Europe - residency requirements
Residence permit can be obtained for a registered partner (in line with
Danish Law) or cohabiting companion. Usually such permits should be applied
for in the country of origin or the country of domicile, but if the partner
is legally in Denmark in another category, then it is possible in principle
to apply from within the country. Various conditions apply:
- Both partners must be over 24 yrs of age.
- Must have a greater attachment to Denmark than any other country (this
includes proficiency in Danish, location of other family members, how
long the sponsor already resident etc.)
- Must have accommodation available.
- Sponsor must be either a citizen of Denmark, Sweden, Finland or Iceland
or have had a permanent residence permit in Denmark for at least 3
- Sponsor must provide evidence of the ability to support the partner
without recourse to public funds and must provide an economic guarantee
of Dkr 50,000.
- Sponsor must not have received public financial assistance for at least
a year prior to the application.
- Cohabiting companions who are not legally registered must prove
cohabitation of at least 1˝
- 2 years.
If you are cohabiting or intend to cohabit with a partner who is
already resident in Sweden, you can apply for a Residence Permit by
reason of family ties (anknytning) at the Swedish Embassy in your
country of origin or country of domicile.
Residence Permits are normally granted for one year at a time for a
period of two years. When you have lived together in Sweden for two years
and the Migration Board decides that your relationship is still a serious
one, you can be granted a permanent Residence Permit (PUT).
If you have lived together for a longer period of time (at least 2 years)
prior to the move to Sweden, you may be granted a permanent Residence Permit
On 10th March 2003, the Swedish Government announced that it wants its
Embassies around the world to officiate at same sex unions, if the country
concerned allows such unions.
If you have what is defined as a 'serious and permanent relationship'
with a partner who has his or her 'domicile' and 'habitual residence' in
the Netherlands, you can apply for a Provisional Residence Permit (MVV)
as the first step to applying for a full Residence Permit. You can apply
for the MVV in your country of origin or the sponsor can apply on your
behalf to the regional Aliens Police. Usually Residence Permit will be
given for 1 year and can be renewed twice.
- Intend to live together in a joint household in the Nederlands.
- Both be at least 18.
- Both be unmarried.
- must be in long term employment.
- must have a minimum net income at least at the family level set by the National Assistance Act.
As to foreigners marrying in the Netherlands - each couple that wants to
marry in the Netherlands should have at least ONE partner who is a Dutch
citizen or has his or her 'domicile' and 'habitual residence' in the
Netherlands. In Dutch immigration law the position of married, registered
and unmarried cohabiting couples is almost identical. Therefore it will
normally not be necessary to marry, or to register a partnership, in order
to obtain a residence permit for one of the partners.
IND Residence Wizard
Website of Kees Waaldijk - Research Fellow at Leiden University
specialising in sexual orientation law, including immigration
Partners of individuals who have the right to reside in Belgium for
more than three months (includes Belgian and EU nationals and all other
persons authorized to remain in Belgium for longer than three months)
can apply for a residence permit (Type D visa) on the basis of their
Both partners must be at least eighteen years old, and the relationship
must be of a permanent nature. Partners must share a joint household, have
lasting means of support and a contract under which the sponsoring partner
assumes financial responsibility to support the other partner.
Although Belgium has recently (Jan 03) recognised same-sex marriage which
is allegedly open to non-Belgian citizens, the residency requirements above
still apply. For those intending to marry their same sex partner residing
legally in Belgium, a Type C visa (visa "with a view to marriage") can be
applied for in the Belgian diplomatic post in the country of domicile.
Addendum: Belgians in same-sex relationships can only marry other
Belgians, or a partner who is a citizen of a country which also permits
same-sex marriage. That only includes the Netherlands, as of mid-2004.
A foreign-national partner in a "civil solidarity pact" (PACS) can
obtain a permit to live in France ("permit de
sejour") if their partner is a French*
citizen, subject to a 1 year waiting period. It is subject to annual
renewal through the local Mayor's office and permanent residence (a
permit) is possible after 5 years.
The Minister of the Interior has stated that a PACS has to be at least 3
years old to be considered a defining factor for a permanent residency
application. A PACS of less than 3 years can still be a contributing factor
to whatever degree the individual area decides, but such decision will be
affected by the recommendation (or otherwise) of your local mayor and an
often variable interpretation of the rules by regional (departmental)
immigration officials. It is only when the regional immigration office has
decided that all the criteria have been met, that applications are sent to
the Ministry for decision. This process can easily take 18 months.
