Australia offers spouses of Australians the opportunity to get a permanent partner visa. Both spouses can be in a “married relationship” on the one hand or a “de facto relationship” on the other hand.
Australian Partner Visa Basic Requirements
To apply for a Partner Visa, the applicant must be either married to or in a de facto relationship with:
- an Australian citizen; or
- an Australian permanent resident; or
- an eligible New Zealand citizen.
All applicants must be sponsored by their partner, who must be at least 18 years of age.
To apply for a Partner Visa as a de facto partner, the applicant must demonstrate at least 12 months of cohabitation with their Australian partner in the period immediately prior to lodging the visa application. The definition of a de facto partner extends to opposite and same-sex couples.
A de facto visa application can be made on the basis of a registered relationship. In most states, you’ll get certificate issued to you in a month.
You could also get a de facto visa on the basis of having been a 12-month de facto relationship (and without a certificate).
If you are applying on the basis of the relationship certificate, you don’t need to meet the 12-month rule.
Partner Visa and De Facto
There are three visas that you may be able to apply for if you are in a de facto relationship:
- in Australia, a partner subclass 820/801
- outside Australia, a partner subclass 309/100
- outside Australia, a fiancé subclass 300.
SUBCLASS 820/801 – PARTNER VISA (TEMPORARY) AND PARTNER VISA (PERMANENT)
Partner visa in Australia subclass 820/801 allows the partner or spouse of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australia. You apply for the temporary and the permanent partner visas together.
SUBCLASS 309/100 – PARTNER (PROVISIONAL) VISA AND PARTNER (MIGRANT) VISA
Partner visa outside Australia allows the partner or spouse of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australia. You apply for the temporary and the permanent partner visas together.
SUBCLASS 300 – PROSPECTIVE MARRIAGE VISA
This visa lets you come to Australia to marry your prospective spouse and then apply for a Partner visa. You will be allowed 9 months from the date of the grant of the visa to remain in Australia and marry your partner then apply for a partner visa.
De Facto Relationship
DE FACTO PARTNER REQUIREMENTS
You must be able to satisfy the following criteria:
- your partner and yourself must be at least 18 years of age;
- you must be in a de facto relationship with your partner who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen;
- your partner must be able to sponsor you (certain people are prohibited from being approved as a sponsor);
- your partner and yourself our partner must meet a character requirement; and
- you must also meet health and character requirements.
HOW DO I SATISFY THE REQUIREMENTS OF BEING A DE FACTO PARTNER?
The Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) must assess whether your relationship meets the prescribed definition of a ‘de facto partner’ in accordance with the Migration Act 1958 which states:
5CB De facto partner
De facto partners
(1) For the purposes of this Act, a person is the de facto partner of another person (whether of the same sex or a different sex) if, under subsection (2), the person is in a de facto relationship with the other person.
De facto relationship
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), a person is in a de facto relationship with another person if they are not in a married relationship (for the purposes of section 5F) with each other but:
(a) they have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others; and
(b) the relationship between them is genuine and continuing; and
(i) live together; or
(ii) do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis; and
(d) they are not related by family (see subsection (4)).
(3) The regulations may make provision in relation to the determination of whether one or more of the conditions in paragraphs (2)(a), (b), (c) and (d) exist. The regulations may make different provision in relation to the determination for different purposes whether one or more of those conditions exist.
(4) For the purposes of paragraph (2)(d), 2 persons are related by family if:
(a) one is the child (including an adopted child) of the other; or
(b) one is another descendant of the other (even if the relationship between them is traced through an adoptive parent); or
(c) they have a parent in common (who may be an adoptive parent of either or both of them).
For this purpose, disregard whether an adoption is declared void or has ceased to have effect.
It is important to be aware that the meaning of a de facto relationship for purpose of migration law and obtaining a visa will not necessarily equate to the ordinary usage of this term or how it is defined in other laws or countries.
