There are various types of partner visas in Australia. These visas are designed to make that path towards residency easier if there is a personal, romantic relationship at stake. If one half of the couple is an Australia resident and the other is not, one of these visas can help the non-resident live here legally and work towards resident status. These types of partner visas are sometimes referred to as ‘de facto relationship’ visas. But what exactly qualifies as a de facto relationship, and when can you apply for one of these visas?
Read on to learn more about partner visas in Australia and how they work.
Understanding the Term ‘De Facto Relationship’
The term ‘de facto’ is Latin and means ‘in fact.’ In other words, de facto relationships are not technically recognized by law, but can still be grounds for visa application and approval.
The first important thing to remember here, then, is that being married is different than being in a de facto relationship. Marriage is a state of a personal relationship that is legally recognised by all bodies of government. While you will still use the same kind of partner visas to get into Australia if you are married to an Australian citizen, your relationship is classified in a different way. Your relationship is ‘de jure’ (or ‘in law’) instead of ‘de facto.’ People who are intending to get married but who aren’t married yet are also classified differently.
So, what is a de facto relationship? Couples who apply for de facto relationship visas in Australia are often those who are involved in same-sex relationships. However, the terms ‘de facto relationship’ or ‘de facto partnership’ are not inherently related to same-sex relationships. Indeed, relationships between unmarried and unengaged men and women can also be classified as de facto partnerships and eligible for partner visas.
The Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection defines a de facto relationship with five criteria
- The partners are not married
- The partners are committed to a long-term relationship (or ‘a shared life to the exclusion of all others’)
- The relationship is genuine and ‘continuing’
- The members of the partnership do not live separately—at least not permanently
- The partners are not related by family
To apply for a de facto visa in Australia, you must have been in a relationship with the other person for at least 12 months. You also must either live together or have plans to live together in the future. This criterion is the loosest, as living separately is sometimes necessary—whether due to religion or to geographical separation.
Seek a De Facto Relationship Visa in Australia
If you believe that pursuing a de facto relationship visa is appropriate given the status of your partnership, give us a call at Active Migration Australia. We can help you understand the variations between different partner visas in Australia. We will also help you prepare paperwork to apply for the correct visa, from working with you to create an accurate account of your relationship to outlining the financial aspects of the partnership. To get started on your de facto visa application in Australia, call AMA on +61 (08) 9447 2226 today.