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Many of you would be aware that Australian partner visas can be applied-for with either of two different scenarios.

  • If the Filipina (or Filipino) applicant and Australian sponsor are married (for an onshore or offshore visa application), or going to be married (for an offshore application only), or;
  • If the applicant and sponsor are in a genuine, committed and permanent de facto relationship for 12 months or more

de facto

All sounds simple, doesn’t it? Unable to marry, or don’t want to marry. Let’s choose the de facto option. Easy! We call each other all the time, and we have a great time having mummy-and-daddy-cuddles, so what the heck. Saves on all that marriage commitment stuff! Try-before-you-buy!

Well, ‘fraid not! Not that simple. The Immigration website has an unfortunate habit of making it all look simple, but from many years of experience we at Down Under Visa can tell you that it ain’t necessarily so. You need to be in a permanent and committed relationship excluding all others, and not just reluctant to tie the knot.

Registered relationships

In some states you can register your relationship, and this reduces the time from 12 months required, however this doesn’t apply to all states and it doesn’t apply to all people. In some states you both need to be resident for a period of time, and in all states both parties must not be legally married or in another registered relationship at the time of application.

So if either are still married, then registered relationships won’t work. You may apply as a de facto couple with either or both of you still legally married as long as the relationships are definitely over, but not for a registered relationship, sorry.

And it in no way removes the requirement to prove that you are in an existing de facto relationship with a full commitment to each other. Do not think you can just wave the registration certificate around like a substitute for a marriage certificate, because it is most definitely not.


And you must BE in an existing de facto relationship

There is no option for lodging an application based on an intention to start a de facto relationship. These visas are for existing relationships only. No try-before-you-buy!

Not all living-together relationships are de facto relationships

I regularly have applicants telling me that they believe themselves to be in a de facto relationship, and are sometimes surprised when I ask them to complete an additional assessment. We have our regular assessment form which many of you will have completed previously. If not? It’s HERE. This asks you questions about yourselves and about your relationship which are necessary for us to assess if you are in fact ready to apply for a partner visa (or even a tourist visa).

If a prospective visa applicant says they are in a de facto relationship, we get them to complete an additional assessment which is loaded with important questions which help us to determine if you are in fact in a de facto relationship that the Australian Embassy immigration office will recognise. Because it’s neither you nor I who are the judges.

We had cases in years gone by where couples had sworn blind that they were in this wonderful de facto relationship. They lived together. They shared everything. They were devoted to each other. Then when it came to getting proof of this, they came up fairly light. They were almost like flatmates who were very fond of each other. In love? Yes, definitely. Romantic? Definitely. But not really in a de facto relationship…….or just unable to prove it, which is virtually the same thing. They need proof, and if you have nothing to show them then they will have no choice but to refuse the application. And before anyone says “They have no right to judge our relationship!”, sorry but they do. It’s written into Australian Law too. They have the right, and they have the obligation.


Not in a de facto relationship, but want to be?

You may be unable to marry due to one or both of you being still legally married, and not willing or able to go through a divorce or an annulment. Or you may just have an ideological aversion to marriage. But you may not be in a position to apply right now for a partner visa based on a de facto relationship, because either you haven’t started living together or because you lack the necessary evidence.

Down Under Visa can help you!

We at Down Under Visa have recently launched our de facto relationship planner program, where we will guide you with what you need to have in place in your lives to truly live in a de facto relationship and for that relationship to be easily recognised as part of a partner visa application.

Note that the partner visa application and its preparation are separate to this. This is just laying the necessary groundwork so that the relationship itself will stand up to any scrutiny.

If you would like help, then please go to our website and complete the free online visa assessment form (HERE) and we can take it from there.

Marrying in Philippines. Is it a good idea? Part One
Generosity - when it becomes too much! Part Two

Questions: Please search our BLOG menu or Visa Knowledge Base

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