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Relationships Recognised by DIAC for the Purposes of a Visa Application

The contents of this article are correct as at 20 September 2010.

This article provides a short summary of the types of relationships that are recognized by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) for many visa purposes, especially permanent visas.

The types of relationships that DIAC recognises include:

1.   Marriage – A marriage will generally be recognised if (a) it took place in Australia or (b) if it took place overseas and was valid in that country. Exceptions to this include marriages without real consent, underage marriages, polygamous marriages, marriages between family members and same-sex marriages.

2.   De facto relationship that has been in existence for at least 12 months – A defacto relationship that has been ongoing for more than 12 months is one where the couple (whether same sex or opposite sex) is able to provide evidence that:

  • they have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others, and
  • the relationship between them is genuine and continuing, and
  • they have been living together.

3.   De facto relationship that has been in existence for less than 12 months – a defacto relationship that has been ongoing for less than 12 months may be recognised in exceptional circumstances. Such circumstances may include where there is a dependent child of the relationship, or the couple has spent the previous 12 months in a country where the relationship was illegal.

4.   Relationships that have been registered – A registered relationship is one in which the couple (whether same sex or opposite sex) has registered their relationship in the State or Territory relationship registers of NSW, Victoria, Tasmania or the Australian Capital Territory.

Please note that for some visa types (eg, temporary visas such as subclass 457), a de facto partner applying as a secondary applicant may be eligible even if their relationship has lasted for less than 12 months.

Generally speaking, DIAC recognises the above relationships in the following contexts:

  • Non-Australian partners who are applying for a spouse/partner visa (subclass 820/801 or 309/100) on the basis of their relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
  • Non-Australians who wish to accompany their non-Australian partner, who is the main visa applicant, to Australia as a secondary applicant.

If you have any questions concerning this article please click this link to contact Visa Lawyers Australia.