If you are in a relationship with an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen you might be eligible to be sponsored for a partner visa.
Being married to your sponsor means you should be eligible to apply for a partner visa. But you do not have to be married to be eligible – you can be in what is called a “de facto relationship.”
The general rule is that the de facto relationship must have existed for at least 12 months immediately before you apply for a partner visa.
Note: Time spent dating does not count towards the length of a de facto relationship.
For migration purposes, a person is in a de facto relationship with another person if they:
> are not married to each other
> have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others
> are in a genuine and continuing relationship
> live together or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis
> are not related by family.
Importantly for those who have not been in a relationship for at least 12 months, one circumstance in which the one year relationship requirement does not apply is where the relationship is registered under a law of a State or Territory prescribed in the Acts Interpretation (Registered Relationships) Regulations 2008 as a kind of relationship prescribed in those regulations.
Relationships can presently be registered in the following:
> The ACT
For several of the above the only requirement is that one of the partners in the relationship needs to reside in the State or Territory.
In Vic, however, both parties must “ordinarily reside” in the State. This is interpreted by Births Deaths Marriages Victoria as follows:
To be eligible to register your relationship you must be ordinarily resident in Victoria. To establish this, we request that you provide evidence that both parties to the relationship have been living here for at least the last 12 months. However, each application is assessed on its merit.
Couples who are contemplating registering their relationship should therefore check the requirements of the State or Territory in which they are planning to register, to ensure they are eligible.
For those who are interested, here’s the technical background:
The definition of “de facto partner” in the Migration Act 1958 provides that the Migration Regulations may make provision in relation to the determination of whether one or more of the conditions going to the existence of the relationship are met.
Under Regulation 2.03A, in relation to certain types of visas, one of the factors for the determination of a de facto relationship is that the relationship must have existed for at least twelve months.
Regulation 2.03A(5) provides that the minimum relationship period does not apply if the de facto relationship is registered under a State/Territory law prescribed in the Acts Interpretation Act (Registered Relationship) Regulations as a kind of relationship as prescribed in those regulations.
The following laws and relationships are prescribed (and so meet the requirements of regulation 2.03A(5)):
(a) Relationships Act 2008 (Vic) — a registered domestic relationship as defined in section 3 of that Act;
(b) Relationships Act 2003 (Tas) — a significant relationship as defined in section 4 of that Act;
(c) Civil Partnerships Act 2008 (ACT) — a relationship as a couple between 2 adults who meet the eligibility criteria mentioned in section 6 of that Act for entry into a civil partnership;
(d) Relationships Register Act 2010 (NSW) — a registered relationship as defined in section 4 of that Act;
(e) Relationships Act 2011 (Qld)—a relationship as a couple between 2 adults who meet the eligibility criteria mentioned in section 5 of that Act for entry into a registered relationship.
The GM Family division of Go Matilda Visas has many years of experience looking after partner visa applications for applicants within Australia and overseas.
Our fees are competitive, are fixed in amount before you make any commitment to us, and can be paid in 6 x interest free monthly instalments to help you manage your cash flow.
If you are considering a partner visa application, are not married, are considering registering your relationship to overcome the 12 months living together requirement, and would like an initial discussion and a no obligation fixed fee proposal please contact the office that is nearest to you, or complete the enquiry form on this page.
We look forward to hearing from you.