Registering De Facto Relationship for a Partner Visa

Partner visa

To qualify for an Australian Partner Visa, the applicant and sponsor must generally meet one of the following three criteria at the time they submit their visa application:

  1. Be legally married.
  2. Have been in a de facto relationship for at least 12 months. This usually requires having lived together during this time.
  3. Be in a registered de facto relationship.

Because not all applicants are willing to get married and may not have lived with their partner for at least 12 months, registering a relationship may be the only way to successfully submit a valid partner visa application based on their de facto status.

  Click to check your eligibility!

 

What is Registration of a Relationship

Under the laws of most Australian States and Territories, it is possible to register your relationship with the local Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages. The rules and procedures can vary between jurisdictions, with some forms of registration not being accepted for visa purposes.

 

How to Register a Relationship

Under all state and territory laws, registration requires an application process. It is also a universal requirement that both parties be at least 18 years of age and that neither party to the relationship be legally married or in another de facto relationship.

They cannot be related by family, meaning that no party may be a child or descendant of, or share a parent with the other.

When applying, the following documents must be provided.

Required documents include:

  • Identity evidence
  • Evidence that at least one partly lives in the State or Territory of registration
  • Statutory declaration from each parting confirming that they;
    • Consent to the registration.
    • Are not already married or in a registered relationship; and
    • Are not in another relationship capable of registration.
  • Evidence of a party’s single status and/or divorce if previously married.

Below we provide greater insight into the exact procedures for each Australian jurisdiction.

 

New South Wales

New South Wales allows for a “Registered Relationship” to be registered through the New South Wales Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages. Applications may be completed online on their portal, via post or in person.

 

Costs

The costs associated with this application, as of 7 July 2023, are as follows:

  • Registration fee and standard certificate: $223
  • Commemorative certificate: $41
  • Relationship ceremony package: $407

Note that whilst a commemorative certificate is available, only the standard certificate is accepted by the Department of Home Affairs.

 

Timeframe

All applications begin with a 28-day “cooling off” period. During this time the application will generally not be considered. In total, as at the time of writing, a period of around five (5) weeks is required to register a domestic relationship though an online application, and up to 6 weeks for a paper application.

Note that failure to provide all necessary documentation will result in a request for further information and significant delays in the processing of your application.

 

Victoria

In Victoria a “Domestic Relationship” can be registered through Births Deaths and Marriages Victoria. Applications are completed online via their website.

 

Costs

The costs associated with this application, as of 7 July 2023, are as follows:

  • Registration fee: $244.90
  • Legal certificate (required for immigration): $54.40
  • Certificate package (includes legal and commemorative certificate): $88.40
  • Postage
    • Within Australia
      • Legal certificate: $10
      • Commemorative certificate: $1
    • International
      • Legal certificate: $54.10
      • Commemorative certificate: $3.80

Note that whilst a commemorative certificate is available, only the legal certificate is accepted by the Department of Home Affairs.

 

Timeframe

All applications begin with a 28-day “cooling off” period. During this time the application will generally not be considered. In total, as at the time of writing, a period of around five (5) weeks is required to register a domestic relationship.

Note that failure to provide all necessary documentation will result in a request for further information and significant delays in the processing of your application.

 

Queensland

Queensland allows for a “Civil Partnership” to be registered through the Queensland Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages. Applications are completed hardcopy, then submitted either via post or in person at the Registry office. There is no online application portal for this process.

 

Costs

The costs associated with this application, as of 7 July 2023, are as follows:

  • Registration fee: FREE
  • Official civil partnership certificate: $54.40
  • Certificate package (includes legal and commemorative certificate): $70.70
  • Postage fee:
    • Express: $7.45
    • Registered: $5.55
    • International registered: $17.70

Note that whilst a commemorative certificate is available, only the official certificate is accepted by the Department of Home Affairs.

 

Timeframe

All applications begin with a 10-day “cooling off” period. During this time the application will generally not be considered. Queensland does not publish projected processing times for registration applications.

Note that failure to provide all necessary documentation will result in a request for further information and significant delays in the processing of your application.

 

Western Australia

Western Australia relationship registration, although available, is not acceptable for migration purposes.

 

South Australia

South Australia allows for “Registered Relationships.” This registration process is performed by online application through South Australia’s Consumer and Business Services.

Costs

The costs associated with this application, as of 7 July 2023, are as follows:

  • Registration fee: $134
  • Standard relationship certificate: $60.50
  • Commemorative certificate and standard relationship certificate package: $85.50

Note that whilst a commemorative certificate is available, only the standard certificate is accepted by the Department of Home Affairs.

 

Timeframe

All applications begin with a 28-day “cooling off” period. During this time the application will generally not be considered. Applications currently take approximately two (2) months to be processed.

Note that failure to provide all necessary documentation will result in a request for further information and significant delays in the processing of your application.

 

Tasmania

Tasmania permits registration of a “Significant Relationship.” This is done via hardcopy application via post or in-person submission to a Service Tasmania service centre.

Costs

The costs associated with this application, as of 7 July 2023, are as follows:

  • Registration fee: $221.28
  • Standard certificate: $61.08

Registration must be completed first, followed by an application for a standard certificate.

 

Timeframe

All applications begin with a 28-day “cooling off” period. During this time the application will generally not be considered. Tasmania does not publish projected processing times. Once the relationship is registered, a further two (2) weeks may be required in order for a standard certificate to be issued.

Note that failure to provide all necessary documentation will result in a request for further information and significant delays in the processing of your application.

 

Australian Capital Territory (Canberra)

The ACT allows registration of “Domestic Relationships” by application to Access Canberra. This application incudes a hard copy form which must be physically signed by both parties and may be submitted by mail or in person at one of four (4) Access Canberra service centers.

 

Costs

The costs associated with this application, as of 7 July 2023, are as follows:

  • Registration fee: FREE, however you must pay for a certificate when applying.
  • Official civil partnership certificate: $70
  • Commemorative certificate: $80

Note that whilst a commemorative certificate is available, only the official certificate is accepted by the Department of Home Affairs.

 

Norther Territory

Norther Territory law does not permit registration of domestic relationships.

 

Next Steps

Registering a relationship is only the first step towards an Australian Partner Visa application. You must still prove that your relationship is both “Genuine and Continuing” and meets the definition of “de facto relationship” under the Australian Migration Law. De facto registration on its own is not enough to support a De Facto Visa application.

 

Partner Visa Eligibility Check

Conduct a preliminary assessment of your eligibility to apply for an Australian Partner Visa by clicking on this link. Once you have completed and submitted the preliminary assessment, one of our lawyers may contact you to provide guidance every step of the way.

 

Given the cost of the Australian De Facto Visa, being approximately $8,850, it is critical to have your matter handled correctly. Contact an accredited and experienced Australian Migration Lawyer to receive advise from a Partner Visa Specialist.


Visa Plan is a firm of Australian migration lawyers who place their utmost focus on client satisfaction and providing top quality service. Visa Plan was founded with a mission to set a new standard for integrity and quality of service in the Australian migration industry. By focusing on the client experience, our team of dedicated, skilled and empathetic lawyers pride ourselves on treating each matter with the care and dedication they deserve. A law firm lives and dies by its reputation, as so do we.

You may check the credentials of our lawyers on this page.

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