De Facto Visas? Do you qualify?

You can apply for an Australian Partner Visa based on one of two scenarios:

  1. You’re married (or will be married before the application is finalised)
  2. You’re living in a de facto relationship, and have been living in that relationship for 12 months or more. (Note that this may be reduced to 6 months if your state allows you to register your relationship.)

A partner visa for a couple in a de facto relationship is NOT a visa to allow you to commence a de facto relationship in Australia. Definitely not that simple or flexible! 

We at Down Under Visa have many applicants who discover that the Filipina lady of their dreams is still legally married, despite being separated. There is no simple “no fault divorce” available in the Philippines, and you can’t apply for a Prospective Marriage Visa unless both parties are legally free to marry. They discover the cost, time and effort which an annulment takes, and they look for a simple alternative. They know they can’t marry, and they see the de facto option and they pounce on it!

Being in love and being enthusiastic does not make up for a lack of facts! Visiting each other, talking on Skype everyday, and sending a bit of money…..this doesn’t do it either. It’s good evidence of having a great relationship, but that’s about it.

A de facto relationship means that you are like a married couple without the marriage certificate. They used to call it a “de facto marriage”, or a “common law marriage”. “De facto” means “in fact”. You can look at it also as “in reality”. You are by reality a married couple, just without a certificate! That means you need to be living a shared-life as you would if you were joined in legal matrimony. You would share everything, and your lives would be intertwined in a practical, financial, social and emotional way. Visiting and having a warm bed and some special cuddles waiting for you, this is not enough if at the end of the trip you both go back to your separate lives apart from emails and phonecalls.

How about if by necessity you’ve ended up apart? You’ve commenced a de facto relationship in Australia or in Philippines, but due to the fact she has no visa to live in Australia (or to continue living in Australia) and/or you need to be in Australia to work? What if you did not notch up 12 months of living under the same roof? The definition of a de facto relationship contains the following words:

They live together, or not apart on a permanent basis.

If you are apart by necessity but not by intentions (ie. you’re not separated because you broke up), then this is OK…..provided you did in fact commence a de facto relationship already.

The other issue is that you might have a great de facto relationship, which is genuine in every possible way, but you can’t prove it! Yes, you must prove it. They won’t simply take your word for it. There must be evidence to back up your claims.

If you still think you may qualify for a partner visa based on a de facto relationship, then please fill out our Partner Visa Assessment Form HERE, and we will let you know.

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