Registration and recognition of partnerships formed overseas

Overseas relationships

Some same-sex couples may already have formed a civil union, registered partnership, domestic partnership or a same-sex marriage abroad. Couples in these kinds of relationships can automatically be recognised in the UK as civil partners and will not need to register in the UK as well, as long as certain conditions are met. Relationships listed in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 are recognised as long as they meet certain conditions. Relationships that are not listed in the Act are recognised if they meet certain conditions and extra general conditions.

Relationships listed in the Civil Partnership Act 2004

Country or territory

Relationship

Andora unio estable de parella (stable union of pairs)
Australia: Tasmania significant relationship
Belgium the relationship referred to as cohabitation légale, wettlijke samenwoning or gesetzilches zusammenwohnen (statutory cohabitation)
Belgium marriage
Canada marriage
Canada: Nova Scotia domestic partnership
Canada: Quebec the relationship referred to as union civile or as civil union
Denmark registreret partnerskab (registered partnership)
Finland the relationship referred to as rekisteröity parisuhde or as registrerad partnerskap (registered partnership)
France pacte civil de solidarité (civil solidarity pact)
Germany Lebenspartnerschaft (life partnership)
Iceland staðfesta samvist (confirmed cohabitation)
Luxembourg partenariat enregistré, eingetragene partnerschaft (registered partnership)
Netherlands geregistreerd partnerschap (registered partnership)
Netherlands marriage
New Zealand civil union
Norway registrert partnerskap (registered partnership)
Sweden registrerat partnerskap (registered partnership)
United States of America: California domestic partnership
United States of America: Connecticut civil union
United States of America: Maine domestic partnership
United States of America: Massachusetts marriage
United States of America: New Jersey domestic partnership
United States of America: Vermont civil union

Conditions that all overseas relationships have to meet

To be recognised as a civil partnership in the UK, an overseas relationship must be registered with a registration authority in a country or territory outside the UK by a couple who are of the same sex at the time they register. They must also not already be civil partners or married, and they must have the capacity to enter into the relationship. They must meet all the necessary legal requirements of the country or territory to ensure the relationship is valid.

The rule that the couple must be of the same sex when they register could cause problems if one of the couple has acquired a different gender, because they may not be legally recognised as a same-sex couple. However, if the person who has acquired a different gender applies for a full gender recognition certificate in the UK, s/he will be treated as having her/his acquired gender.

A person living in England or Wales registers an overseas relationship

Where one of the couple was living in England or Wales when the overseas relationship was registered, the relationship will not be treated as a civil partnership if:-

Extra general conditions that some overseas relationships have to meet

If an overseas relationship is not listed in the Civil Partnership Act 2004, it must meet extra conditions in addition to the conditions that all overseas relationships have to meet. The extra conditions are that, under the law of the country or territory where the couple registered their overseas relationship:-