De- facto relationships are governed by state legislation and the registration and eligibility criteria is different in each Australian state/territory. However, The Australian Federal Government defines a de-facto relationship under Section 4AA of the Family Law Act 1975.
According to the Australian Government de-facto means “you and your partner, who may be of the same or opposite sex, have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.” However, your relationship is not a de facto relationship if you were legally married to one another or if you are related by family.
De-facto relationships are recognised by DOHA for partner visa applications.
When determining a relationship is genuine the department of home affairs (DOHA) and immigration will assess validity via the following categories that must be shown throughout the entire relationship and not just at date of application:
Financial: Proof of joint assets (real-estate or other relevant assets) and joint financial responsibility
Social: Third party knowledge of the relationship can be demonstrated
Household: Recognised shared household responsibilities
Nature of commitment: You can demonstrate lifelong commitment to only each other and to the exclusion of all others
As well as the department requires a personal statement that includes:
Qld state government definition
“A civil partnership is a legally recognised committed relationship that may be entered into by 2 eligible adults, regardless of their sex.” (QLD Government, 2016 on the Civil Partnerships ACT, 2011)
You must provide 3 forms of current ID:
|Home address evidence
(you only need to provide the page containing your name and home address details)
|Home address – Evidence of QLD residency||At least one person in the relationship must be able to provide evidence that they have lived in Queensland for the past 12 months
such as a letter written on letterhead, dated, and signed by your:
This letter should state how long you have lived in Queensland and how long the person or organisation has known you.
(Qld government, 2022)
NSW state government definition:
“A de facto relationship is when you and your partner have a relationship and live together as a couple but are not married.” (NSW government, 2021)
The ‘NSW relationship register’ provides legal recognition for adults in a relationship. If you are in a legally registered de facto relationship, in NSW your rights will often be the same as if you were married.
Each partner will need to provide
You will also need a current credit card for payment.
To register a relationship in New South Whales, you will need to apply online via Service NSW
If you’re not able to apply online:
NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages
GPO Box 30
Sydney, NSW 2001
You will each need to provide one document from each category
If you cannot provide a POI document from category 1, you’ll need to provide at least one document from Category 2 and 2 documents from Category 3.
|Category 1||If you cannot provide a POI document from category 1, you’ll need to provide at least one document from Category 2 and 2 documents from Category 3|
|– Australian birth certificate
– Australian citizenship certificate
– New Zealand citizenship certificate
– New Zealand birth certificate
– Certificate of Registration by Descent
The partner who lives in NSW, will also need to provide a document confirming your residential address if none of the POI documents used shows your address.
Examples of documents could include, but are not limited to:
Authorised witnesses include:
Victoria’s state government definition
“A de facto relationship is when two people are not married but live together or have lived together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis. A family law court can make decisions if there is no agreement.” (State of Victoria, 2022)
You can register a relationship in Victoria if you:
To register a relationship in Victoria, you will need to apply online via Births, Deaths and Marriages
ACT state government definition
“A civil partnership provides a way for couples to formally register certain domestic relationships, such as de facto relationships. Civil partnerships can be entered into by opposite sex and same sex couples. Civil partnerships are registered under the Domestic Relationships Act 1994 (ACT) and are taken to be in a domestic partnership for all purposes under ACT law. Civil partnerships allow couples to declare their relationship for the purpose of obtaining or exercising rights under Territory laws, without marrying or entering a civil union.” (Australian Capital Territory Government, 2022)
A person may only enter a civil relationship if
SA state government definition
In South Australia, registering your relationship with Consumer and Business Services (CBS) means that your relationship is legally recognised.
You cannot register your relationship if either partner is
You aren’t required to have a ceremony when you register your relationship. However, relationship ceremonies can be held at ‘Chesser house’ and performed by registry staff. If you would like to have a ceremony, ensure you nominate a preferred date in your application
Evidence of date and place of birth
|– Australian or overseas birth certificate
– Australian or overseas passport
Link between photo and signature
|– Australian or overseas driver’s licence
– Australian or overseas passport
– Australian firearms licence
– Photo card issued by a government agency
Evidence of operation in the community
|– Medicare card
– Private health care card
– Credit/debit card or ATM card
– Centrelink card
– Australian Department of Veterans’ Affairs card
– Australian security guard licence or crowd control licence
– School or tertiary identity card
– Australian Citizenship Certificate
– Visa status from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection
The partner who lives in SA, will also need to provide a document confirming your residential address if none of the POI documents used shows your address.
For visa purposes contact the Department of Home Affairs (Australian Government) to find out if registering your relationship can support your visa application.
Tasmanian state government definition
“A significant relationship is a legally recognised relationship between two adults.” (Tasmania Government, 2022)
In Tasmania your significant relationship does not have to be registered to be recognised. However, when dealing with government agencies or in an emergency a certificate to prove that your relationship exists may be necessary.
You and your partner can register a ‘significant relationship’ in Tasmania if:
You aren’t required to have a ceremony when you register your relationship. However, you can have a ceremony to formally recognise and celebrate your relationship. If you would like to have your relationship registered on the date of your ceremony, you can let Tasmania’s Births, Deaths and Marriages know the date of your ceremony and if the date chosen is at least 28 days after you lodged your application then your relationship can be registered on the ceremony date.
You can apply for a special certificate for your ceremony and the following information is completed on the day of the ceremony:
You must supply at least 3 forms of current identity. At least one document must contain your current address.
|Category 1||– An Australian birth certificates
– Citizenship certificate
– New Zealand citizenship certificate together with passport
– New Zealand birth certificate
|Category 2||– Australian driver’s licence
– Australian passport
– Firearms licence
– Foreign passport
– Proof of age card
|Category 3||– Medicare card
– Australian marriage certificate (issued from BDM office)
– Centrelink or Department of Veteran Affairs card
– Security/Crowd control licence
– Tertiary education institution ID card
– Credit Card/bank statement
– Recent utility account with current residential address (issued within last 3 months)
– Lease or rent agreement with current address
– Australian Taxation Office assessment with current address
In western Australia, you can register a de-facto relationship. However, it is not recognised for migration purposes.
Relationship registration is not available in the Northern Territory
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