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I'm thinking of applying for family permit in UK in order to visit my girlfriend, she is studying there as an EU national. I have a permanent residence card of union citizen. Thing is we are not married or in a civil partnership, but I saw an option to enter as unmarried partner. We have been together for almost 2 years. What proof can I provide in order to enter as an unmarried partner of EU national? Are there any chances I will get accepted or they see these unmarried couple as fraud? Should I continue with my tourist visa application instead?

closed as unclear what you're asking by mts, Mark Mayo Nov 3 '16 at 8:35

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    What's this "permament residence card of union citizen" you mention? What's your citizenship? Where do you reside? Under which status? – Relaxed Sep 27 '16 at 9:24
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    Regarding unmarried couples, usually it means more than two years (although technically there is no strict threshold, the standard to meet is that the relationship should be "durable"), living under the same roof, with joint finances, etc. and strong evidence to back all that up. Even before getting to how you would document it, dating for "almost" two years is probably not enough. – Relaxed Sep 27 '16 at 9:27
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    Paradoxically, the fact that you only want to visit might even play against you. If you apply for a standard visitor visa, there is a concern that you might be tempted to change your mind and stay anyway (because you have a relationship with a resident). If you apply for an EEA family permit, the fact that you don't intend to live together in the near future suggests your relationship is not a "durable relationship" as far as the law is concerned. – Relaxed Sep 27 '16 at 9:34
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    He's Russian, long-term resident in Greece, based on his earlier questions. – mkennedy Sep 27 '16 at 13:40
  • For how long do you wish to visit? Depending on that your question might be more on-topic on Expats SE than here. – mts Oct 7 '16 at 17:04
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You are a Russian national living in Greece and have a girlfriend studying in the UK. She is an EEA national and you want to benefit from that by using a family permit to maintain your relationship. The issue is that you and she are not married. I assume that all previous relationships with other people have permanently broken down or otherwise dissolved.

Accordingly you need to establish that the relationship is a "durable" one. The definition of 'durable' is defined by the member states and the UK's policy on 'durable relationships' is not perfectly aligned with the rest of the EEA (or the Directive for that matter).

The controlling technical references are Council Directive 2004/38/EC and Regulation 8 of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 (the ‘2006 Regulations’) as amended by various court decisions.

What proof can I provide in order to enter as an unmarried partner of EU national?

For the unmarried partner route, they will be looking for a minimum of two years ongoing cohabitation. Evidence would take the form of bank statements, lease/tenancy agreements, and other documentation that committed unmarried partners would have. Evidence of holidays together, for example, is helpful but more is needed.

I have also used utility bills where the consumption indicates multiple occupants to help "fill out" the evidence requirements. Parking tickets, credit card statements, photographs depicting locale and season, and many other things can be used for evidence.

Are there any chances I will get accepted or they see these unmarried couple as fraud?

Based on what you wrote, you are not in cohabitation because your gf is living in the UK and you are living in Greece; and the relationship is less than two years old. Both of these are absolute show-stoppers.

While I predict a refusal, I do not think they will conclude fraud. Fraud is defined by marriages of convenience and similar types of abuse. The refusal would be largely mechanical and simply say you do not qualify.

Also, if they notice that your intention is to visit the UK but not take up permanent residence, they are entitled to refuse (according to their policy). This is a soft requirement and one of the very few situations where I think it's OK to fudge.

Should I continue with my tourist visa application instead?

It's a matter of opinion how to best maintain your relationship. If it's to be done in the UK, then yes, you would apply for a Standard Visitor Visa and your premise would be to maintain relationships. Giving a different premise would make them wonder about the motivation behind your application.

The rules for the Standard Visitor Visa are laid out in Appendix V.


For further research on the EEA route, you can examine the European Casework Instructions. This is what the person assessing your application will refer to (and also what has informed my answer here). As mentioned, the instructions do not align perfectly with the Directive.


Update 3 Nov 2016

Parliament enacted new EEA rules this morning and they will commence on 26 November 2016. Nothing has changed with respect to 'durable partners' except the language defining 'partnership of convenience' has become more rigorous. But the commencement of these rules may trigger updates to the policy document, so this answer should be considered valid only up to about March 2017.

The instrument itself is at The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016

  • "If they notice that your intention is to visit the UK but not take up permanent residence, they are entitled to refuse (according to their policy)": My mother in law used an EEA family permit for a temporary visit just over a year and a half ago. Are you certain that this policy is still in force? – phoog Nov 3 '16 at 13:42
  • @phoog yes, "The parties intend to live together permanently." ECI – Gayot Fow Nov 3 '16 at 16:14
  • my mother in law lives in Sarajevo and my wife and I live in New York. Nobody questioned this. Where does your quote come from? I could not find it. – phoog Nov 3 '16 at 16:20
  • @phoog would you please confirm that your MIL qualified as a durable partner? – Gayot Fow Nov 3 '16 at 16:50
  • She qualified as a dependent parent. – phoog Nov 3 '16 at 17:08

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