Summary of Terms


A partner of a principal applicant is someone who is legally married to, or in a civil union or de facto relationship with, the applicant.  


The partnership can be between people of the opposite or same sex. The partnership must be genuine and stable. 


We recognise partnerships where both partners:

  • are aged 18 or over (or have parental/guardian or other consent if aged 16 or 17 years)
  • met each other before any residence application was submitted
  • aren’t close relatives.


A partner will only be granted residence if both people in the partnership have been living together for at least 12 months.


Civil union

A civil union is a legally recognised union of a couple of the same or opposite sex, with rights similar to those of marriage.


De facto relationship

A de facto relationship is partnership that has not been legally recognised as a marriage or a civil union.  If you consider yourself to be in a de facto relationship please ensure you and your partner meet the requirements for recognition of partnerships as stated above.