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Unmarried couple : what are the expatriation rules?

The status of couples differs from one country to another, i.e. some countries do not recognize the status of cohabitation or the civil solidarity pact (PACS). For expatriates, this is a point to be checked concerning visa applications and in some cases, it will be necessary to get married. This is not necessarily very romantic and above all it can have a significant financial or patrimonial impact.

We have compiled a list of what is required in the main countries of expatriation. You will discover that in some countries marriage is an obligation, while in others a simple certificate of cohabitation will do.

Cohabitation exists in Switzerland. It must be officially registered with the local administration in order to have a legal value. However, it does not allow you to obtain a residence permit.

United Kingdom:
To be able to live in the United Kingdom, you will have to opt for the fiancé visa and therefore get married in the United Kingdom. Then, apply for a spouse's visa during the 6 months given. The spouse visa is issued for a period of 2.5 years. You will have to renew this visa when it expires in the UK.

In the case of a couple wishing to expatriate, only spouses married to the person receiving the work visa can receive a visa and follow them. This also includes same-sex couples (again, provided they are married).

On the other hand, couples in a PACS or common-law relationship will not be able to enter together under the same visa. If the partner in a civil union or cohabitation also wants to go to the USA, he or she will also have to find an employer and get a sponsored visa.

Non-Schengen EU:
You must be able to prove that you are living together or that you are in a long-term relationship. However, most countries have not yet defined precisely how to prove a relationship or a lasting cohabitation.

Cohabitation agreement: If you live in a country where you cannot marry or enter into a registered partnership, or if you do not wish to marry or register, you can draw up a cohabitation agreement with your partner and lay down the practical and legal aspects of your cohabitation.
However, in practice, it can be difficult to enforce your rights even with a cohabitation contract. In the event of property disputes, the applicable law is generally that of the country in which the dispute arises.

If you are an unmarried couple and therefore "de facto spouses", you must fill out the "Official Declaration of De Facto Union (IMM 5409)" form before a notary (in France or in Canada). This declaration must be accompanied by one or more proofs of your life together for at least 12 months. Although the PACS is not recognized, it can serve as additional proof if the de facto spouses have at least one year of common life together.

The PACS cannot be used to obtain a residence visa, in fact, in order for you to apply for temporary residence you would have to be legally married to the person who has the residence visa or Mexican nationality.

In a Muslim country like Morocco, even though it is very tolerant, the relationship between men and women is governed by the personal status code, which implements religious legislation (sharia).
From the moment you are in a relationship with a Moroccan citizen, the law that prohibits cohabitation outside of marriage applies. This means that you will not be able to obtain a residence permit on the basis of this cohabitation.

In Germany, the PACS can only be recognized for same-sex couples. The registration in a German register is only declaratory. If you wish to apply for a visa to stay in Germany you must apply for a visa for family unification and provide legal proof of your marriage.

As with most countries, you must be legally married to apply for a residence visa as cohabitation is not recognized.

Special statuses such as civil union or cohabitation are not recognized in the United Arab Emirates, only marriage counts. Dubai is a Muslim country applying Islamic law (sharia). Officially people residing together, including expatriates or people on temporary visas such as the recently created telework visa, must be legally married.

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