Are you planning to apply for an Australian Partner Visa based on your de facto relationship? If you haven’t been in a de facto relationship for 12 months, then you may need to register your relationship as a civil partnership. Read this article or check out our video to find out more.
When you apply for a partner visa, you have two options. The first option is that you are in a married relationship. The second option is that you are not married, but you are in a de facto relationship. For de facto couples, the Department of Home Affairs requires that you show that the de facto relationship goes back at least 12 months. The relevant time is the time of application for the visa. In other words, when you apply, you must have been in a de facto relationship for 12 months.
What do you do if your relationship does not go back that far?
The good news is that you may still be able to lodge an application. What you need to do is register your relationship in your state or territory as a civil partnership. A civil partnership is not the same as marriage. You are still “only” a de facto couple. But it means that the 12 month requirement doesn’t apply to you.
Who can register their relationship?
Any couple can ask for registration. This includes same-sex couples.
Requirements you must satisfy for registration
The most important criteria is that you can’t be married. In practice, what we often see is people who want to get their relationship registered realise that they can’t do it because their previous relationship is technically still in effect, because the divorce has never been finalised. For example, you might have been married overseas, and even though the relationship is well and truly over, there are no divorce papers available and it would be too complicated to get them now. In a situation like that, unfortunately registration is not a possibility.
You also need to be aware that registration takes 10 days. So you can’t leave this to the last minute.
Keep in mind also that your documents need to be in English so if you need to get them translated, that will take an additional couple of days.
Finally, if you want to register your relationship in Queensland, then the relevant department, which is the Registrar for Birth, Marriages and Deaths, requires that one of you reside in Queensland.
If you have any questions in relation to civil partnerships, or partner visas in general, please get in touch with us and will be happy to help.