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  • Writer's pictureElan Rysher

Partner visas for new couples

Updated: May 9, 2020

Australia is famous for its multiculturalism. People from different parts of the world work and live side by side. Sometimes, they fall in love with one another. In 2019, there were more than 2.4 million foreigners on temporary visas in Australia. Some of them are bound to fall in love with an Australian and start a relationship.

Australian citizen and permanent residents (and some NZ citizens too) can sponsor their overseas partner for a Partner visa subclasses 820+801 if onshore or subclasses 309+100 if overseas. Every year, around 60,000 couples apply for Partner visas.

The legislation allows unmarried couples to still apply for Partner visas as de-facto couples. Their relationship must satisfy a range of requirements such as living together, sharing finances and mutual commitment for at least 12 prior to applying for the visa.

Things get complicated if the couple hasn't lived together for at least 1 year but still wants to apply for the visa. If your relationship is still a bit fresh but you are madly in love, you might not want to wait a full year. You may have been going out for a while, but have only just moved in together.

Things can get stressful if the foreign partner's existing visa is about to expire. This is a common problem affecting many mixed Aussie-foreigner relationships. Couples in this situation often find themselves scrambling for ways to stay together.

There is a solution to this issue.

Couples in Australia can register their relationship as de-facto. The registration provides legal recognition of the relationship and certain rights. Each State and Territory has its own de-facto registration process.

In some States, a relationship registration removes the 12 months requirement of Partner visa applications. Couples who are registered in these States don't have to live together for a whole year before applying for the visa. Instead, they need to show that they were in a de-facto relationship when they lodge their visa application.

Word of Caution

At the time of writing this article, relationship registrations in Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory are not suitable for migration purposes. Couples registered in those states must still show that they have been in a de facto relationship for +12 months.

Whether or not you register your relationship as a solution to the 12 months requirement, your relationship will still be assessed against the other de-facto criteria. New couples who haven't lived together for +1 year are more likely to have issues with providing sufficient supporting evidence of their relationship. If you are experiencing these issues, you should seek advice from a registered Migration Agent.

Have any questions? Post them below or contact us!


Information (or the lack of it) contained in ImmiUpdates should not be relied on as immigration assistance or advice. ImmiUpdates expressly disclaim any liability, arising at law, in equity or otherwise, for any information published or not published in past, the present or future editions of the blog. People seeking immigration assistance should seek advice from a registered migration agent and those seeking legal advice should consult a lawyer. The copyright in the newsletter belongs to Rysher Migration Services and no part of the blog is to be reproduced by any means without the written consent of Rysher Migration Services.


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