The “12 month rule”
When applying for a partner visa based on a de facto relationship, you generally need to be able to prove that you have been living with your partner for a minimum of 12 months.
The 12 month living together requirements also apply to permanent residence visas and student visas, if you want to include your partner in the application as a “member of the family unit” (MOFU).
The exception to the 12 month rule
An exemption applies to this requirement for all of the above visa types if you register your relationship in an Australian state or territory.
You will still need to demonstrate that you are living together in a genuine relationship, though not necessarily for 12 months.
All states and territories, with the exception of Western Australia and the Northern Territory have relationship registers.
The requirements to register a relationship are state or territory specific. The general requirements are as follows:
- Both parties must be 18 years of age or older
- Neither party can be in a married, de facto or registered relationship with another person.
- Must not be related by family
- Heterosexual and same-sex couples can apply.
- At least one person must live in the state or territory where the relationship will be registered.
When relying on a registered relationship to get around the 12 month de facto rule the relationship registration can be provided after the applications is lodged, so long as it is received by the Australian Government before a decision is made on your visa application.
Specific state and territory requirements
New South Wales
Registering your relationship in NSW using the following link:
Main criteria – One of you must live in NSW
Main criteria – One of you must live in Victoria
Main criteria – One of you must live in Queensland
Australian Capital Territory
Main criteria – One of you must live in the ACT.
Main criteria – One of you must live in the South Australia.
Main criteria – Both of you must live in Tasmania.
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