have plans to move back to Nicaragua together, but not for another 2-3 years. If we were to get married, what would her rights be? Her visa expires december 2016. Neither of us particularly want to live in Belgium, but would like to move to the UK or Spain. When we are married, does she automatically have the right to stay anywhere in Europe with me, and work as well? I read you can also apply for a visa if you officialy live together, but this may sometimes be refused. If we were to move to the UK/Spain, is it better to get married there, or still in Belgium? I know this is quite a few questions, and appreciate your help very much, it’s all so confusing.

    • Ashray Says

      If you were to get married her rights would be the same as yours in every country in the EU except Belgium. (Free movement rights) As long as you are a single family unit (live together), and you as an EU citizen are using your treaty rights (working in another EU country), you both have the right to live and work in that country. (So UK and Spain included)

      It’s more complicated to prove a union based on cohabitation. Marriage trumps that for sure. It’s also perhaps best to register the marriage in your own EU country (or the country you live in, so Denmark?) before moving anywhere else. You should get a marriage certificate to prove the fact. The UK or Spain cannot deny her a visa any more than they can deny you entry. (Subject to you exercising treaty rights). The rules are very clear on this. Family members of EU citizens have very strong rights.

  • Mirwais Says

    Hi. I’m British citizen and my two children’s also hold British passports. I currently live with my and children in Afghanistan. My wife doesn’t have UK visa.
    We want to take our children on a holiday to Disney land Paris.
    My question is can I apply for a French visa under EU free movement directive family member for my wife?
    Braces on French embassy Kabul they haven’t given any information regarding EU directive. In email they sent me documents list of normal schengen visa procedures.
    Will Just going on holiday not residing in France will entitle my wife to French shengen visa under EU free movement directive ? Thanks.

    • Ashray Says

      Yes she can. You may ask the french consulate to update their info. Show them a copy of the directive and ask them to check.

  • viveak majithia Says

    Hi. I have a little peculiar case. Married to a German citizen but while we were both living and working in Ghana. Now sge has a job back in Germany and i have quit to join her in Germany and obviously to begin work there once the spouse visa goes through. My question is once I apply for the spouse visa can i then also apply for a schengen visa to visit her during xmas or I ll have to wait in India till my spouse visa gets through. Or is it better to have a schengen visa before hand and then apply for a spouse visa. I have previously lived and studied in Swiss and traveled on a schengen visa. Am hoping that removes me as a threat to illegally immigrate. Have searched high and wide on the net but can’t find any info on this. Help and directions appreciated. Viveak

    • Ashray Says

      Your spouse visa falls under German national law so I don’t know what regulations apply to that. You could apply for the spouse visa once you’re done with your Christmas visit so that things are less complicated.

  • Owais Khan Says

    Hi there, My name is owais and my fiance is expected to get a student visa of (Portugal) in Feb 2016. If so, then guide me on how/time required to join her in Portugal with minimum gap of time after shes gone.

  • Darshan Says

    Thank you both for a brilliant article, it’s given me lots of reassurance. I am British, hubby is Indian, we got married in Kenya in 2013 where he was working for sometime on a work permit. I have a concern , perhaps you may know the answer – does my living outside of the EU (I have been living in India with my husband just short of one year now) affect my treaty rights and therefore my husbands rights when we apply for him to travel with me from India to visit Portugal next year? Many thanks. Darshan

    • Ashray Says

      No, living outside the EU does not affect your rights. However, being a British citizen, going to the UK is far more complex. Portugal or any other EU country should be totally fine though.

  • Elma Says

    Hi guys,

    I too am in this situation :( I am a Portuguese national, my husband is Russian but we live in Japan. The local embassy here requests all the usual Schengen documents: Flight confirmations, hotel, bank certificate, travel insurance, etc in addition to our marriage certificate. Luckily we were married in Portugal so it’s all registered and the documents are easily confirmed as authentic, but none the less they ask for everything. Besides the waived fee, there is no benefit in terms of short stay visas for spouses of EU nationals :(

    I sent you a message on facebook but maybe the request will help others: How did you convince embassies not to request all the documents? The Directive 2004/38/EC doesn’t apply to citizens of the country they’re applying for, so do you know the Portuguese law/text that overcomes this?

    Thank you :)

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Elma

      Take a printout of the relevant pages of the Guide to Directive 2004/38/EC, especially Page 5 – near the bottom – highlight the part about what documents may be requested:

      If you show them that, they should definitely follow the law and process the visa with minimal hassle. If they are waiving the fee, they are processing the visa as a spouse (as they should) and therefore they should follow all the rules regarding the procedure.

      Also, as far as I know, Portuguese national law pretty much reflects the Directive so they should still grant you a visa under the same rules. It is perhaps better to avoid discussing these things in detail. Just showing them the above document published by the EU should be enough for them to follow the law. However, if it gets to that, the relevant national law which ratifies the Directive is here (this is an english translation helpfully provided by SEF):

      Good luck, and I’m sure it’ll work out. Just please be firm about the rules and your rights as a Portuguese citizen. Also, if you have trouble, please ask to speak to a senior person at the consulate – sometimes that helps.

  • Honey Says

    please tell me should I give original marriage certificate or copy is enough to embassy for denmark short term schengen visa??

    • Honey Says

      Appostille convention is necessary??

      • Anas Says

        Can you tell me about your experience ,,

        My wife is danish EU ,,and I tried before marriage to go as tourist ..but got refused ,,we have done the marriage contract and now I want to apply as a visitor to visit my wife ,,,can you tell me if my previous refusal will affect or no ?

  • Willy Says

    I get the follow question for Ashray.
    We are married in Bangkok at September 4, 2015.
    My wife in Thailand ask spouse visa in Belgium embassy, she get answer 2 days ago.
    Because I give account balance from 01-01-2015 until 31-07-2015 for proof my income (tax letter from last year was to low for give at Belgium embassy).
    The account man make this balance for me and give it in Belgium embassy in Bangkok.
    The Belgium government let me know, that I can make this paper by my self.
    That’s the reason that she don’t get now D-visa.
    I make every month money around € 2500.
    If Belgium government want my taxletter from this year 2015, then I need to wait until March 2017 that I can proof legal my income from 2015.
    How can come now my wife to Belgium.
    If a need to travel together with her from Bangkok to Turkey or to Russia and ask there visa for come Schengen country in, can we do this and how long do we need to wait then at this visa?
    Thanks in advance for your proffesional advice.



