Prior cohabitation and evidence of a genuine relationship

Although prior cohabitation is not a requirement for entry clearance as a spouse/civil partner, a fiancé(e)/proposed civil partner, or leave to remain as a spouse/civil partner, it is very important to provide evidence that the relationship is genuine and subsisting and intended to be permanent. Evidence of prior cohabitation is always helpful in an application, even if not mandatory.

For an unmarried partners application, or an application for a EEA family permit based on a ‘durable relationship’, providing the evidence that you have been living together ‘in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership‘ for at least 2 years is crucial.

Your evidence dossier should include such things as:

A covering letter from each of you

detailing most, but not necessarily all of the following:

  • How and when you met.
  • How and why the relationship developed.
  • If you’ve spent time apart – why, and how you felt during this time.
  • Your shared social activities and hobbies.
  • Milestones in your relationship such as moving in together or going on holidays.
  • What makes your relationship special for you.
  • What makes your partner special for you.
  • Future plans you may have.

Supporting letters from friends and family

saying in their own words:

  • How long they have known you both.
  • How long they have known of the relationship.
  • Reasons why they believe the relationship is genuine and committed.
  • That they have experienced you as a couple in social situations.
  • How they think you would feel if you were forced to be apart.
  • Whether or not they are married or in a civil partnership and whether they consider your relationship to be ‘akin to marriage/CP’.

[Please note, that these days such letters, apart maybe from those written by people in official positions, are considered as “soft”, rather than “hard” evidence in partnership applications – i.e. not very useful unless the application is otherwise very short of evidence. They could, however still be useful to help prove that you are more than just housemates.]

Evidence of Cohabitation (note opening heading )

  • Joint leases or a letter from your landlord/lady stating that you live at the same address.
  • Joint Utilities Bills. Individual utility bills.
  • Letters addressed to you both at the same address.
  • ‘Official’ documents such as drivers licenses which are addressed individually but show the same address. ‘Official’ correspondence and records (e.g. doctors).
  • Unmarried partners must produce as much evidence of cohabitation as they can. They should use any document which shows their name(s), their address and the date.

Finances and accommodation

The current financial requirements are strict and themselves provide strong evidence of your ability to support yourselves. Please refer to the detail on the financial requirements in the main partnership immigration page.

Accommodation must be “adequate”. A couple must own or occupy their accommodation exclusively, and must not be in contravention of overcrowding or public health regulations, for it be considered adequate.

The rules are less prescriptive as to evidence of accommodation but we suggest you supply the following documents (as appropriate):

  1. Land Registry entry or mortgage statement.
  2. Rental contract.
  3. Letter from owner/landlord.
  4. Recent utility bills.

Details of joint commitments

Bank accounts, lease agreements, life insurance etc.

Other evidence

  • Passport stamps and/or tickets to show visits to your partners country and/or travel together.
  • Evidence of contact while apart e.g. telephone bills and a sensible selection of emails/WhatsApp and Skype records for any periods when you were separated.
  • Photographs of you together clearly dated, captioned and accompanied with an explanation.
  • Evidence of joint membership of organisations or groups.