The BelongsTo relationship creates a one-to-one relationship between two models. It is always the inverse of HasOne or HasMany.

If the foreign key exists on the parent model, then it will always belong to a related model. For example: The userId exists on the Profile model, so it will have a belongs to relationship with the User model.

Relationship models

Continuing with the profile and the user example. Following is the Profile model with belongsTo relationship.

import { column, BaseModel, belongsTo, BelongsTo } from '@ioc:Adonis/Lucid/Orm'
import User from 'App/Models/User'

export default class Profile extends BaseModel {
  // Foreign key
  public userId: number

  @belongsTo(() => User)  public user: BelongsTo<typeof User>}

The User model just needs the local key (primary key in most cases).

import { column, BaseModel } from '@ioc:Adonis/Lucid/Orm'

export default class User extends BaseModel {
  @column({ isPrimary: true })
  public id: number

Custom foreign key

By default, the foreignKey is the camelCase representation of the related model name and its primary key.

Related Model NamePrimary KeyForeign Key

However, you can also define a custom foreign key.

@belongsTo(() => User, {
  foreignKey: 'profileUserId',
public user: BelongsTo<typeof User>

Custom local key

The local key is always the primary key of the related model, but can be defined explicitly.

@belongsTo(() => User, {
  localKey: 'uuid',
  foreignKey: 'profileUserId',
public user: BelongsTo<typeof User>

Table structure

Following is an example table describing the relationship at the database level.

Lucid models doesn't rely on the database level foreign key constraint. It just needs the columns to be present and must be of same data types.

Preloading relationship

The preloading API for a belongs to relationship is already covered in the introduction guide.

Persisting relationship

When working with a belongs to relationship, you are always associating or dissociating models with each other. For example: You never say, create a user for this profile. Instead, you say, link profile to this user.

In the true spirit of readability, a belongsTo relationship does not have create or save methods. It has associate and dissociate methods.


const user = await User.find(1)
const profile = new Profile()

profile.avatarUrl = 'foo.jpg'
profile.isActive = true

// Save profile with the user id of the user
await profile.related('user').associate(user)


const profile = await Profile.find(1)
await profile.related('user').dissociate()