    • Ashray Says

      Hi Willy

      I am not a professional on this so please do not take this as professional advice. I’m just a person who has read the laws and am trying to help people.

      If you are a Belgian national then the visa for your wife (a category D Visa) will come under the national laws of Belgium. Unfortunately the EU directives only apply if you are moving to a different EU country (and in some limited circumstances, moving back to your country of origin), that is, a country other than the EU national’s citizenship. Otherwise, you will have to meet all the requirements for family reunification as per the national law in Belgium. I do not know the specifics of this. If your income is sufficient then you should speak to the Belgian embassy and understand the requirements for a D visa in detail. There are some details here:

      I am assuming that you are a Belgian national.

      Hope this helps,

  • Angelie Says

    Hi to you both!

    I think I have the same situation as everybody else here and just want some help. I am a Filipina, working here in the Philippines and married to a French Guy. We already have the French Family Book(Livret de Famille)issued by the French Embassy here in the Philippines. My husband is currently having his holidays here with me. He worked before in UK before coming here and we are planning to settle down in Norway. My husband being a EU citizen doesn’t have a problem travelling while me coming from a third country needs to provide a lot of papers before obtaining a visa. Looking at the Norwegian embassy website, I have to provide a lot of documents (payslips,bank statements,certificate of employment,hotel accom,round trip ticket)plus a visa fee of 60euro for short stay. I am planning to just stay there for less than 90days since I haven’t decided to quit my job here right away. I know I need to apply for a Schengen visa. My question is can I get the visa even without providing these documents? Can i just travel with my husband? and if I do, will the Norway authority let me enter their country without a visa and I will just present our marriage certificate instead? I hope you can help me/us.

    Thank you so much!

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Angelie

      If you are traveling together with your husband, you should only present:
      - Your passport
      - Proof of marriage
      - A copy of his passport

      To receive a Schengen visa. If the Norwegian consulate is unsure about the rules, please send them a copy of Directive 2004/38/EC.

      I would recommend that you do get the visa. Although your rights allow you to present yourself at Norwegian immigration, an airline will probably refuse to carry you until there (they don’t know the rules). It’s best to get a visa beforehand to avoid these types of complications.

      The visa should be free of charge and issued quickly.

  • ivona Says

    I would like to know what is the fastest way to bring my husband to Germany.
    I have a Croatian nationality, I was living in Syria before I came to Germany 3 months ago, my husband is Syrian, we have married in Syria since 2006.
    Has he a right to enter Germany without a visa if he accompanying me?
    He can travel from Turkey or Lebanon, and I will go there to travel back with him to Germany by air.
    What documents we need at the borders, and do the airlines allow him boarding?
    Pleas, help me what is the easiest and fastest way for him to travel benefiting of my Eu nationality, because he needs to leave Syria as soon as possible.
    Please could you help me?

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Ivona

      Although your husband can enter with you without a visa, airlines will not let him board. You could arrive at the Greek border together and enter the Schengen space there and then fly to Germany. You will need to have your authenticated (preferably apostilled) marriage certificate with you.

      Also, he can apply for a visa at the German consulate in Istanbul and that might make things a lot easier. It will be free of charge and should be issued within 15 days. For this also, the requirements are fairly simple but the marriage certificate is a must. Please contact the German consulate in Istanbul for more information.

  • Sachin Chaudhry Says

    Hi Ashray/Zara,

    I am an Indian Ex-Army Officer from Delhi. 10 months back I got married with my Belgian Wife in India and marriage is registered in Indian Court as Special Marriage Act. I have also got apostle done.

    Now, I want to apply for Short Term Visa for which I have appointment tomorrow. So, its kind of lil urgent info.

    1) Which all documents I might need? Do I need to carry some invitation letter because I have not asked my wife to send me (actually I want to give her a sweet pleasant surprise) ….

    2) I read that you have written that as spouse of EU national, I dont need those bank statement, payslips, etc. ; does it hold true for me as well?

    3) Can I get multiple entry visa?

    4) Am I exempted from visa fees?

    5) I have been given appointment for biometric at VFS, New Delhi. You ahve mentioned that in cases like me , we need to go to Embassy directly and visa would be issued in 24 hours.

    I request you to clear my doubts please, my mail id is

    Thank you in advance

    • Sachin Chaudhry Says

      Hi Again,

      My wife is presently in Belgium


    • Sachin Chaudhry Says


      Could u please email me your contact details

      Thanks a lot


    • Ashray Says

      Hi Sachin

      Where is your spouse? IF she is in Belgium they may not process your visa under free movement directives. Your case may fall under Belgian national law. The visa is not processed in 24 hours but usually is done within 15 days. Also, they may ask for an invitation letter so you might not be able to surprise her this time.

      You should not need to provide bank statements, etc. if your visa is processed under the EU free movement directive as explained in the article. Also, the visa should be free.

      I would recommend you read the above article carefully and hopefully this will help you deal with your situation better. Whether the visa is multiple entry, etc. depends on your individual circumstances and what the consulate wishes to issue to you. However, you may request a multiple entry visa by ticking the correct box on the application form.

  • Avi Says

    Nice post A+Z.
    If there was a paypal link next to the post to buy you a coffee, I would have considered using it.

  • Ev Says

    Hi Ashray and Zara..

    I found that we have the same situation.. I am from Philippines and my boyfriend is from Portugal. How did you go about getting married? Can we get married in Portugal even if I only have a tourist visa? After that, whats the next step so that we can be together for a longer time? We really wanna be together in one place and me being required to have Schengen Visa to travel to Portugal makes it harder for us. I will really appreciate your advise :)

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Ev

      If you decide to get married in Portugal you should carry the required documentation for the registration (legalised and translated birth certificate, etc.). Once married, you can extend your visa or even apply for residence. You could also get married in the Philippines and then apply for a Schengen visa as the spouse of a Portuguese national. Whatever works for you guys :)

  • Erika Says


    I am a Hungarian national and my husband is from Pakistan. We got a rejection for Schengen visa from Hungarian authorities. Now I know they applied national law which is very bad as it is. We applied for Schengen visa to France which is under the eu directive. I am a little confused though. We want to spend most of our time in France but we would like to visit my family in Hungary. Could we use this french visa to go to Hungary as it is my home country? should my husband mention this at the interview or it is not allowed to go with this visa to Hungary? thanks a lot

    • Ashray Says

      You can go to Hungary. However, for the French authorities to issue a visa, France should be the main destination of your trip. There is a gap between enforcement of free movement directives by consulates and what the law actually says. Your husband is pretty much allowed to go anywhere in Europe with you for up to 90 days with no limitations. What this means is that even if you don’t go to France once you have the visa, that’s not illegal, your husband can never get in trouble for that. But it might make future applications for visas more difficult. That violates free movement laws but unfortunately this is the gap we all must deal with.

