Many states in Australia allow you to “register your de facto relationship” or civil partnership with the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Once the application to register the relationship is approved, a relationship certificate is issued, which is similar in form to a marriage certificate. Registration is open to all couples, whether same sex or heterosexual.

The states that currently allow you to register a de facto relationship are:-

  • New South Wales (NSW);
  • Queensland (QLD);
  • Victoria (VIC);
  • South Australia (SA);
  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
  • Tasmania


Benefits of registering your de facto relationship

To satisfy the de facto relationship requirement, the couple must demonstrate that they have been in a de facto relationship for at least 12 months before the visa application is made.

Registering your relationship is an easy and inexpensive way to formalise your de facto status and formally express your commitment to each other. There are legal benefits as well, including:

  • registering your relationship waives the 12 month relationship requirement when applying for an Australian Visas and may also strengthens your case in general, for example when you don’t have a lot to evidence your long-term commitment. It should be noted it does not substitute the evidence required to establish you have a genuine and ongoing relationship;
  • you can rely on your relationship certificate as proof of your de facto status for other legal purposes or to satisfy government agencies and/or receive tax or superannuation benefits;
  • your relationship will be legally recognised. That means you won’t have to satisfy any other criteria in order to prove that you are in a de facto relationship.


Other ways of proving you are in a de facto relationship

If your relationship is not registered, the legal system in Australia recognises the following criteria as being indicative of a relationship. You don’t have to prove all of these factors exist, rather the relationship as a whole will be considered, particularly:

  • the duration of a relationship;
  • the nature and extent of a common residence;
  • whether or not a sexual relationship exists;
  • the degree of financial dependence or interdependence, and any arrangements for financial support, between the parties;
  • the joint ownership, use and acquisition of property;
  • the degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;
  • the care and support of children;
  • the performance of household duties; and
  • the reputation and public aspects of the relationship.
  • This can be quite an intrusive (and public) ordeal. If you have a registered relationship, you do not need to go to these lengths to prove your relationship, and you should not need any further evidence to prove that the de facto relationship exists.

For Australian visa purposes, a one year de facto relationship requirement must be met by applicants for the following visas who claim to be in a de facto relationship:


How and where to register your relationship 

A relationship can be registered if both parties are:

  • over 18 years of age;
  • not married;
  • not in another registered relationship, or in a relationship as a couple with any other person; and
  • not related by family.

A couple does not have to live together to be eligible to register their relationship, however as a general rule at least one party must reside in the State where the application is being filed.

  • Victoria – Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
  • Tasmania – Births, Deaths and Marriages 

For more information about how to register your relationship, contact the relevant authorities in your State or Territory. For more information about Australian visa requirements feel free to contact the team at Pathway to Aus.


How to Register your Relationship was last modified: September 24th, 2019 by Pathway to Aus