In most cases, to apply for a type of partner visa, you must either be married to your spouse or be able to demonstrate that you have lived together (or not lived separately on a permanent basis) for 12 months. However, Regulation 2.03A(5) indicates that this does not need to be the case if the relationship is registered under a law of an Australian State or Territory government.
The states and territories that enable registration of relationships to take place are New South Wales, Queensland, the ACT, Tasmania, South Australia, and Victoria.
Criteria for Registration
The criteria that must be met in order for a couple to register their relationship are:
- The couple must both be over the age of 18;
- Neither person is married to each other;
- At least one of the individuals in the relationship provides personal and financial support of a domestic nature to the other; and
- At least one of the individuals in the relationship must live in the state or territory in question, and have been living there continuously for a period of at least 3 monthsIf a relationship has been registered in another Australian state or territory – or even overseas, in certain jurisdictions – it is taken to be formalised for the purposes of the state or territory in which one of the individuals (typically the sponsor) usually resides.
A relationship can be registered irrespective of the individuals’ gender and also whether or not they are living together. This enables same-sex couples, as well as couples who do not live together for religious, cultural, or simply visa restriction-related reasons to have their relationship recognised as being registered under law.
The Registration Process
Both individuals will need to take part in the registration process. Typically, the first partner will complete their part of the application, then the relevant Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages will contact the other partner via email, who will then complete their part. This is to ensure that consent is deemed as received by both parties, similar to the process involved for a Notice of Intended Marriage.
Both parties will also need to provide proof of their identity, such as their driver licence (as long as it shows their current address) and passport, or their driver licence, Medicare card and bank card. If the documents are sent via post, they must be certified by a prescribed person. The prescribed persons for this purpose are not the same as those that can witness Statutory Declarations – they only include a sworn member of the police, a Justice of the Peace, or a Justice Service Centre.
At least one member of the couple will also need to provide evidence that they live in the relevant state or territory, such as a bank statement demonstrating recent transactions taking place in that state or territory.
Relationship Registration and your Partner Visa
While there is no requirement in the Regulations for the relationship to have been registered prior to the date of application for the visa – meaning that it is not required until just before a decision is made on the application – it is always a good idea to register your relationship as soon as practicable.
If you require assistance registering your relationship, or applying for your partner visa, please do not hesitate to contact our office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 1300 083 843.