  • hichem Says

    im man from algeria i want do free movment with my wife (from latvia ) and french consulat in annaba ( algeria) but problem they ask me booking at TLS company is normal i go TLS or need go consulat france

  • Rohit Says

    You guys are doing a very good job by helping other people.
    I am an Indian citizen and my wife is Hungarian citizen, we recently got married and now planning to explore Europe. I applied in German embassy but they refused my application and when I spoke to them they said that My wife needs to be living in germany in case I want to get Schengen tourist visa as the spouse of EU citizen, they said that the Free movement not applied in your case.
    It’s very frustrating, I read the Rules and it seem that they are clearly denying to follow those rules.
    What I should do in that case, please advice.


    • Rohit Says

      I have submitted Appostille Marriage certificate, copy of her passport, and bank statement etc too

    • Ashray Says

      You don’t need to submit bank statements, etc. However, you should be either going there WITH your spouse or joining your spouse there. Free movement applies if you are traveling together. As long as you have proof that you are going to be together, they cannot refuse your visa. If the German embassy refused your visa you can contact Solvit or you can try to resolve the issue with them by speaking to someone who knows the rules. Don’t be afraid to ask for someone in charge and show them the relevant regulations.

      • Rohit Says

        Hello Ashray
        Thanks for your reply, I spoke to German visa officer and it seems that he don’t have correct knowledge about the rules. My marriage certificate is already Appostille by MEA but he said that it should be certified by german authorities as well, he said to contact German Lawyer in the embassy and pay 25000 for it.
        Should I apply with any other consular office?

        • Ashray Says

          Are you sure he didn’t just want a certified German translation of the document? If not, whatever he is saying sounds absolutely ludicrous! Please ask to speak to his superior and report him. It’s not usually a good idea to try and apply at a different consulate after a rejection. You could perhaps try to sort it out with the Germans if you are still planning to travel there.

  • Rohit Says

    Hello Ashray
    This is what he said to me.

    The Freedom of Movement Law applies only when your wife lives permanently in Germany. Please provide the German “Meldebescheinigung”.
    In order to verify your marriage certificate please pay 25.000 Rupees at the German Embassy in order to advice the Embassy lawyer. After the verification you will receive an official reply within three months.

    and again

    According to the European Freedom Law she needs to live in Germany permanently. If she does not, Schengen rules apply. Please send the “Meldebescheinigung”. Otherwise your application will be considered, as mentioned, to the Schengen Visa Code.

    • Ashray Says

      Did you show the officer the Guide to Directive 2004/38/EC? It might help to meet the officer with printouts of the relevant pages that explain how free movement rights apply to Non-EU spouses. It looks like the officer is not aware of what law to apply and there seems to be some confusion regarding this.

      There is no requirement for your spouse to be living permanently in Germany for you to apply for a visa under the free movement directive. I cannot comment on the verification requirement that he has proposed, however.

      Where is your wife? It might help if you go to the embassy together to make your case.

  • Rohit Says

    Yes, I have sent him the guide too, and offered him that I can see him in the embassy with my wife, and Once the document is Appostille then it suppose to be accepted in all the EU countries too, it’s a legal document certified by the MEA.
    I asked him to talk to his senior regarding this and I hope he will not behave like a nerd.

  • Sasha Says

    Dear Ashray,

    What kind of legalisatio did you do with marriage certificate? Is it enaught just my embassy stamp and signature from consul on the back of marriage certificate? Can you provide some picture how your stamp look like?

    Thank you,


  • Smith Says

    Looks like soon for many all this won’t be possible anymore:
    The Commission intends to adopt a proposal to complement Directive 2004/38 on free movement of Union citizens in order to exclude, from the scope of free movement rights, third country nationals who had no prior lawful residence in a Member State before marrying a Union citizen or
    who marry a Union citizen only after the Union citizen has established residence in the host Member State. Accordingly, in such cases, the host Member State’s immigration law will apply to the third country national. This proposal will be submitted after the above Decision has taken effect.

    • Ashray Says

      Yes, but it depends on the result of the referendum and there are further stipulations in the deal. What remains to be seen is how this is enacted by the European council and then transposed into national law. So I’d say we’ll know by Jan 2017 how things have changed if the UK votes to stay in.

      • Smith Says

        It says the intention of this proposal is to “prevent the abuse of the right of free movement of persons”. In the media, it is either mentioned as this or not at all. Only a few law blogs go into details. I believe the name itself was chosen intentionally to make sure that the Council and MEPs feel emotionally obliged to vote for it.
        All Member States have already agreed to it. Brexit would of course reverse it but Cameron is trying his best to scare the Britons out of their pants to keep them in, and it looks like it’s working. The Council could water it down a bit. At least, it has to go through some kind of review at that point. However, the Council consists of the same governments that have agreed to it in the first place. Without anyone making a lot of noise, my gut feeling is the chance that it gets through is at least ~95%.

  • Far Says

    Hi Rohit, I have the same issue as you. I was also told to pay 350 dollars to the German embassy in order for them to invitigate if my marriage is genuine. Have you got any update on your case? Would really appreciate if you could reply, thanks.

  • Anas Aqrabawi Says

    My wife is danish EU citizen living and working there ,,and I tried before marriage to go as tourist ..but got refused on 14-feb-2016 ,,we have done the marriage contract in UAE on 24-3-2016 and now I want to apply as a visitor to visit my wife ,,,can you tell me if my previous refusal will affect or no ?
    I called the danish consulate in dubai and they told me you still have pending appeal in immigration center in Denmark and they should give the final answer.

    I am thinking to terminate that application and submit a new application based on my eu wife .


  • Sowmya Says

    Hi, I am in urgent need of information because my mother and my daughter are indian nationals , while I have acquired german citizenship, I have been informed by someone that as family members of EU nationals, they can apply for a 5 year multi entry multiple visa as long as they don’t stay more than 3 months at a stretch, have you come across anywhere where this is permissible, its really difficult to understand all this at such a short time, I have even written to the consulate and also the federal foreign office, but I want some document t that says, this is possible, let me know, thanks in advance

  • Mickey Harvey Says


    Thank you so much for this info it is really handy. I would like you to clarify something for me please.

