Married couples enjoy different rights in the EU than the people in civil unions, registered partnerships or "de facto unions". The various legislations apply to the same-sex couples as well, depending on their legal situation.
What is a civil union or registered partnership?
In the EU Member States, same-sex couples can register their partnership without getting married; it is called registered partnership or civil union. (Don't forget that gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people may marry in more than half of the EU nations.) To reach this status, the couples must register their relationship with the relevant public authority.
The differences between the EU Member States are significant and include:
Is it allowed in a country to enter into a civil union?
What kind of civil union is allowed?
Does the specific country recognise a civil union registered abroad?
You can check all European laws for couples here in the EU Member States!
There are some countries, where registered civil unions enjoy the same rights as marriages. Generally, all states, where same-sex marriage is allowed, they recognise civil unions from other countries. However, there are some Member States (mainly form the more conservative Eastern part of the EU), where registered partnerships are not allowed. These are the following nations:
How to move abroad with your partner?
In those EU nations, where civil unions and registered partnerships are recognised or even comparable to marriage, these jurisdictions provide you with the same rights for migration purposes. It means that your registered partner will be entitled to move and settle with you in the new country.
However, if you want to move in a country with your registered partner, where civil unions and registered partnerships are not allowed, then your legal situation will be considered as a "duly attested long-term relationship. And your new host country must help the entry of your partner and the process to obtain the residence permit.
Migration of unmarried couples in the European Union
If a couple lives together "in a stable and continuous way", they will gain some EU-wide rights, even without living in a registered partnership or civil union.
The EU Member States must facilitate the entry and the migration of "de facto partners", whether the partner is a European citizen or not! Of course, the couples must prove that they live together in a long-term relationship. It is important to know that some European countries did not define in their laws, how can same-sex couples prove that they live in cohabitation or long-term relationship.
In those EU countries, where the authorities recognise these "de facto unions", both members of the couple will have obligations and rights concerning inheritance, maintenance payments following separation and even property. These rights, naturally apply to same-sex couples as well because not all EU Member States let LGBT people marry or officially register their relationship.
To facilitate the immigration process for same-sex couples, it is always an excellent solution to sign a cohabitation contract. It is a common practice in those countries, where marriage or civil union is not allowed for gay migrants. But this does not mean that these couples can effectively enforce their rights in those countries, which are not legally tolerant to the LGBT community.
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