If you are not married, meeting the one year De Facto relationship requirement is extremely important for the grant of your Partner visa or commonly know as De Facto visa application.
If you are planning to lodge a partner visa as a “de facto relationship” you must demonstrate your de facto relationship existed for at least 12 months when the application is made.
What is a De Facto Relationship in the Australian Migration Law?
For Australian Migration Law purpose, you are in a de facto relationship with your partner if you are:
- Not married
- You and your partner have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others
- You and your partner are in a genuine and continuing relationship
- You and your partner are not related by family
- If you and your partner have to be separated for whatever reason, the separation is only temporary.
The One-Year De Facto Relationship Requirement
The one-year de facto relationship requirement does not mean a couple must live together every day for the entire 12 months period.
The Department understands and recognizes that sometimes couple may have to live apart due to reasons such as work or family commitment. Of course, the separation must be temporary only, and not be on a permanent basis.
For the times that you are temporarily separated, it is extremely important that you justify why you are living separately and you must maintain communication with your partner while apart. This is crucial as they are evidence to satisfy the 12 months of being in de facto relationship.
Crucial Evidence to Prove One-Year De Facto Relationship
As a de facto couple, you and your partner must show a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others that is genuine and continuing.
So, what are the crucial evidence you can use to prove your one-year de facto relationship?
Where Your Relationship Began
One crucial evidence is telling the department the history to your relationship. Your relationship history should be provided through a signed relationship statement.
The relationship statement should cover things such as:
- How, when and where you first met
- How your relationship developed
- How committed you are to each other when it comes to emotional support, physical support and financial support
- If you were ever separated, how you kept close contact
In addition to the relationship statement, you must also provide evidence to satisfy the 4 criteria of the Partner visa, which we call the 4-Pillars.
1. The Financial Aspects of Your Relationship
The Financial Aspect of your relationship is an important aspect that you must satisfy. You need to prove to the department that you and your partner are sharing expenses and financial responsibilities as a couple.
The most common way that couples prove the financial aspects of their de facto relationship is through a joint bank account. However, just providing an opened joint bank account is not enough and many couples have a misconception about this. You should only provide proof of your bank account if you use it on a regular basis. Showing just an empty joint account with no transaction could have a negative impact on your application. You want to show the department that you are sharing and contributing to whatever expenses that you have together and one way to show this is to have continuous transactions.
Tip: Make sure you highlight your transactions on your bank statements. As you can imagine a bank statement can be very lengthy and confusing, highlighting your transactions that are relevant to rent and other joint expenses make it easier for the case officer to assess your application, which could be an advantage to your application.
Another common example is a joint lease. This is another great way to prove that you and your partner have financial responsibilities as a couple. Ideally, you can have rent paid or deducted through your joint account.
Other ways to prove you have joint financial responsibilities are, for example:
- joint liabilities such as a bank loan
- joint utility bills e.g. internet or electricity bill
- car purchased together
- joint insurance e.g. private health insurance or car insurance
2. The Nature of Your Household
It can sometimes be difficult to prove the nature of your household in the form of hard evidence as this corresponds majorly on the shared responsibilities you carry out around the house. These responsibilities can be outlined in your relationship statement.
Hard evidence that you can use to show the nature of your household can be things such as:
- joint household bills,
- receipts of furniture you both had purchased together
- mail addressed to you both to the same address
3. The Social Context of Your De Facto Relationship
For most couples, the social context of the relationship is probably the easiest aspect to demonstrate your de facto relationship for the Partner visa. Evidence of this can be things such as:
- Photos of you as a couple, as well as with friends and family,
- travel documents such as flight tickets or accommodation bookings if you’ve traveled together,
- socials activities with common friends and family,
- evidence that you and your partner are socially known as a couple through social media or joint invitations
- evidence that you are participating in sports, social or cultural activities together as a couple
4. Your Commitment to Each Other
The department wants to see that you and your de facto partner have the intention to have a long-term relationship. This can be shown by putting each other on your wills, planning to build a family together or it may be that you are saving up to purchase a house together in the future.
You and your partner can also demonstrate the degree of your companionship and emotional support that you have for each other. This can mean you are aware of each other’s personal circumstances, you are each other’s crying shoulder when times are tough, and you are maintaining contact during any period of separation.
Unless you have hard evidence to provide, the majority of these points can be mentioned in your relationship statement.
Are there exemptions for the one-year relationship requirement?
If you do not quite meet the 12 months de facto relationship as you have only just moved in together, there are ways to waive this requirement.
You can demonstrate the following to waive the one-year de facto relationship requirement:
- Register your relationship with a participating state or territory. Currently, the states & territories that have laws in place allowing a relationship to be registered in New South Wales, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, Victoria, and South Australia.
- There are compelling and compassionate circumstances for the grant of the visa, for example, there is a child in the relationship.
- Your partner is or was the holder of a permanent humanitarian visa and, before the visa was granted, was in a de facto relationship with you and it was declared to the department.
- Your partner is an applicant for a permanent humanitarian visa.
Please note that by waiving this requirement, you will still need to satisfy the Partner visa requirements for the visa to be granted.
Important to note: Always remember that all evidence that you are providing to satisfy the 4-pillars of the Partner visa must be consistent with your Relationship Statement.
What if I don’t have enough evidence?
You should always provide as much evidence as you can to support your Partner visa application. However, not every couple are the same. Some may have hundreds of photos and others may only have a few, or some may have less financial evidence.
If you do not have enough hard evidence, e.g. financial proof, when you lodge your application, explain how you support each other financially in your relationship statement! That’s what it’s for!
This does not mean you don’t provide anything at all later on. You should use the processing time to build more evidence about your de facto relationship and update your application through the processing period.
How Can We Help
We can help guide you through the entire Partner visa application process and help you prepare all documents involved, ensuring that documents meet requirements before we lodge your application. We can represent you from start and until a decision is made on your application.
You can book a consultation with our Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents at Agape Henry Crux (previously known as Crux Migration). We will assess your eligibility and tailor your partner visa application in accordance with your relationship circumstances.