    I’m a dual National, South African and British and currently live in the UK. I married my same-sex partner almost 2 years ago in South Africa where marriage is legal. We intend on travelling to Madeira for a 1 week holiday in June. She has a spousal visa for 2.5 years to live in the United Kingdom. As Portugal does not recognise civil partnership as marriage, will she still be able to make use of the directive 200438\EC legislation?


    • Ashray Says

      Hi Mickey

      I’m a little confused about your situation. If you are married then Portugal does recognize same sex marriage. But you later mentioned a civil partnership. Your spouse can apply for a schengen visa under the directive. It’s better to have a visa because the airline may not allow you to board without it even though the directive covers you.

  • Rich Says

    My wife and I are moving to Germany for my new job. I am from the UK and my wife is from Taiwan. I know I can enter and work in Germany as an EU citizen. However, the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees told me that my wife needs a Schengen visa to enter Germany and then apply for permanent residency when we get there. But Taiwan citizens do not need a visa to enter Germany plus the fact that she is a spouse of an EU citizen. So can you confirm that my wife can enter Germany visa exempt as my spouse and then apply for permanent residency from within Germany?
    One other point is that I will enter Germany from UK and she will enter from Taiwan. Will this affect anything? Many Thanks.

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Richard

      What the federal office has told you is correct – if she needed a visa to enter Germany. The regular procedure is to enter the country legally (either with a Schengen visa or a visa exemption stamp – depending on your nationality) and then apply for a residence card. The residence card is usually for five years so it is not permanent residency.

      Please be aware that if the UK votes to stay in the EU, there are some provisions in the deal that will strip non-EU family members of their derived free movement rights in most cases. Basically, it will become much harder to move to the EU for non-EU spouses. I will update the end of this article now with what is going on. But please be advised that you are better off moving to Germany and applying for your wife’s residence card before the UK vote.

  • Ian Backman Says

    Hi Ashray. I’m a South African citizen and am marrying a dual Portuguese-American citizen next month. We want to go on our honeymoon to Portugal. I know I need a visa. As he’s returning to his home country, Portuguese national law applies. I can’t find any clear info on Portuguese law. The consulate in Boston never answer their phones :( The embassy in DC said we might not have enough time to get a visa.

    • Ashray Says


      Unfortunately consulates can sometimes be quite unresponsive. Portuguese national law is the same as EU law in this case so you should get a visa fairly easily. If you are nearby a visit to the consulate would be the easiest way to sort out everything.

  • Ahmed Says

    Hey Thank you so much for this info, i’m a National algerian living in algeria ,My wife is danish citizen,she is moving to germany for living and working there ,I would like you to clarify something for me step by step please, How to apply for a schengen visa under derective 2004/38/EC to join my wife in germany because I can’t see any type of visa under this directive in the online portal of german embassy.?
    One other point, if I can get special apointement at the embassy ,applying under as a direct relative of EU citizen, that due to high demand. best regard

    • Ashray Says

      You apply for a regular visa as a family member of an EU citizen. Do not fill the fields on the form marked with a *
      Your application should then be processed under the directive.

  • shalomie tewes Says

    Hey Guys,

    My husband is an EU citizen of Indo-German nationality and I am Indian. We were married in India and have a non-apostilled Indian Marriage Certificate. We currently live in India. Towards the end of the year we are hoping to travel to Germany, Switzerland and Portugal for a holiday and to visit family.

    My questions are:
    (1) since our marriage certificate is not yet apostilled (it’s in process via German consulate but will take longer than 10 months they told us) will it still be valid to use as documentation under the free movement with spouse directive ? Or must I apply for schengen visa through regular procedures? And does this mean I’ll have to show payslips, bank statements and so on?
    (2) if I do get the schengen short stay, is there any other formality to travel from Germany to Switzerland and Portugal via road / train and plane nice i’ll be using all three modes?
    Please do let me know and thanks for this super informative post!

    • Ashray Says

      1. Depends on the consulate. They’ll probably want to see an apostille though. If you don’t have it, then yes, you will have to apply for a regular short term schengen visa with all the requested supporting documentation.

      2. No, there is no other formality. There are no border controls for the most part. Sometimes these days an ID/Visa check might be carried out but that’s about it.

      • shalomie tewes Says

        Thanks so much!

      • shalomie tewes Says

        Hey Ashray,

        I’m still a little confused about the submission of supporting documents for my visa, main thing being trying to locate the exact paragraph in which the Directive mentions details about the supporting documents required by non-Eu family members. I’ve been trying to read through the links you provided as well as other stuff online, but nowhere can I find it saying “All the Member State consular officials can ask for is their passport and a document establishing their family ties with you, such as marriage or birth certificate and proof of dependence, where applicable. Your family members cannot be asked to present documents such as travel tickets, employment certificate, pay slips, bank statements, proof of accommodation and means of subsistence or a medical certificate.”.
        I wrote to the consular attache asking about supporting docs and they replied that i would need to submit all that was mentioned in this and here it says I would need to support everything. I guess at the end of the day I don’t mind submitting everything, but I think it’s a pain and ifI can exercise a right, why not?
        So I guess my question is, where exactly does it say the above? Can you give me the paragraph and sections number?
        PS: Here’s the latest info: we got our marriage certificate NOTARISED in Germany. I think that means its now recognised?

        Looking forward to your reply and thanks.

  • Mirwais Says

    Iam a British national. My wife is afghan national and she had Italian schengen visa issued for free under eu free movement law.

    My question is if she come with me to Belgium I have a job contract and a place to live in Belgium will she be able to apply F card Belgium residence permit under article 10 of eu free movement directive 2004 for family member of eu national. even though her schengen visa is expired now?

    She hasn’t spend 90 days after visa expiation.


    • Ashray Says

      Yes she should be able to apply for a residence card with you in Belgium. I would suggest to apply before June 23rd however.

  • Mirwais Says

    Thank you for your reply.

    I will try to apply before June.

    So as her schengen type c visa is expired now. Will the Belgium authorities say that she’s illegal we can’t give her residence permit.

    Will her being without visa be a problem in Belgium.

    • Ashray Says

      I don’t know what the Belgian authorities will say. As long as you are together and you are exercising free movement rights it is very difficult to deny a spouse the right to free movement that they derive from you. It should be fine, but you should get her status legalized as soon as possible. The rules are changing later this year and it’s not yet clear how they will change but it’s possible your wife’s ambiguous status might end up working against her.

