My girlfriend and I want to move to Spain. We both reside in the UK, however:

  • I have dual nationality (UK & Bulgaria)
  • She is a UK national only
  • We are not in a "formal" relationship (i.e: we're not married or in a civil partnership)

For me, the situation is easy: I can enter Spain with my Bulgarian ID card / passport and I automatically have the right to work there (though I do need to register with authorities for a "permit" of sorts).

Is a civil partnership (created in the UK) enough for my partner to be able to join me?

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Is a civil partnership (created in the UK) enough for my partner to be able to join me?

Yes. From the Spanish government's page Registering non-EU family members:

the family member must submit in person the original and a copy of each of the following documents:

  • A full, valid passport or identity document. If it has expired, a copy of the expired document and of the renewal application.
  • Documentary evidence of the family relationship with the EU citizen.
  • In the case of an unregistered partner, documentary evidence that he/she is a stable partner and in a long-term relationship with the EU citizen, along with proof of the period of conjugal cohabitation or, where appropriate, the birth certificate(s) of the child(ren) they have had together.
  • In the case of a child of an EU citizen, or the child of his/her spouse or registered partner, who is over 21, documentary evidence of the child’s status as a dependent family member.
  • In the case of a minor child who is not residing in Spain, documentary evidence of his/her status as a family member who is dependent on the EU citizen.
  • In the case of a relative in the ascending line, documentary evidence of his/her status as a dependent family member.
  • DNI (national identity card) of the Spanish citizen or registration certificate of the EU citizen who the family member is accompanying or joining.
  • In the case of other family members, referred to in Article 2a(1)(a) of Royal Decree 240/2007, documentary evidence of the degree of family relationship and, where appropriate, the existence of serious health or incapacity grounds, or of cohabitation.
  • Three photographs.
  • Payment of a fee in the legally established amount.

So you see that Spain even recognizes "durable" long-term partnerships that have not been formalized. (Such partnerships are given a somewhat different status in the EU directive, and with some countries it it not obvious whether they recognize such relationships nor how to go about pursuing an application on that basis.)

An application as an unregistered partner is somewhat less certain to be successful because there is a burden on the applicants to prove the nature of the relationship, and because unregistered partners have a somewhat different standing under the provisions of the directive. For a registered partner or spouse, the documentary evidence of the marriage or partnership is normally sufficient unless the authorities find reason to suspect a "marriage of convenience" or other fraud.

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