You may apply for an Australian partner visa by two different methods.
The most common is that the applicant is married to the Australian sponsor, and they apply for a partner visa with that as the basis. As long as you have a genuine relationship, it should not be too difficult for us to prepare a successful application for you. You mostly just need to leave it in our capable hands and to follow our instructions and guidance. That’s why you engage the services of an experienced Registered Migration Agent like Jeff Harvie from Down Under Visa in the first place.
The other option is to apply for an Australian partner visa on the basis of having a de facto relationship for a period of 12 months or more. This is otherwise known as a “Common Law marriage”, or in the Philippines as a “live-in” relationship. Australian Migration Law recognises de facto relationships, even between same-sex couples, as being a legitimate basis for applying for a partner visa. It’s exactly the same visa. It’s just based on a different type of relationship.
There is an onus on the applicants to prove that they are in fact living in a genuine de facto relationship and not just being in an enthusiastic boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. Visiting each other and sharing a bed during visits does not make or prove a de facto relationship. The Migration Act (Cth) 1958, Section 5CB defines the relationship as one where the couple have a “mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others”, that the “relationship is genuine and continuing”, and that you “live together” OR “not apart on a permanent basis”.
That’s not as easy to prove as it may look on a quick glance, and often very hard to prove if the couple don’t have as much of a shared-life as they think they do. In many cases we have simply had to tell couples that their case simply won’t stand up to any sort of scrutiny of the Case Officers, and we’re ethically bound not to take on cases which we believe are not strong enough to qualify for a visa.
Note that the definition says “live together, OR not apart on a permanent basis”. If the relationship IS in fact a genuine shared-life of a mutually-committed couple, then having to live apart due to work or a lack of a visa is actually quite acceptable. Even being still married to someone else is not necessarily an obstacle either, as long as that relationship is otherwise completely over.
If you think you may qualify for an Australian partner visa on the basis of a genuine de facto relationship, please CONTACT US.
Please visit the DOWN UNDER VISA site, and most importantly fill out the PARTNER VISA ASSESSMENT FORM and let us see if you and your partner could qualify for a partner visa to Australia based on your de facto relationship. You can be assured of an honest appraisal.
NOTE: Updated from a post in May 2013