Pillars of Australian Partner Visa

Pillars of Australian Partner Visa

Australia Partner Visas (also known as spouse visa or de facto visa) allows the spouse or de-facto partner of an Australian Citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen to move to Australia indefinitely.

What does it mean to be in a ‘married’ or ‘de-facto relationship’?

The Department will consider the applicant and sponsor to be in a married or de-facto relationship if:

  1. they are married or in a de-facto relationship.
  2. mutual commitment to a shared life as a married/de-facto couple to the exclusion of all others
  3. the relationship between them is genuine and continuing, and
  4. does not permanently live separately and apart.


PART 1 – Are you in a married or de-facto relationship?

Migration Act 1958 (Cth) s5F (1)-(2) outlines that a person is another person’s spouse if they are in a legally valid marital relationship.

Similarly, s5CB (1) defines a person as a de-facto partner if they are in a de-facto relationship at least 12 months before you apply for the visa.

How can you prove it?

You can provide your marriage certificate or other evidence that your marriage is valid in Australia if you are married.

If you are in a de-facto relationship, you can provide proof of your de facto relationship by:

  • registering your relationship with an Australian authority such as a registry of births, deaths, and marriages
  • Evidence, such as rental/mortgage statements, evidencing your relationship for at least 12 months.

The 12-month requirement will not apply if:

  • you can show us you are in a de facto relationship with an applicant for a permanent humanitarian visa, or
  • Compelling and compassionate circumstances exist to grant the subclass 820 visa.


PART 2 – Mutual commitment of shared life as a married/de-facto couple to the exclusion of all others

A review of this section requires an assessment of the parties’ subjective intentions.

The Department should consider and be satisfied that the parties’ intentions to enter a relationship align with their motive to share a mutual life. For this reason, an arranged marriage will not fail to meet this requirement, provided both parties commit to a shared life.

Since polygamous marital relationships fall outside the ambit of “exclusion of all others”, only monogamous relationships meet the visa criteria for an Australia Partner Visa.

PART 3 – Genuine and Continuing Relationship

Both spouse and de-facto relationship must be ‘genuine and continuing’ to meet the visa criteria.

The Department will determine whether the parties are in a genuine and continuing relationship, as a question of fact, by referencing evidence presented to them.

In considering the relationship, the Minister must consider all the circumstances, including the four pillars of the partner visa. This includes:

  • Financial aspects of the relationship
  • Nature of the household
  • Social aspects of the relationship
  • Nature of the commitment


Financial Aspect

The financial aspects of an Australia Partner visa application will evaluate the applicant’s and sponsor’s commitment to each other.

You could evidence this through:

  • joint mortgage or lease documents
  • joint loan documents
  • joint bank account statements
  • household bills in both names


Nature of Household

The decision-maker will consider the shared household/domestic responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children to determine whether this relationship will be genuine. You can evidence this using:

  • a statement about how you share housework
  • household bills in both names
  • mail or emails addressed to you both
  • documents that show joint responsibility for children
  • documents that prove your living arrangements


Social Aspect

When considering the social aspect of the relationship, the decision-maker will investigate how the couple represents themselves to their family and whether others know about your relationship. This includes evidence such as:

  • joint invitations or evidence you go out together
  • proof you have friends in common
  • proof you have told the government, public or commercial bodies about your relationship
  • proof you do joint sporting, cultural or social activities together
  • proof you travel together


Nature of Commitment

The applicant and sponsor will need evidence of their intention to be in a committed, long-term, and exclusive relationship to be eligible for an Australia Partner Visa. This could include evidence such as:

  • Proof you know each other’s background, family situation or further personal details
  • proof you have combined your matters including you bring present in each other’s will
  • proof you stay in touch when apart


PART 4 – Does not permanently live separately and apart.

The parties must also demonstrate that they are either:

  • live together; or
  • do not live separately and apart permanently

While cohabitation may satisfy this requirement, parties do not have to live together to fulfil this condition. This criterion is common for offshore applications wherein the applicant may be residing overseas whilst the sponsor is living in Australia. Appropriate considerations are also provided for applicants from diverse cultural/religious backgrounds – for example, certain countries or cultural norms may prohibit or strongly discourage unmarried couples from staying together.

If you would like to discuss your eligibility for an Australia Partner Visa, now is the time to contact our office at +61 3 9654 8611 or contact us HERE.

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