To apply for a partner visa on de facto grounds you, you would generally need to show you have lived with your partner for 12 months. The 12-month cohabitation requirement also applies when including a spouse for the following types of visa:
- Permanent visas
- Business Skills (Provisional)
- Student visas
- Partner visas
- General Skilled Migration visas
However, you would be exempt from the 12 month requirement if you register your relationship in an Australian state or territory. You would need to show that you are living together but not necessarily for 12 months.
Registration provides legal recognition as a couple under the state law and as well as being beneficial for immigration purposes. Usual requirements include:
- Both partners must be 18 years old or over
- Must not be in a relationship as a couple with another person – in particular they must not be married, in a de facto relationship or in a registered relationship
- Must not be related by family.
- Same sex and different sex couples can register their relationship.
To find out who can register their significant relationship according to the laws of each state, look at the map below:
Registration is available in NSW, QLD, Victoria, the ACT and Tasmania and the main requirements are listed below for these states.
NSW residents can register via Registry of Death Birth and Marriages. At least one partner must live in NSW. It will take 28 days to receive your certificate after you have registered your relationship.
Relationships are registered through Births Deaths and Marriages Victoria. Persons who are in a registrable domestic relationship or a registrable caring relationship may apply to the Registrar, in a form approved by the Registrar, for registration of that relationship if one of the persons in the relationship lives in Victoria and that each of the persons in the relationship is not married or in a registered relationship and is not in another relationship that could be registered.
At least one partner must have lived in Queensland for at least 6 months and you must provide evidence of this. You can apply by post and processing time to register relationships is 10 days. Cost of your registration certificate would be $43.50.
You can apply by post or in person with the Tasmania Department of Justice. It will take 28 days to receive your registration certificate. Both partners must be residents of Tasmania. Application fees are $179.08.
ACT – Civil Partnership under s.6 of Civil Partnerships Act 2008
Civil partnership registration can be obtained via Access Canberra. At least one of the partners to a must live in the ACT. Two forms of evidence of residency must be provided. You can apply in parson or by post. However if you apply by post, at least one applicant would still need to present identification at the post office. There are no fees for civil partnership registration.
Western Australia (WA)
If you are resident of WA you can register your de facto relationship, however it is not recognised for migration purposes.
South Australia (SA)
Northern Territory (NT)
Relationship registration not available
The new changes to Sponsored family visa’s, will be implemented for Partner visas by the end of 2021. The changes mean that Sponsorships must be lodged first and approved before Partner visas can be lodged. This change will adversely impact onshore Partner visa applicants wanting to lodge a visa application prior to their substantive visa expiring. The sponsorship application will be assessed separately and will need to be approved before a valid Partner visa application can be lodged.