How can I prove that I’m in a “De Facto Relationship” with my Australian partner?

Happy couple cuddling

What is a ‘de facto relationship’

A ‘de facto relationship’ is a genuine relationship between two people who are not married but have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others and who live together or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis. You can apply for a partner visa on the basis of being in a ‘de facto relationship’ with an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

What are the requirements?

Generally, for a partner visa, you must be able to demonstrate that you have lived (or cohabited) with your partner for at least 12 months. You will need documents showing the different aspects of your relationship and that you and your partner hold yourself out to others as being in an exclusive, committed relationship.

What if I haven’t lived with my partner for 12 months?

There are some specific exemptions to the 12 month cohabitation requirement. You may be able to meet the requirements for a de facto relationship if:

·       You and your de facto partner have a dependent child together

·       You have registered your relationship on one of the State/Territory’s relationship registers (all States and Territories except Western Australia)

·       You cannot live together for religious reasons

·       The law of your country does not allow you to live together

However, in these situations, you will still need to demonstrate that you meet the other requirements for a ‘de facto relationship’.

What sort of documents do I need?

There is no exhaustive list of documents that will work for every partner visa application: all relationships are different, and the evidence that you can provide will reflect that. You will need to provide documents that show the Department the different aspects of your relationship (e.g. financial, social, etc) and how your lives are entangled together. It is important to explain the history of your relationship and have friends or family members providing statements of support. Property ownership documents, leases, bills and letters are some of the documents you can provide to show that you and your partner are living at the same address.

What if we have spent time apart?

You do not necessarily need to have spent 12 months consecutively in order to meet the 12 month requirement. You can have spent 12 months cumulatively as long as you have not been separated or living apart on a permanent basis. A common example if where a couple moves from one country to another and one of the partners is delayed due to work, children or visa restrictions. ‘Fly-in, Fly-out’ (Fifo) workers are a little bit different as they have a structured, regular roster and the separation is on a temporary basis.

Can I be in a de facto relationship while married to another person?

Yes, you can. In most countries, you cannot obtain a divorce unless there has been a period of separation. In this situation, it is essential to show that you are separated from your current spouse and your relationship with your de facto partner is exclusive.


Please send your email to or call +61 8 9429 8860 if you are considering applying for a Partner Visa.

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