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I am a non-EU citizen, from Serbia, but I have been in a long distance relationship with a Dutch man for 5 years. We have been visiting each other every other month and waiting for both to finish studying so that we can finally move in together. He wants to do a PhD study in Sweden. Would I be allowed to join him there? Registering our partnership is an option, but would that be enough?

I know that he would need to prove that he can sponsor me until I find a job, and that is not an issue. We are more concerned about whether Sweden would recognize our relationship as a family tie valuable for migration.

Any advice is very welcome, thank you!

  • @ExPatriot that's not entirely true. At article 3(2)(b), the directive extends its scope to "the partner with whom the Union citizen has a durable relationship, duly attested." – phoog May 4 at 0:03
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Would I be allowed to join him there?

Maybe. At article 3(2)(b), the directive includes among its beneficiaries "the partner with whom the Union citizen has a durable relationship, duly attested." The interpretation and application of this provision are left to each country, however, and I don't know what criteria Sweden applies to the recognition of such partners.

Registering our partnership is an option, but would that be enough?

Yes, if Sweden recognizes such partnerships as equivalent to marriage (which it seems to). If you do that, you will instead fall under Article 2(2)(b):

the partner with whom the Union citizen has contracted a registered partnership, on the basis of the legislation of a Member State, if the legislation of the host Member State treats registered partnerships as equivalent to marriage and in accordance with the conditions laid down in the relevant legislation of the host Member State;

You also write

I know that he would need to prove that he can sponsor me until I find a job, and that is not an issue.

You are wrong about that. If you fall under the directive, there are no financial requirements. The only requirement is that the principal be in one of the categories outlined in Article 7. Sweden is not very forthcoming about this in its website, but the application form (pdf) does reflect this.

We are more concerned about whether Sweden would recognize our relationship as a family tie valuable for migration.

Sweden seems to interpret "durable relationship" as implying cohabitation, which does not look good for you.

Also see the EU's page on unmarried couples, which notes that

If you move with your de facto partner to another EU country, that country must facilitate their entry and residence there - whether your partner is an EU national or not.

You must be able to prove you live together or that you are in a long-term relationship. However, most EU countries have not defined exactly how you can prove a long-term relationship or cohabitation.

  • Thank you @phoog and ExPatriot for your answers! – lady_lj May 5 at 13:55
  • I did a bit of a further research on the swedish law and it seems that they do not recognize opposite sex registered partnerships. We were also not cohabiting partners so that leaves us with marriage. While we don't entirely close that option, we decided to first try to move in together in Holland (condition being that my boyfriend is admitted as a PhD student) as the Dutch law is more flexible. We are very serious about our relationship, but we would like to live together for some time before we make the legal change and become married – lady_lj May 5 at 13:55
  • If anyone has any additional info, please comment, I highly appreciate it :) – lady_lj May 5 at 13:55
  • @lady_lj if Sweden does not allow opposite-sex couples to enter into registered partnerships in Sweden, they might still recognize opposite-sex registered partnerships concluded in other jurisdictions. Are you sure that they don't recognize such partnerships at all? It will probably be considerably more difficult for you to move to Holland since you will probably have to qualify under Dutch national law rather than the EU free-movement directive. Those requirements are much more burdensome. – phoog May 5 at 21:04
  • From what I understood Sweden does not recognize such partnerships, they only recognize registered partnerships for homosexual couples. But I will be reading more into it. There is way too much different info on the web and I don't know what to believe. At one point we will have to get a lawyer. But what makes you think that it would be more difficult in Holland? I know I would need to be examed for language skills and society knowledge. But that's not a problem. Also, my boyfriend needs to have a sufficient income, which is fine. Is there some other difficulty that I'm missing? – lady_lj May 6 at 12:38

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