  • Janice Says

    Hi Ashray,

    I am Filipina married to a Dutch Citizen and have 4yr. old daughter. Since my husband and my daughter are currently living in Netherlands I myself remain living in the Philippines because of the visa requiement that my husband provide a year contract before the procedure. But nowadays there so hard to find the only available is contractual basis .

    But anyway, we decided that my husband move to Belgium for me to be able to get me here through the EEA FAMILY PERMIT. But my questions are, since I am holding Philippine Passport do I need to apply for a Schengen Visa and let the Belgian Embassy knows about the EEA? Since my husband dont have job yet he cannot sponsor me in that case. The only document we have are our Passports and Marriage Certificate registered in Netherlands. Would that be enough for proofs?

    Your response is highly appreciated! Thank you!

    Sincerely yours,
    Janice R.

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Janice

      Yes, you’ll need to apply for a Schengen visa as the spouse of an EU national. The Belgium embassy should know about the procedure, if they do not, you can show them a copy of the relevant pages of the guide to the directive linked in the above article. Your husband does not need to “sponsor” you. You are allowed free movement with him for 90 days in europe with no conditions attached. During that period, you can apply for residence in Belgium and you may need to prove that you have enough money to sustain yourselves or some source of income. The requirements are not usually very difficult to meet. Your passport and marriage certificate (alongwith a copy of HIS passport) should be enough as per the rules. I recommend you make your application for a residence card in Belgium before June 23rd if possible because the rules are slated to change after that and it is not clear what will happen.

      Hope this helps, good luck!

      - Ashray

  • Janice R Says

    Thank you so much Ashray for the reply. So it means that I have to comply the bank statements, Insurance, book a hotel, employment documents? I am not working nor no business. Maybe if I apply for a Schengen Visa they might declined me because not enought sufficient income I have. But what if my visa granted only 1 way ticket i will booked for my airline ticket? Cheers dude! -Janice-

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Janice

      No, you apply as the spouse of an EU national. There are fields marked with a * on the Schengen visa form that family members do not have to fill. Since you don’t have to fill the fields regarding income, etc. you do not have to provide bank statements and other documents. Just your passport, copy of spouse’s passport, marriage certificate, and the form. They may ask for proof to see that he is already in Belgium or that you will join him there, this could be a letter from him or a flight ticket, etc.

      You can have a one way ticket, it’s no problem. Please read the article above to get more information, it has all the info you will need to approach the embassy.

  • Janice R Says

    Thank you very much again Ashray! It helps me a lot this details and informations you gave me. I am over the moon because we will be reunited again with my husband and my daughter. Again thank you. Best regards, -Janice R-

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Janice

      Glad to help! Please note however that the consulate might sometimes not be aware of the rules so it will help if you carry a printout of the relevant pages of the Guide posted here, and are persistent about your rights as the spouse of an EU citizen. Once you get a visa, you fly to Belgium and then you may apply for residence before 90 days are up. I am not familiar with the process of that (each country differs) but it should not be hard at all if your husband has a job. Good luck and I hope you are with your family soon!

      - Ashray

  • Janice R Says


    1 more thing, because my husband still don’t have a job yet, is it still fine for me to apply for a residence card there in Belgium? We are really hoping that before my 90 days will end he will make sure he have already a job by that time. Out of my curiosity as well, what is the Visa they issue me in Belgium Embassy in Philippines , is it a Schengen Visa or EEA Family Permit Visa? Thank you again. -Janice-

    • Ashray Says

      They will issue a schengen visa at the consulate. The residence permit will be issued once you are in Belgium. If your husband does not have a job, then you should be able to prove that you have sufficient savings to live including a place to stay as well. If you cannot prove this then your application may be denied. You should ask the Belgian authorities for further details on this.

  • Janice R Says

    Thank you thank you Ashray! – Janice -

  • Janice R Says

    Hi Ashray,

    I am here again to ask for advice.My husband and I decided to meet me in Spain and arrange our hotel reservation there and also other member state. My question is, Since I am applying for Schengen Visa do I need to get a return ticket? Thank you again . -Janice R.-

    • Ashray Says

      You are not required to have a return ticket but they may ask for one. You need to prove that your husband and you will be in Spain together (so his tickets going there, your tickets going there, hotel booking together..). Unfortunately, there is a gap between the law and how it is enforced. You could direct them to Chapter 4 of the Guide to Directive 2004/38/EC published by the EU commission. Page 5 has the info about documents required with a visa. A return ticket is not usually required.

  • Janice R Says

    Cheers Ashrsy! Il read for further details. :-)

  • Edward Says

    Hi, I am British and an EU national living in Spain (but non-resident). My wife is Filipina. I want her to come to Spain for the summer under her right of free movement. We have been denied the Schengen visa for the spouse of an EU national. The Spanish Embassy in Manila asked for airline tickets, insurance, legalizations of marriage documents, all of which we provided, but they still denied us. The principal reason that they give is that we have not been “cohabiting for one year”. Nowhere have I read that this is a valid reason for denial. It seems that they are in clear breach of EU regulations. We want to appeal as soon as possible, but we are unsure of the exact process and what would be the best thing to write in our appeal letter. Can anyone help with accurate and relevant advice?

    • Ashray Says

      Yes, the reason for denial is incorrect. Your best bet is to get in touch with Solvit about your case. However, they will take a little time (few weeks to months) to help you out. If you get into the appeals process with Spain it can take a lot longer. Basically, if you can approach the Spanish authorities and convince them that your case was wrongly denied, this is always better than to try and prove them wrong (even though they are…).

  • AbdKhan Says

    I am following this page and you have been very helpful. Thanks a lot.

    I am UK citizen and my parents with following status would like to visit France and Denmark with me from UK by road through Euro Tunnel. Purpose of visit is only for Tourism and should not be more than 14 days.

    - Non – EEA Citizen
    - American Green Card Holder
    - On 2 years UK visit Visa valid for at least 1 year from now

    My question is, can they travel with me to Schengen states without visa under EU treaty rights / free movement as EEA family member.

    I would like to apply Schengen Visa for them but both France and Duth Embassy dont entertain visa requests from EEA Family members without resident visa. Please advise. Many Thanks

  • Janice R Says

    Hi Ashrey,

    My husband and my daughter are ready for moving to Belgium and have a job waiting there. Should I start apply for a Schengen Visa now? In a visa (Belgium) question #21. Main purpose should I check visiting family or friends? and also only Belgium is my destination of my trip, and question #31 should I filled up the departure date ? I only plan 1 way ticket. and also, should i comply for insurance as well? Thanks a lot. What is the 1st step and so forth to comply for my schengen visa? Thanks a lots. -Janice-

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Janice

      You should ask the Belgian consulate for what they need to process a visa for the family member of an EU citizen. It’s always a good idea to have insurance but the general requirements are the same as mentioned in the above article. Good luck!

