Our Facebook follower sent this question.

“I am currently in Australia on a Tourist Visa and in de facto relationship with an Australian citizen  for nearly 4 months now. We were planning to apply for partner visa after we complied with the 12 months of being in de facto relationship but we discovered that I am pregnant. We need to apply for Partner Visa as soon as possible in order to get Medicare cover for my pregnancy. How can I get exemption from the twelve months of being in de facto relationship?”


For migration purposes, the term ‘de facto relationship’ is defined in the Migration Act 1958 which includes both opposite sex and same sex relationships. Under section 5CB of the Migration Act, two persons are in a de facto relationship if:

  • they have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others,
  • the relationship between them is genuine and continuing,
  • they live together or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis, and
  • they are not related by family.

In addition, Reg 1.09A describes the matters to be considered in determining whether 2 persons are in a de facto relationship, while Reg 2.03A prescribes that both parties to a de facto relationship must be at least 18 years of age and, unless there are compelling and compassionate circumstances. It is also required that the de facto relationship must have existed for at least 12 months for it to be recognized for migration purposes.

There are exemptions available for this 12 months of de facto relationship:

1) If there are compelling and compassionate circumstances for the grant of the visa. Example of this is if there is a child of the relationship or if the laws in the applicant’s country probihits living together as de facto partners.
2) The relationship is registered under a law of a state or territory prescribed in the Acts Interpretation (Registered Relationships) Regulations 2008 as a kind of relationship prescribed in those regulations. In Australia, Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory allows de facto relationship registration. Unfortunately, other states do not allow registration.
3) Their partner is, or was the holder of a permanent humanitarian visa and, before the humanitarian visa was granted, was in a de facto relationship with the applicant that was declared to the Department at the time of application
4) Their partner is an applicant for a permanent humanitarian visa.

Hope this helps.

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The author is a MARA (Australia) Registered Migration Agent (1386887) and an IAA (New Zealand) Full Licensed Immigration Adviser (201501814).


All information on this page is general information only and is an overview of areas of interest. All information is provided by us in ‘good faith’ and is on an ‘as is’ basis and is not intended nor does it constitute legal advice. You may book for an appointment with us to obtain professional advice appropriate for your circumstances before taking any actions based on any information on this page.