If you are registered as a couple or married under the laws of another EU
country, it seems this can be helpful to obtain a family entry visa to
France, but not a family permit. The permit will depend on the existence of
a PACS and it is currently unclear if you can have a PACS without first
dissolving your existing registration or marriage (which might well be
giving you more legal rights in the other country).
*In principle, as long as one of the couple in a PACS has the right to a
5 or 10 year “permit de sejour”, or has permanent residence in France, the
legal position for nationals of other countries is the same as for French
citizens. In reality it is more complex as more government departments are
Thanks to our correspondent in France for
this update on 20-11-2003
The introduction of "Registered Life
Partnerships" has given the opportunity for Resident status to the
foreign partners of binational couples.
Foreign partners staying legally in
Germany, even non-visa nationals staying as visitors for more than 3 months
can, in principle, change status to resident from within Germany. Otherwise
it is possible for the foreign partner (visa or non-visa national) to apply
for a "long stay visa" at the German Embassy in their country of residence
or domicile with the intention of registering their partnership after
arrival in Germany.
If the sponsor is a German citizen or
has an unlimited right to reside in Germany, their partner has a legal right
to a residence permit. If the sponsor is a citizen of another EU country,
living and working in Germany with an "EU Residence permit" (Aufenthalts-erlaubnis-EU/5
years duration), the granting of a residence permit to the partner is
discretionary. In the case of registered partners, however, it is now usual
for the rules to be interpreted as if the couple were married, so that
residency is likely to be granted.
The sponsoring partner has to prove
that he or she can pay for the livelihood of both partners. Non German
sponsors cannot be in receipt of social help.
[Important: Please note that since the federal law allowing same-sex
couples to register is expected to come into force in mid-2005 after the
upcoming referendum, the following may not be valid thereafter anymore.
The registration law will give couples most of the rights married
couples enjoy, including the right to permanent residence for foreign
Under Swiss law, the foreign partner of a Swiss citizen or a foreign
national who has a right to permanent residence in Switzerland (C class
permit holders and all EU nationals gainfully employed or retired in
Switzerland) has the right to live with his partner and also work in
Switzerland provided that:
- There is evidence of a stable and committed relationship of at least
- The nature of the relationship is confirmed by other criteria, such
- Registration as domestic partners in Switzerland (possible in
Geneva, Neuchâtel, and Zurich only) or legal recognition under foreign
law such as registration etc.
- Foreign partners’ willingness and ability of integration in
- Recognition of the relationship by family members, friends or
- Refusing the foreign partner a residence permit would
lead to de facto separation of the couple.
- The couple has sufficient means to live together in Switzerland without
recourse to public funds.
- Both partners are cohabiting in Switzerland if already in Switzerland, or
else plan to do so.
- The foreign partner has no criminal record and poses no security threat
In Zurich only there is an established practice of allowing Swiss citizens
or foreign nationals who have a right to permanent residence to bring their
foreign partners into the country regardless of the relationships’ duration,
by first applying for a short term permit in order to register as a couple
under local law. Local and federal government will subsequently waive the
one year condition, provided the other conditions are met.
Foreign partners receive B class residents’ permits and are therefore exempt
from all labour market restrictions applying to foreign nationals. There is
a legal right to renewal provided the relationship still exists, and it is
converted into a C class permanent residents’ permit after ten years.
Processing time from applying until permit issue is two to three months in
Please note that there is very little information available in English. Even
many Swiss LGBT organisations are not familiar with the current legal
situation as gay/lesbian immigration isn’t such a big issue in Switzerland,
given the small number of cases. LGBT organisations in Geneva and Zurich,
though, are able provide knowledgeable legal advice on immigration matters.
See: www.360.ch (LGBT organisation in
Geneva, French language only)
Thanks to our correspondent in Switzerland
for this update in October 2004
On 1st. October 2004, the Spanish government approved a draft law to legalise same-sex marriage.
This officially passed into law on July 2nd., 2005 and gives the same rights
as opposite-sex couples in the areas of inheritance, pensions, adoption
(Spanish children only) and immigration.
Uncertainties have since arisen about whether a marriage license can
be issued where one of a couple is a citizen of a country that does not
itself permit same sex marriage. In late July 2005, however, an official
ruling was published to allow this. In July and August 2005, two
separate judges refused marriage licenses to same-sex couples and
mounted constitutional challenges against the law.
It is not certain whether non-resident foreigners can
visit Spain to marry. At present, the only country with same-sex
marriage known to permit this is Canada; Belgium and the Netherlands
will only marry their own residents or citizens.
Wikipedia August 2005
Has a similar arrangement to the PaCS in France. Same sex couples who
have lived together for 2 years have the same legal rights as married