Immigration regulations recognize the significance of the relationship between partners in a common-law marriage on an equal footing with the relationship between legal spouses.
What is the relationship between common-law partners?
In light of the immigration rules and the European Union regulations, the term “common-law partner relationship” is interpreted as follows:
“Two persons who have lived together in a relationship similar to marriage for at least two years may be considered common-law partners.”
This definition does not include casual dating or any short-term relationship in which neither party has any long-term intention of living together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil union. The phrase “marriage-like” means a relationship similar in nature to a marriage or civil union, which includes relationships outside of marriage and relationships between persons of the same sex.
The rules that apply to common-law and same-sex partners aim to allow them to continue their existing relationship. These rules do not open the door to couples who have just started living together, but they do allow those couples who have been living together for a long time to enter or remain in the UK on that basis.