De Facto Visa



Boyfriends and girlfriends are welcome to Australia. If you have been with an Australian girlfriend or boyfriend for a long time or have kids together, you may qualify for the Australia Partner Visa. You don’t need to be married. This is the de-facto visa program, and it allows you to move permanently to Australia. Let's find out more.

Relationships with New Zealand Citizens Qualify Too

The first criterion for the de facto visa program is that you must be in a traceable relationship with an Australian partner. But eligible New Zealand citizens are covered as well. If you are in a long-term relationship—but not married—to a New Zealand citizen that has lived in Australia for 12 months, they can sponsor you to move to the Lucky Country.

You Can Do Many Things with the De Facto Partner Visa

Move with a partner to Australia: Under the de facto visa relationship, unmarried lovers and couples can move together to Australia. Consider that in some countries, gay marriage is not supported. Thankfully, under the de facto visa program, you don't need to be married to move to Australia with your man or woman.

Work, study, travel: After you get to Australia under the de facto visa, you can get a permanent partner visa. The later allows you to stay in Australia permanently. You can enjoy rights and benefits such as the ability to work, study, or pursue business endeavors, much like an Australian citizen. You can also qualify for the Australian government healthcare plan (Medicare) and a few social security benefits.

Pursue love in Australia: The de facto relationship categorization is broader. You can be sponsored even by those in other relationships, or those previously sponsored under the same visa category.

For example, your friend Anna is sponsored to Australia by Jerry,  her Australian boyfriend. She gets to the Land Down Under and lives with him for five years, but then the relationship ends. Anna can move out and live on her own in Australia.

Let's assume Anna obtained a permanent partner visa when she got to Australia. If somehow you kept in touch and found yourselves in a de facto relationship, she can sponsor you to Australia, whether you are a man or woman.

Sponsor dependents: The de-facto partner visa allows you to mention and bring dependents as part of the application. If Anna has a biological child with her Australian boyfriend Jerry, the two can enlist the child in the visa. It can also be an adopted child, or Anna's child from another relationship—each of these cases is acceptable.

Defacto Relationships Have a Broad Definition

A de facto relationship, according to the Australia Partner, is broadly defined as a non-marital sexual relationship where:

  • Both partners are 18 years and older
  • The two persons are living together or have lived together on a domestic basis
  • The partners have shared a residence or been together for at least 12 months
  • There are children in a non-marital relationship ( this qualifies you even when cohabitation is less than 12 months)
  • There is evidence of financial dependence in the relationship
  • The two partners are determined to stay together for a long time

Key points to note about the de facto relationship visa eligibility:

Children: Going by past court rulings, not all the factors listed above must be present for a relationship to be considered de facto by the Australian immigration department. One factor, such as having a child with an Australian or eligible New Zealand citizen, for instance, may be given more weight than cohabitation.

Affairs: In the past years, the courts have determined that one can be in a de facto relationship, even if they are legally married or cohabiting with someone else. That widens the scope of this visa program for romantic, casual, or emotional relationships and affairs provided they meet the earlier defined criteria.

Proof of relationship: The definition of a de facto relationship under the Australia partner visa program is thankfully broad. However, the burden of proving the relationship rests with you and your partner. Things are easier for married couples; they are only required to produce their marriage certificate. Proving a de facto relationship may require evidence of bills, social media, shared social relationships, shared residence, and phone conversations.

These are the Qualifications You Need to Get the Defacto Visa to Australia:

  • You must be in a de-facto relationship—that meets the earlier stated definitions—with an Australian or eligible New Zealand citizen
  • One must be sponsored by the Australian or New Zealand partner
  • The partner must meet all the character requirements needed for the applications
  • You are required to meet health and character requirements

The De Facto Visa Application Process is in Two Stages.

First, you are needed to submit a combined application for a temporary partner visa. This short-term visa allows you to move to Australia with your de facto partner. Applicants must have a temporary partner visa to be able to apply for the permanent partner visa. The permanent visa lets them stay in Australia permanently.

Upon successfully applying for the temporary partner visa, you will be allowed to move to Australia temporarily. From there on, you can apply for a permanent residence visa. When you apply for the permanent partner visa, you will be required to show evidence of the relationship for two years (starting from when you entered Australia). If the application is successful, you will be awarded a permanent partner visa.

Key points to note about the de-facto visa application process:

Procedure: You are only granted a permanent partner visa two years after the temporary partner visa application. Partnership in these cases applies to both marriages and de facto relationships. The application process is the same in both cases.

Entitlements: The temporary and permanent partner visas have similar entitlements. However, the permanent visa qualifies you for government payments. You can also apply for Australian citizenship using the permanent partner visa, but not the temporary visa.

Dependents: Both the temporary and permanent partner visas allow you to sponsor or bring a dependent family member with you to Australia. These dependents can study, work, or be eligible for many other things under your visa.

Sponsorship criteria: For the application to go through, your sponsor should not have sponsored more than two persons in their lifetime. After sponsoring one person under the de facto visa program, one must wait for five years before they submit another de facto partner visa sponsorship application.

Finances and Fiancées: Prospective Marriage Visa Australia

If you are engaged to be married to an Australian or eligible New Zealand citizen, there is a different visa stream for that. It is called the Prospective Marriage Visa [] , and it doesn't need you to meet the criteria and definitions of the de facto relationship. Evidence of the engagement is the main thing needed to qualify for the prospective marriage visa. Once you get to Australia and get married within this visa's time frame (9 months), you will be granted a permanent residence visa.

However, if you are not engaged, your relationship falls under the de facto visa category. Like many other men and women, you will be tasked with proving the history of the relationship and the commitment that you have with your partner. Below are a few insights.

Proving a De Facto Relationship Can Be Quite Involving

A large part of the de facto visa application process involves proving a de facto relationship. Lots of documents and information may be needed for that. One is required to keep compiling evidence of the relationship throughout the two-stage application process. The required evidence revolves around:

The financial aspects of the relationship

Partners applying for the de facto partner visa should show a history of shared bank accounts or shared bills. For example, you might need to show that you paid rent via a joint account, or that you provided or received financial assistance from the partner for a long time. Joint bank loans, joint bills, and mutual insurance and car purchases are also ways to prove a de facto relationship.

Cohabitation/shared residence

A shared domestic life is another evidence of a de facto relationship. This type of partner visa to Australia requires you to have stayed with your partner for at least 12 months. After you get a temporary visa, you will need to show that you have been with your partner for at least two years to get a permanent visa.

The social aspects of the relationship

This might be where things get hard. The immigration department will want social evidence of your relationship. In other words, you will need to prove that your family or friends know about your de facto relationship with the Australian or eligible New Zealand citizen. Social media statuses, proof of dinner tickets, and travel documents may help to settle this.

Your long-term commitment to each other

You will need evidence of a wish or declaration of the intention to sustain the relationship in the coming years. This can be proven in will statements or by the details of your emails or telephone correspondence.

We Are Here to Help

It is easy to get the de facto partner visa, but the application process is not straightforward. There are many definitions of a de facto relationship, for instance. There are many documents to show and evidence to provide. On top of that, the two-stage application process further complicates matters.

We can help. At Easy Migrate, we have expert immigration consultants that can help you understand the meaning of 'de facto' relationship and whether you qualify for this visa.

If you are eligible, we can help you gather and compile the evidence of your relationship. We will then guide you through the rest of the application process to increase your chances of success. Contact us today to obtain advice and de facto partner visa application assistance.