In essence you must prove that:
- you and your partner have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others;
- your relationship is genuine and continuing relationship;
- you and your partner live together, or you do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis; and
- you and your partner are not related by family.
FAQ : De Facto and Partner Visa
How Long Do I Need to Be in a Relationship?
In general, you would need to show that you have lived with your partner, or at least not apart on a permanent basis, for at least 12 months.
This requirement must be met as of the date you make your application. Even if you can show that you have lived together for 364 days when you apply, your application would not normally succeed unless you can prove a full year of living together before the application is lodged.
The 12-month rule applies to most permanent and provisional Australian visas. For temporary visas, it is possible to apply with less time living together.
WHAT INFORMATION DO I NEED TO PROVE WE HAVE BEEN LIVING TOGETHER FOR 12 MONTHS?
The DoHA will require evidence to prove the following aspects of your de facto relationship:
- Financial – joint you prove ownership of major assets, joint liabilities, sharing of your financial assets
- Social – can your relationship be supported by others as being genuine, including taking part in social events and other activities
- Household – can you show your living arrangements including cooking, household chores, support of children indicate a joint and shared relationship
- Your commitment – the length and history of your relationship including the fact you are committed to each other for the long
It is essential you provide supporting documentation with your application.
The DoHA understands that not all relationships are the same and have the same characteristics due to cultural, religious, or even work commitments. It is important you properly address these issues.
Are there Exemptions to the 12 Month Cohabitation Requirement?
It is possible to show that you are in a de facto relationship in some circumstances, even if you have not lived together for the full 12 months. These would include:
- Where you have registered your relationshipwith an Australian State or Territory government; or
- That compelling and compassionate circumstances exist to grant the visa, such as:
- There is a dependent child of the relationship; or
- You are not permitted by law in your home country to live with your partner
How Do I Prove that I am Living With My Partner?
The most common way to prove that you are living with your partner is to provide evidence that you share the same residential address – this is referred to as “cohabitation”.
Usual evidence to establish this would include:
- Property lease or Property ownership (e.g., title deed, rates notice, mortgage documents)
- Shared bank accounts or transferring of funds
- Household bills (e.g., electricity, gas, telephone, insurance, etc)
- Postal correspondence addressed to either or both of you at the same address
Can I Use Time Spent Travelling with my Partner as Cohabitation?
If you have travelled with your partner for an extended period, it can – in some circumstances – be used as evidence of cohabitation.
However, it is important to show that you had moved in with your partner prior to the travel taking place and had established a joint household.
What if We Have Spent Time Apart?
To prove a de facto relationship, you must show that you live together, or at least do not live apart on a permanent basis.
If you have started living together, but then one partner moves temporarily due to external circumstances, it may still be possible to make a successful application.
External circumstances which may be acceptable include study, work, or visa issues. It is important to show that you maintain close contact even though you are apart.
Evidence to Prove De Facto Relationship
- Social Aspects: that you are recognised by friends and relatives as a couple
- Financial Aspects: that you have pooled your financial resources to some extent; and
- Commitment Aspects: that you see your relationship as long term, and have made plans for the future
What if I am Still Married to Someone Else?
If you are married but have separated and are living with a new partner, it is possible to show that you are in a de facto relationship with your new partner.
In this case, it is important to show that your relationship is exclusive – i.e., that your previous relationship has ceased.
Need help with getting Australian Visas?
NO BORDERS: #1 TRUSTED MIGRATION AGENTS
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +61 (07) 3876 4000
We will help you by exploring visa options and securing application. As part of our services, we will assess the eligibility of the application for a partner visa and help you to get out of the abusive relationship and provide you with detailed advice on your chances of success. If you would like to discuss your visa options and evaluate the pathway to permanent residency, please make an enquiry or book a consultation to get expert advice with one of our knowledgeable and experienced Migration Agents/Lawyers on 07 3876 4000 or email: [email protected].
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