Partner Visa Article

Partner Visa Australia - Is It Best to Get Married?

Do You Need to Get Married for Partner visa Australia?

Is marriage necessary for your visa application?

With my job as an Australian immigration lawyer, I meet many couples with different backgrounds, such as newly formed relationships, established relationships, reunited relationships that have started as friendships, as well as long distance relationships.

Whichever background you have, choosing to settle in Australia is an important part of your decision-making process when it comes to wanting to start a family, starting a career and/or achieving financial goals together. To make all of this happen, a partner visa is a very important first step.

But the question I often get is whether it is necessary to actually marry your Australian sponsor to apply for this visa.

As a general rule, for a partner visa to be granted, you and your sponsoring partner must prove that the relationship is genuine and continuing.

In this article, I’ll provide an answer to this question and some practical tips for your partner visa.

Read on and I’ll explain this in more detail below.

Marriage and Partner Visa

Jay Son – Australian Immigration Lawyer

Jay Son is our Principal Immigration Lawyer and Director of Hummingbird Legal, admitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland and the High Court of Australia. Jay is based in Australia and practises exclusively in Australian immigration law.

Jay is a strong migration advocate and is highly experienced in challenging government decisions in relation to Australian immigration law. He solves difficult migration matters and visa problems including complex partner visas, AAT appeals, visa refusals, visa cancellations, Schedule 3 submissions, health waiver and character concerns.

If you want to learn more about Jay, click here.

#1 – Is Marriage Necessary?

The first question is, do you need to get married for an Australian partner visa?

Whether you are applying for an 820 partner visa (onshore) or 309 partner visa (offshore), the same short answer to this question is No. This is because Australian immigration law doesn’t actually require a couple to get married to apply for this visa.

In Australia, you can apply for a partner visa even if you are not married, as long as you can demonstrate that you are in a de facto relationship with your Australian sponsoring partner. This is often called  ‘De Facto Partner Visa.’

Generally speaking, you are in a de facto relationship if you can demonstrate that you’ve lived together with your partner for at least 12 months unless you have registered your relationship with an eligible territory or state government.

Currently, registering your relationship in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales, Queensland, and the Australian Capital Territory is recognised for immigration purposes.

However, registrations in Western Australia, South Australia, or the Northern Territory are either not available or recognised for immigration purposes.

In addition, as a general rule, you and your sponsoring partner must also demonstrate that the relationship is genuine and continuing.

This means you could apply for this visa on the basis of your de facto relationship, as long as it is genuine and continuing, without the need to get married with your Australian sponsor.



#2 – But is it Easier to Get the Visa if We Get Married?

The main principle of this visa is to demonstrate that your relationship is genuine and continuing, which you can satisfy either if you are married or in a de facto relationship.

The Department will consider four (4) aspects of relationship when they assess this main principle. These four aspects are; (a) financial aspects, (b) social aspects and, (c) the nature of your household, as well as, (d) the nature of your commitment to each other. This is often called ‘four (4) pillars of relationship’.

With that in mind, if you can successfully demonstrate all of the four pillars of relationship as a de facto couple, you should be eligible to apply for your visa which means you may not necessarily need to plan a wedding, especially if the sole reason why you and your Australian sponsor would be getting married is for the sake of supporting your visa application.

In other words, if you cannot fulfil the four aspects of relationship as above, just having a piece of paper to say that you and your Australian sponsor are married isn’t necessarily going to mean that your application will be successful.

The status of your relationship, whether married or de facto, is definitely necessary to establish when applying for a partner visa, but just as important is your relationship itself. You’ll want to be able to show that your relationship does meet the four aspects I spoke about earlier.

Likewise, to answer this question, yes you can get married, but getting married itself does not magically get you the visa. It also doesn’t necessarily improve your partner visa processing time.

If you do decide to get married though, depending on your situation, the circumstances giving rise to your decision to get married with your Australian sponsor may strengthen your visa application in certain ways.

At the end of the day, marriage is a big decision to make and this isn’t a decision you would make lightly.


Contact Us

If you would like to discuss your visa eligibility and you relationship circumstances, feel free to get in touch with us.

We can help you assess your partner visa eligibility and explain how you can demonstrate the 4 aspects of relationship as well as applying for your visa with the most suited relationship status given your and your Australian sponsor’s individual circumstances.

You can call us, email us or send us an enquiry form on our website.

On the other hand, if you want to understand what some of the most common reasons why Partner visas are refused, watch this video.

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