  • Anas Says

    Hi Janice ,

    I married to a danish and this is my story :
    - Before getting married I tried to go on FEB 2016 BY applying for a tourist visa and got refused due to “no sure from my return” although my papers were perfect and everything was fine and the case got appealed automatically .
    -I have got married in UAE on last march 2016 and attested my marriage contract
    -I have dropped the pending case by calling danish immigration service because the consulate in dubai told me we dont advice you to apply again while having a pending case
    -The pending old case (FEB 2016) was not important and its a routine action (one of my friends faced the same and he regret to wait for the appeal)
    -So by last April I made sure that I am clear and dont have any pending cases before applying for the EU SPOUSE VISA- short term schengen
    -ON LAST 5/JUNE/2016 I Have applied BY PROVIDING all required documents including the marriage certificate attested as their requirements .

    I just need your opinion because my wife is afraid from the old refusal ,
    thank you

  • Sheila Says

    Hi, I always read your article and it helps a lot. Well, we have problem about my visa application. First, of all my husband and I went to Spain consulate to apply a schengen visa. We have my married certificate, his passport copy. However they didn’t accept my application because we need to provide a itinerary round ticket, hotel reservation my employment certfication,payslips etcs. I told them about free Europe movement of non eu spouse and I let them to show the copy. My question is can we go direct flight to Spain without schengen visa? Or what is best way to have advice to get schengen using free Europe movement

    • Ashray Says

      What is your husband’s nationality? You can apply under the directive if he is an EU national. Show the consulate the directive if you need to.

  • Sheila Mateer Says

    My husband nationality is british citizen. We show to to them already the directive but we still need to provide the requirement.

  • Sheila Says

    I have bad experience today eu free movement here in philippines didnt reapply. We went today to consulate to passed the application form for schengen visa but they didnt accept. my husband is british citizen and we have child british citizen also…. but didnt accept as eu directive they need me to provide requirement as payslip,round way ticket, insurance, reservation for hotel and etc. As i was there in consulate they didnt allowed my husband to get inside in consulate to explain his right. Even do i show to them the right of union citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within the union was not acceptable.

  • Sheila Says

    Thank you so much for your advice Ashray

  • Faisal Says

    Hi ashray
    Am going to apply this month they ask me for pervious passport I lost my passport long time a go I just remember no it’s also mention in my new passport what should I do advice me plzzz thanks

    • Ashray Says

      Tell the embassy you lost it? I don’t see why they should ask for any previous passport, especially if it’s not valid.

  • Nikki Says

    Hi, don’t know if you can help. We are going on holiday to Spain. My husband has a British passport, myself and children have South African. We have our schengen visa already. I’ve just realized our flights are through London and we require a change from Gatwick to heathrow, but have no uk visa. We will be traveling with my husband. Do we need an EEA permit, if so how do we apply? Would be be refused entry to the uk traveling with him?
    All air truckers etc show we will only be there for a few hours. Thanks

    • Ashray Says

      Unfortunately, you are not eligible for an EEA family permit because your husband is British. You would need to apply for a regular transit visa. You can do this at the nearest British High Commission. If it’s possible at all (or with minimal cost), I’d suggest you change/cancel your flights and avoid flying through the UK.

  • Asha pariyar Says

    Hello ashrey brother,
    I am very happy to see this page.well,in my case I am a Nepalese citizen and my husband is Hungarian citizen.we got married 5 month ago in nepal and we registered our our in nepali system.after that my husband visited hungary embassy in new Delhi to register our marriage in Hungarian system through consular section.i have Hungarian marriage certificate with me.we were planning to travel together but unfortunately my schengen visa was refused from german embassy in kathmandu who issue visa in hungary behalf.they told me to go hungary embassy in new delhi and apply for family husband had to go home because he already waited 4 month for my visa in nepal with me. Brother ashrey, now I am confuse which visa do I need to apply.schengen short term visa or family reunion? my husband telling me to apply for schengen short term visa as a family member of eu citizen.please help me because soon I am booking my appointment.i would be very glad if you help me in this matter.

    • Ashray Says

      Are you planning to go to Hungary? If so, a family reunification visa is required. If you are planning to go to another country, a short term schengen visa will work. Please get in touch with SOLVIT if the German embassy does not help you.

  • Asha Says

    Brother askray thank you very much for your reply.yes, my main destination is only hungary because my husband is hungarian and we are planning to live in Hungary and start our life in hungary together.German embassy in kathmandu is only responsible for schengen short term visa where we have to prove them i will come back after 90 days to my home country.but in my case they knew I am already registered in hungary as a married couple with hungarian citizen and they knew my main purpose is not to return after 90 days but apply for resident in Hungary.german embassy also didnt ask for my travel insurance and didnt ask visa fee also but I got refuse they told me they only give schengen visa for tourism purpose so they told me to apply from Hungary embassy in new delhi where the embassy issue visa only if the main destination is hungary.i am very much confuse and in Hungary embassy new delhi website its hard to understand in my case which visa will allow me to go hungary and there I can request my resident permit.Nobody giving me correct answer its so complecated.i have all the necessary papers in my hand which my husband has send from hungary and I am ready to go hungary embassy in new delhi but I am not confirm short term schengen visa will allow me to go Hungary and do my resident permit or I have to apply for long term visa for family husband telling me that short term visa from Hungary embaasy new delhi will be best for me because my husband has already registered our marriage in hungary and I already have my hungarian marriage certificate with me so my husband is telling me I am family member of eu citizen and I have right to apply for short term schengen visa and do my resident permit in hungary when I am in hungary.please help me my marriage is registered in both nepal and hungary and we are not planning to go any other country.i am only waiting for your advice so that I can tell to my husband and do according to please reply me soon brother.thank you

    • Ashray Says

      I don’t know if Hungary allows in country family reunification. If yes, then you can apply for a short term schengen visa and then apply for your reunification permit once you are in Hungary. If not, then the embassy will process your long term visa in New Delhi. Please ask the Hungarian embassy for more information. Your application falls under Hungarian national law and not under EU free movement rights (since you are moving to Hungary) so it will depend on the laws in Hungary.

