Russian wife need visa to visit?

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bcmaughan
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Russian wife need visa to visit?

Postby bcmaughan » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:53 pm

I have a property in Bulgaria and will be going to visit this year with my Russian wife who currently lives with me in UK on 2 year spouse visa. On the Bulgarian Embassy website I have found this information:

"Family members of EU citizen, who do not have the nationality of the EU Member State, are entitled to the same rights as the EU citizens, for their travel to Bulgaria. This only applies to those having residence in an EU country and travelling together, or going to Bulgaria to join their family member (s) who is (are) already in the country. While travelling alone such family members have the right to enter, but require a visa to be issued by the respective Bulgarian Embassy abroad. The visa is issued free of charge on the presentation of a valid passport, application and proof of family ties (Marriage Certificate or Birth Certificate, legalized and translated into the official language of an EU member country). Family members, travelling together with the EU citizen does not require a visa, but should be in a position to present on request at the border a Marriage Certificate or Birth Certificate, legalized and translated into the official language of an EU member country.!

I emailed the Bulgarian Embassy to ask about this and they said that my wife would require a visa but could get it free of charge. The last sentence quoted in paragraph above would seem to contradict this advice from them and does not make clear that she must have the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) visa for UK in order to be able to travel visafree with me to Bulgaria (which is what they have advised me). Anyone help to clear up these muddy waters for me please and I would be very grateful!

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Postby spantrout » Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:04 pm

I think she'll need a visa. There is a BG guy (the cousin of my G/F's boss) has a house in the same village as us who is married to a Russian (they both live in Russia), to the best of my knowledge she required a visa for entry, he did not due to dual passports/nationality. The reason I came by this info was that she was delayed in Russia whilst sorting out her visa.


I may be wrong.

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Postby leedarkwood » Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:17 pm

Try sending a pm to Moscow_Wolf he is the forum's expert on this one.

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Postby bcmaughan » Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:25 pm

Ta for quick replies guys. Have jsut sent Pm to Moscow Wolf and will be itnerested to see what he has to say on it. Anyone else know the facts of this case please?

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Postby truckyboy » Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:35 pm

Bulgarian embassy staff are normally very thorough, so if they have advised that your wife should carry a ILR in her passport, and she doesnt have one, then a few phone calls may be in order. The way i see it is so long as you carry your marriage certificate with you, she can enter BG as well, but my advice would be to Visiit the BG embassy in London,( A.M.) preferably..or to seek advice on the website of the consular pages of either the BG or GB immigration regulations.
I would have thought that she being Russian, she could obtain a visa without all the fuss, in her own right. My wife has russian friends who live opposite us here in london, and her relatives manage every year to come to bulgaria without any fuss, ( this friend also has an appartment in the same block as us )
Good luck anyway, and let us know how you get along.

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Postby MarkMc » Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:59 pm

According to the Bulagrian embassy website in London, you can travel together without a visa to Bulgaria. It says 'Family members, travelling together with the EU citizen does not require a visa, but should be in a position to present on request at the border a Marriage Certificate or Birth Certificate, legalized and translated into the official language of an EU member country'
I am married to a Ukrainian and have used this rule to travel to Italy (mentioned on another post) and as it specifically says this on their website, i'd say youll be ok but bring a printout of their website info to be sure.
link here : http://www.bulgarianembassy-london.org/ ... Itemid=158


If her UK visa says 'family member of an EU citizen' its even better as you can then use it in Schengen. See individual countries embassy websites for this info.

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Postby bcmaughan » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:01 pm

Thanks MarkMC. Yes that is my point in that it seems quite clear from the info on their website that my wife is eligible to travel with me without a visa. However, this is NOT what the Bulgarian Embassy in London are advising and they say she needs visa for Bulgaria if she does not have ILR visa in UK (she only has the 2 year spouse visa at present). It is all such a monumental pain in the **** as I live about 4 hours from London and have a small baby. This means that all 3 of us have to waste a day going to London to apply for Bulgarian visa and another day to pick up her passport as it seems that they do not send them back home. All just sooo archaic and painful isn't it?!!

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Postby Moscow_Wolf » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:06 pm

MarkMc wrote:If her UK visa says 'family member of an EU citizen' its even better as you can then use it in Schengen. See individual countries embassy websites for this info.


I don't think that we need to CONFUSE the issue by bringing SCHENGEN into this debate as neither the UK or Bulgaria are a signature party to this agreement.

However, everything else is spot on. The question remains, does the NON EU Citizen Spouse of an EU RESIDENT Citizen need a visa to VISIT Bulgaria or not!

In my opinion, NO, she does not especially if you are travelling together and can satisfy the Border/Immigration authorities that you are Married and domiciled in another EU country.

What I cannot find out from the UK Border Agency is, what if any limitations does a SPOUSE VISA lasting for TWO years actually have. In my humble opinion, if it allows a NON EU Citizen to reside in the UK as a Family Member of an EU Citizen THEN, it is sufficient to meet all of the criteria as set out in EU Regulations.

As you will read in my previous posts in this sub forum EMBASSIES (especially Bulgarian ones) are NOT always right in their interpretation of EU Directives and Regulations and is why I had to take them to task via SOLVIT to prove them wrong.

As suggested in my PM to the OP, find and download the Pdf documents pertaining to EU Citizens married to NON EU Citizens and THEIR Rights. These are the documents downloadable in all EU Languages that helped me win my case against the Bulgarian Embassy in Moscow.

It is a pain in the backside, but persevere and you will win if you know your rights and can quote them.

Good luck.

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Postby MarkMc » Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:26 pm

Not trying to confuse the issue, I also went to Cyprus last month which is also not part of schengen with my Ukrainian wife, departing from Romania and we were fine without getting the visa in advance. It's an EU law.
As Moscow wolf said, its your right to travel with your wife under directive 2004/38/EC and if you bring your marriage certificate along with you, they cant turn you away at the border without giving you in writing why you are a danger to the country. Bring a copy of the directive just to be sure.
The biggest problem in my experience and from reading various stories on the net is if the airline who do a visa check refuse to let you board the plane. I'm talking from experience as I travel alot with my non EU wife and dont have time to travel from Varna to Sofia twice (drop off and pick up) everytime we want to leave the country.

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Postby bcmaughan » Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:44 pm

Yes many thanks for informative reply Moscow Wolf. That is the nub of the issue - i.e what are the limitations of the 2 years spouse visa regarding visiting other EU countries. I guess i could direct this question to UKBA?

Well I'm not sure about Ukrainians visiting Cyprus requiring visas but I'm pretty sure that Russians do not need visas anyway regardless whether they are married or not to an EU citizen. Sounds like you are braver than me in taking on EU bureacracy by simply chancing it with officious border guards and airlines! Not sure I want to find us refused entry to BG once we get to Sofia!


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