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Should we register our relationship, or not?

Couples, who are applying for a visa on de facto grounds, often ask themselves if they should register their relationship with the relevant state authority, or not.

What is ‘relationship registration’?

Relationship registration, or entering a civil partnership, is available for all adult couples, regardless of their sex.

Relationship registration is currently available only in the following states and territories in Australia:

- Australian Capital Territory;

- New South Wales;

- Queensland;

- South Australia (as of 1 August 2017);

- Tasmania; and

- Victoria.

The common requirements for registering a relationship in each state are as follows:

- both of you must be at least 18 years of age;

- neither of you can be in a relationship as a couple with another person (e.g. married, de facto or in another registered relationship); and

- you cannot be in a prohibited relationship with your nominated partner (e.g. you cannot be related by family); and

- either one of you (ACT, NSW, QLD and SA) or both of you (VIC and TAS) must reside in the relevant state you wish to register your relationship.

After successful registration, you will be provided with a Relationship Registration Certificate, which is legal proof of your relationship.

Benefits of registering your relationship for visa application purposes

If you are applying for a visa on de facto grounds, you must be able to demonstrate that you have been in a de facto relationship with you partner for at least twelve (12) months prior to applying for the visa. However, the one-year relationship requirement does not apply if you have registered your relationship under a law of a state or territory prescribed in the Acts Interpretation (Registered Relationships) Regulations 2008 as a kind of relationship prescribed in those regulations.

Please be aware that you will still be required to provide sufficient evidence that you are in a de facto relationship with your partner. This means that you must be able to show that you:

- are not married to each other;

- have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others;

- are in a genuine and continuing relationship;

- live together or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis; and

- are not related by family.

It is important to know that registering a relationship will have legal consequences on you and your partner. The information here does not constitute legal advice. If you would like advice about the implications of registering your relationship, please contact us.

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