  • Faisal Says

    I recently I apply join spouse visa under drictive law in my country Pakistan for malta Italian embassy represent malta visa they refund my application and say they don’t have mandate to process this application now I don’t understand what am gonna do could you advise me what I do or I apply for itlay thanks

  • Faisal Says

    Hi ashray

    My wife is British citizen and am from Pakistan
    We planing to move in Malta in my country Italian embassy represent Malta visa I apply my visa EU spouse under directive 2004/38/ec on 15/07/2016 with all supporting docoments marriage certificate my birth certificate tru translate of marriage certificate health and travel insurance my wife passport copy one way flight tickets hotel booking my bank statement is well all documents attested from foreign affirs and then I apply via Gerrys on 18/07/2016 I receive call to collect my passport Italian consulate refund my application with fee and in letter they said they don’t have mandate to process your application so now am confused where am going to apply thanks

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Faisal, You will need to ask the Italian consulate how you can process your application or communicate with the Maltese authorities. As a first step, please get in touch with Solvit as they might be able to help you and clarify your situation. As such the free movement directive should apply to your situation.

  • jitu kishnani Says

    dear sir,

    I am Indian citizen, holding Indian passport living and working in guinea west Africa. my wife is living in Las palmas, Spain from last 14 years and she is holding the permanent resident card. i am planning to live with her in Spain. my question is,

    if i get Spanish tourist visa from guinea, west Africa. can i travel to Spain from India? and what is the procedure of getting Spanish spouse visa after reaching to the Spain ? and how long it may takes ?

    • Ashray Says

      You should ask the Spanish consulate. Your move does not fall under EU free movement directives so the rules are different.

  • muhammad Says

    hi ashray
    I want information about Eu directive
    my wife is British citizen and I am Pakistani national
    kindly tell me is Eu route is still open for british citizen
    .I can join my spouse in Ireland ?

  • arjun luther Says

    Hello ashray,
    I am an Indian citizen,23 years old male…i have a gf in Belgium, we met 1 and a half year ago online..we are very keen to to meet each other..she can’t come to India coz she’s not 18 yet and i want to visit her there…not meeting each other s driving us crazy.. I have read many blogs but your blogging is phenomenonal…i am still a student ,can you please guide me or direct me in a way where i should start?

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Arjun

      The rules stated in this article only apply to married couples and in some cases de-facto (or registered) partnerships. They won’t apply in your case so your best bet is to get a tourist visa to visit Belgium.

  • moir Says


    iam british citizen, i applied for my irish visa to join me under eu free movement. after nearly a year they didnt replied back so we withdraw the application from irish embassy and applied for a schengen visa under the same rules to some other eu country, and my wife got the visa in 10 working days.

    my question is now if i accompany my wife and go and try to board a ferry from france which goes directly to ireland will the french border force allow her with me?

    or will they give any visa or stamp on her passport to join and board the ferry with me?

    is there any chances of her being detained and sent back to her home country?

    we have our marriage certificate and all necessary documents to prove our relationship.

    has any one tried this way to get her spouse to get the visa at the border.


  • Taukir Says

    Dear Ashray

    I need your assistance on my case. I am a UAE resident and a job holder whereas my wife is a Danish national and currently living in UAE under my sponsorship. ( spouse visa ) we are planning to travel to Venice in November on occasion of our first anniversary. My question if I can apply scheng visa using right to free movement while my wife is living in UAE for a year now. Although she frequently travels to home country denmark but does not work there any more.

    What would be your suggestion to apply tourism visa or EU family member visa. We intend to stay a week or so. Shall I mention precise period in application or 90 days multiple ?

    Await your kind assistace / guidance on this front.


    • Ashray Says

      You can apply under either of the two categories. As a family member you will have to submit less documentation and can fill in 90 days if you want for the duration.

      • TAUKIR Says

        Dear Ashray

        Thanks for your reply. what i am still confused about and wants to clarify here is that can i apply family cat visa even when my wife is living in dubai under my sponsorship and does not hold a job in Denmark any longer ?


        • Ashray Says

          It does not matter whether your wife lives in Denmark or holds a job there. Please read the rules and regulations from the EU Commission in the post above. You can apply as a family member of an EU national. For more information, please ask the consulate.

  • TAUKIR Says

    Dear Ashray

    Also if i should submit my visa application direct to consulate have i chosen the right to free movement category and bypass VFS in dubai ?


  • abdul Says

    im deported from uk.bcz asylum gf irish citizen.she came my home country we do marriage here .i apply irish spouse visa d last year one year gone still no receive any response
    she have nice job in ireland.she cant do move any eu country.what i need to do i have iran marraige certifact.deport from uk can i apply shechan visa .

  • Steven smith Says

    Hello Ashray, I am a south African national. I am married to an Austrian national. We got married in the UK in 2015.I am currently residing in south Africa because of business purpose for last six months. My wife is residing in the UK and exercising her treaty rights in the UK. She will join me in Italy from the uk.

    1.We would like to go to Italy for holiday in October. Can I apply under ‘family member’ category?
    2. Will I have to fly to Austria first then to Italy?
    3. Which embassy should I apply? Austria or Italy?
    4. How long they take to process on average?

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Steven

      1. Yes
      2. No, unless you want to go to Austria for something.
      3. Italy if that’s where you’re going.
      4. This varies depending on the consulate in question.

      Please ask the Italian consulate for more information. It should be fairly simple if you have all the documents for a family member application.

  • abdul Says

    hi ashray please help me ,
    im deported from uk.bcz asylum gf irish citizen.she came my home country we do marriage here .i apply irish spouse visa d last year one year gone still no receive any response
    she have nice job in ireland.she cant do move any eu country.what i need to do i have iran marraige certifact.deport from uk can i apply shechan visa .

    ON AUGUST 29, 2016 AT 4:19 AMREPLY

  • Chona Says

    Hi Ashray

    I am Filipina and im living in Philippines and i have a Portuguese boyfriend in Portugal, now he wanted me to go there in their country. So i have some questions to ask

    1.) what are the documents will be needing for my Boyfriend for inviting me in going Portugal?

    2.) what are the requirements will i also be needing?

    3.) what are the procedures in civil marriage in Portugal?

    4.) If in case we got married before the 90days of my schengen visa, can i apply for Residence visa so after 90 days i dont need to go out from schengen area?

    Thank you very much

    • Ashray Says

      Your application will be treated as a regular tourist visa. In this case, an invitation letter might help but in general you’ll have to meet all the requirements on your own. Please get in touch with the nearest Portuguese consulate for more details. When I went to Portugal back in the day, this was my experience.

