Marrying in Australia – Locking in your Australian Partner Visa strategy

Individuals who are not married are generally required to have been living together for at least 12 months if they are to be considered to be in a de facto relationship (6 months when a partner is being included on a subclass 457 employer sponsored visa application).

More specifically, 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.

Department of Immigration guidance expands the living together requirement:

“Living together is regarded as a common element in most on-going relationships. It is recognised that, for various reasons, couples may sometimes have to live apart. Provided the separation is temporary and the couple had, at some point since commencement of the relationship lived together, their relationship might still satisfy the requirements of a de facto relationship.

For this reason, the one year relationship criterion does not require the couple to have physically lived together for the entire 12 months, but rather to have been in a de facto relationship for that period.

Partners who are currently not living together may be required to provide additional evidence that they are not living separately and apart on a permanent basis in order to satisfy the requirements of a de facto relationship.”

There are exemptions from the 12 month relationship requirement, namely where:

> There are compelling and compassionate circumstances for the grant of the visa, for example, there is a child of the relationship
> 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
> Their partner is, or was the holder of a permanent humanitarian visa and, before the humanitarian visa was granted, was in a de facto relationship with the applicant that was declared to the department at the time
> Their partner is an applicant for a permanent humanitarian visa.

Where a relationship has not existed for 12 months and the above exemptions are not available an applicant and his/her partner might consider marrying, as a person who is married to an Australian citizen or permanent resident is immediately able to apply for a partner visa.

In saying this, we hasten to add that we are not suggesting marrying purely for the sake of convenience, or to secure a visa outcome!

In Australia weddings can be carried out by a person called a marriage celebrant – for a wedding in Melbourne or Adelaide we are pleased to invite you to consider Christopher Steele of Simple Weddings.

A marriage celebrant can also provide a Notice of Intention to Marry, which is a required document when lodging a Prospective Marriage visa application.

GM Family is ideally placed to assist with partner visa applications. Our fees are competitive, 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, and would like an initial discussion and a no obligation fixed fee proposal contact our closest office to you, or complete the enquiry form on this page.