4 Questions about de facto relationship for Australian visas

The definition of “de facto relationship” is extremely important given meeting its definition could dictate your eligibility for a visa.

Below are some of the common questions regarding the de facto relationship.




1. Do I need to be in the relationship for 12 months?

For certain visas such as permanent visas, partner visas, student visas, graduate visas and skilled visas, the de facto relationship must be at least 12 months, except in cases where:

- there are compelling and compassionate reasons or

- the visa applicant is in a relationship with a humanitarian visa holder or applicant, or

- the de facto relationship is registered under Australian state or territory laws.

For visas not mentioned above, there is no exact period stipulated by Australian legislation but the period considered reasonable is 6 months of relationship.

2. What changes if I register my relationship?

For visas where there is a requirement to be in a relationship for at least 12 months, this registration removes the need to satisfy the minimum duration.

Of course, it is still necessary to prove that the relationship is genuine and continuing.

3. Do I need to live together throughout the relationship?

One aspect of the definition of a de facto relationship in Australian migration law is living together.

In cases where the couple is living (or has lived) separately, it is necessary to show that this separation is temporary and that there is intention of cohabitation.

This aspect is analysed together with all others, and the absence of cohabitation may affect the substantiation that the relationship is genuine and continuing.

4. Where can I register my relationship?

Only relationship registration made under the states and territories laws listed below are considered for immigration purposes:

  • QLD - Civil Partnerships Act 2011 - a relationship as a couple between 2 adults who meet the eligibility criteria mentioned in s5 of that Act for entry into a civil partnership.

  • Victoria - Relationships Act 2008 - a registered relationship that is registered under s10(3)(a) of that Act.

  • Tasmania - Relationships Act 2003 - a significant relationship as defined in s4 of that Act.

  • NSW - Relationships Register Act 2010 - a registered relationship as defined in s4 of that Act.

  • ACT - Civil Partnerships Act 2008 - a relationship as a couple between 2 adults who meet the eligibility criteria mentioned in s6 of that Act for entry into a civil partnership. Note: The ACT’s Civil Partnerships Act 2008 has been repealed and relationship registration certificates issued in the ACT are now issued under the Domestic Relationships Act 1994. The Domestic Relationships Act 1994 is, however, not prescribed in the (Commonwealth’s) Acts Interpretation (Registered Relationships) Regulations 2008. As this situation is a circumstance outside the applicant’s control, it is the department’s policy to accept registration certificates issued under the Domestic Relationships Act 1994.


Australian immigration legislation is extremely complex and it is advisable that you obtain advice from a registered migration agent to handle your case to ensure a complete visa application.










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