Registering a relationship changes in Victoria makes it easier for everyone


Registering a relationship is the primary method for de-facto couples to prove that they’re in a genuine relationship for Australian partner visa purposes. De-facto couples by definition are couples that are not married and by registering a relationship, de-facto couples enjoy many of the rights, benefits and protections as married couples; but without the label. This is particularly useful for same-sex couples as Australia currently does not recognise same-sex marriages.

Currently there are only a handful of jurisdictions that allow registering relationships for immigration purposes. Victoria is one of them and I’m delighted to know that Victoria has now made it easier for de-facto couples to register their relationship.

The changes are 3 folds:

  1. Only one person needs to be living in Victoria
  2. Only 3 months of residence in Victoria needs to be shown
  3. Recognition of formalised relationships from other jurisdictions

Before, both partners need to be living in Victoria in order to register a relationship. This made it extremely hard for interstate couples or couples that are in a long distance relationship. In fact, it forced a lot of couples to settle in Victoria in order to register their relationship. But from 1 July 2016 onwards, only one person of the relationship needs to be living in Victoria.

In addition to that, under the old rules, not only do both partners have to live in Victoria, they also need to have lived in Victoria for 12 months before they can register their relationship. As you might know, aside from the benefits of allowing same-sex couples or de-facto couples to prove their relationship, registering a relationship is also a very common method to overcome the 12 month living together rule. Under the old rules, registering a relationship in Victoria didn’t carry the benefit of overcoming the 12 month living together rule. However, from 1 July 2016 onwards couples need only to have lived in Victoria for 3 months before registering a relationship. That means, people who moved to Victoria do not need to wait 12 months anymore and can register a relationship after 3 months. This means that partners can now apply for the partner visa with a registered relationship!

The other important change is that Victoria, for the purposes of registering a relationship, will recognise formalised relationships of (some) jurisdictions that have a category of ‘registered domestic relationships’ such as Hawaii, California, UK, Netherlands, Canada etc.

This is a great development for de-facto relationships, particularly those based in Victoria and I welcome the changes.

One thing to note though, registering a relationship is not a sure fire way to get an Australian partner visa. You must also satisfy the other requirements and eligibility criteria of a partner visa.

Read more here: Recognition of domestic relationships in Victoria


Australian partner visa guides download 2019