There are many reasons why two people may choose to co-inhabit. For individuals in de facto relationships, these reasons are usually bordering along the lines of domestic purpose. For the purpose of Australian Family law, a de facto relationship is a close personal relationship between two adults. In this relationship, two adults care for and/or provide domestic support to each other.
A De facto visa becomes necessary when one individuals in the relationship chooses to invite their partner to Australia. The invitee must be resident in Australia and capable of sponsoring the other party on the basis of their partnership.
Applications for a de facto visa is only valid if the couple meets a few conditions. They would have to demonstrate that they have been in a de facto relationship in which –
- The couple in the de facto relationship; neither married nor related to each other by family.
- They have a mutual commitment to a shared life together.
- The couple are in a genuine and continuing relationship.
- They live together or do not live separately and apart in a permanent basis.
The application for the de facto visa is a two step process. The process only commences after haven verified and confirmed your eligibility for the visa.
Eligibility Criteria for a De Facto Visa
- You and your partner must be 18 years or older according to Australian law.
- Your de facto partner must be an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen. ( Take note that you may still be eligible if the relationship breaks down subsequent to the application)
- Your partner and sponsor must meet all required visa sponsorship requirements.
- You meet all the health and character requirements of the de facto visa application process.
- You haven’t already been refused a visa or had a visa cancelled while in Australia.
The Two Step Application Process
You may apply for a temporary partner visa which allows you travel into and stay in Australia. In the meanwhile, a permanent visa is being processed or a decision is made to reject the application for a permanent partner visa.
Applying for a Temporary Visa
Gather the relevant documents required for the applications and prepare them adequately.
- Applicant documents include: Identity documents, documents that prove the relationship with your partner; such as a statutory declaration by a supporting witness in relation to a partner or prospective marriage visa application. Documents about other relationships as well as health and character documents.
- Sponsor documents include: Identity documents, character documents, relevant dependants documents.
Applications (Online or On-paper)
- To apply Online: Begin the application by creating an ImmiAccount (if you do not already have one). When done, log in and start the application. When in ImmiAccount, select new application, then prospective marriage visa. Lodge your sponsorship form online and your partner’s details. Subsequently, attach the required documents as required by the ImmiAccount.
- To Apply On Paper: Complete the 47SP form. The form is an application for migration by a partner. Subsequently, send the following to your closest immigration office; your visa application form, your sponsors completed application form, your documents, sponsors documents and the correct application fee. Also lodge your sponsorship form on paper. Then give the completed form as well as other relevant documents to your partner.
Wait For Decision on The Temporary Visa
- Police certificates
- Information on any other changes including the addition of children, or any information added to the application in error.
After the Temporary Visa Has Been Granted
When you arrive and begin residing with your de facto partner, you must;
- Comply with Australian law and visa conditions.
- Not get another visa. Otherwise the new visa will replace your temporary partner visa; and you will not be eligible for the permanent partner visa that follows
- Inform relevant authorities of any changes to your circumstance.
Applying for a Permanent Partner Visa
In most cases, applications would be automatically granted 2 years after the application has been lodged. Thus, the application is made alongside the application for the temporary partner visa.
The process requires similar documentation and processing as the temporary partner visa. It will automatically materialize following the expiration of the temporary visa.
The permanent partner visa cannot be granted until two years after the date of the application; assessments may begin only after that date. Documentation is required to demonstrate that the de facto partner still wishes to sponsor your stay; but also that you have maintained and will continue to maintain a genuine and continuing relationship; and have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others.
A de facto visa may also be denied individuals without proof that their relationship fits the description required. To further validate the relationship; prior to the application for a de facto visa you may register the relation with relevant authorizes within your state. Currently however, only the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria have laws in place recognising de-facto relationships.
When submitting evidence to validate the de facto visa application process, the applicants must provide evidence of their relationship.