      If you do get married while in Portugal, you should be able to continue staying there. You’ll need a legalized birth certificate and several other documents. Your boyfriend should ask the Conservatoria in his locality for more info.

  • abdul Says

    ashry why u no give me suggestion

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Abdul

      The article above explains what your rights are. If you and your spouse decide to move to another EU country you can apply for a Schengen visa and move there. You can only move together so if she cannot leave Ireland, your only option is to take it up with the Irish authorities, however, in that case only Irish law applies.

  • abdul Says
  • Lou Says

    Hi Ashray,
    Needing some urgent advice please if you can.
    i am a British citizen and my husband was deported from uk back to Kurdistan, Iraq. We had a British registry marriage in 2011, so I have that certificate.
    I just came here last month to Kurdistan and I can’t cope living here.
    I know he cannot come back to the uk but can he come with me to a different country in Europe?
    Can we just turn up at the Greece border with marriage certificate?
    What is your best advice please?

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Lou

      Sorry about your situation.

      If you can make it together to the Greek border with your marriage certificate, that should work. This will HAVE to be by land though because no airline will carry you there without your husband having a Schengen visa. It might take the Greeks a little time to make sure everything is in order but the law says that you must be let in. Yes, you both can live in another EU country, at least as long as Britain is part of the EU so you still have some time.

      If you cannot reach Greece by land your best bet is to apply for a Schengen visa to the country you plan to move to. Once you get the entry visa and go there your husband can apply for a residence card in the country. It’s probably quite difficult to get a Schengen visa in Iraq at the moment so if you can make it together to ANY EU border (even Bulgaria) you will have to be let in as per the law.

      Good luck!

  • Lou Says

    Hi Ashray,
    Thanks very much for your reply,
    Just a few more questions if you can help me please.
    Does my husband need to have his Iraqi passport with him or will his Iraqi identity card be enough, as he currently does not have a passport and he may even struggle to get this.
    And yes I believe you are quite right in saying that it will be difficult for him to get a visa, I see it being refused.

    • Ashray Says

      In principle his visa should not be refused because EU law supports his case however consulates have been known to delay visa applications quite a bit in locations like Iraq. He would need a passport for international travel. I don’t know if he can travel without one or how he might be able to prove his identity overseas.

  • Lou Says

    Hi Ashray,
    Yes I was just wondering do you think his Iraqi nationality card would be sufficient for identification as it does have his picture on it?

    • Ashray Says

      It would certainly make things more complicated. The Guide to the Directive says:

      Your family members cannot be automatically turned back at the
      borders if they do not have a valid passport or, if required, an entry
      visa, when they are able to prove by any other means that they are
      covered by the right of free movement and residence by establishing
      their identity and family ties with you.

      However, what border officials might consider “valid identity documents” can be quite subjective. I’d suggest that you take as many identifying documents as possible. You need to prove two things:

      1. He is who he says he is (multiple forms of ID should help, Iraqi ID card, expired passport if available – even copies of an unavailable passport, any UK based ID like a drivers license or anything else if available, etc.)
      2. You are who you say you are (easy with a British passport) and also that you are married (a British marriage certificate should work, any other documents proving your relationship will also help a LOT).

      Also carry a printed copy of the Guide to the Directive (even the Directive itself if possible although it’s a rather long document..) linked in the article. You will probably need to re-iterate your rights multiple times and be as informed and stubborn as possible. Don’t be timid because these are the rights granted to you and your husband under EU law. If you have the contact number of an immigration lawyer in the country you are trying to enter, you can always call him to the scene if things aren’t working in your favour (they should, because it’s the law but sometimes you need to play hardball).

      It won’t be as smooth as getting a visa and flying in, but it shouldn’t be too hard because the law says you are covered as long as you are together. Also, there are no restrictions on free movement for up to 90 days so you don’t really need to prove that you have funds to support yourselves but if you can show that (some savings..), it’d definitely work in your favour as well. Do not accept the fact that you may not have a job in the destination country as a valid reason for you to be turned back, there are no restrictions on free movement for the first 90 days. Neither for you, nor for your husband.

      Hope this helps.

  • Ali Says

    Thanks for the detailed information.I have one question regarding application category.Which category i should check in the form ?It should be “Visit family or friend” or others (……..).Waiting for your earliest reply!

    • Ashray Says

      Please check whatever category corresponds to your purpose of visit. If you’re primarily visiting family or friends then checking that category is fine. Alternately, select Tourist.

  • Ali Says


    Yes my purpose of visit is to see my wife who is EU/EEA citizen.Actually i applied with visit friends and family and they refused me by giving me reasons that i will not come back etc.The problem was i did not mention that i want to use my right as EU/EEA citizen spouse .So i am applying again but bit confused how i can mention that and which category i should select.And they also charged me normal visa fees.Becasue i did not know properly about this Directive and rule.
    So please tell me briefly which category i should choose and how should i mention in application that i am applying as EU/EEA citizen spouse.

    Thanks waiting for your earliest reply!

  • ajit Says

    I am a Indian and will be getting married to my German girlfriend in Denmark this month.My visa is valid till first week of November. I want to know the following
    1)What steps I need to follow after marriage
    2)Do I need to return to India and then apply a family reunification or can i get an extension or fresh visa issued in Germany.

    • Ashray Says

      Congrats. You should ask the German authorities for info on this. This article is about free movement rights for countries other than the country of nationality of the EU spouse. Your move to Germany will fall under German law and not the EU directive.

  • mathias Says

    Hello Ashra,
    I first of all want to say thank you for the wonderful work you are doing here and for this blog.
    Am from Ghana and my girlfriend is a german.We have been in a relationship for 2 yrs now and we want to get married february 2017 in Ghana where I live. How long after the marriage can i wait before I apply for a visa to Holland to meet with my german girlfriend (because she will go back to germany immediately after the marriage ) for our honeymoon.And can we move from Holland after our honeymoon to germany and live together there. Also is our marriage certificate, which will be registered here in ghana under the civil law be recognised (or do i need an apostille stamp ) when i want to apply for a visa to Holland for the honeymoon? Thank and hope from you ASAP.

    can you please email me your contact?

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Mathias

      You should ask the Dutch consulate in Ghana about the apostille, etc. If you want to move to Germany, you would need to ask the German consulate about that. The honeymoon part falls under EU free movement as explained in the above article but your move to Germany might not.

  • mathias Says

    Hello Ashra,

    Thank you very much :)

  • Charles Edward Says

    Nice post thanks for the sharing with us

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