There is no one size fits all.

If you are considering applying for a partner visa, in addition to ensuring that you meet all requirements for grant of the visa, it is very important that you provide documentary evidence to demonstrate that you meet these requirements. If you fail to provide this documentation, your application may be refused. Immigration has no obligation to follow up with you to request evidence that has not been provided and it is therefore always advisable to provide a complete and decision-ready application at time of lodgement.

It is thus important to ensure that you are fully aware of what you need to provide with your application thereby giving yourself the best chance of a successful outcome.

In this article, we discuss the types of evidence that you can provide to cover each of the key aspects of your relationship as per visa grant requirements. As each relationship is different, the type of evidence that you supply will depend on your individual circumstances.  You may find that you can provide other forms of evidence not mentioned here. What is important is that you adequately address each of these aspects as best you can, and if you are unable to do so, provide appropriate explanations/evidence to address the shortfall.

The primary aim in providing evidence is to demonstrate that you meet the definition of a spouse or de-facto relationship, depending on your circumstances, as follows:

If you are married

  • Your marriage is legally valid;
  • You have a mutual commitment to a shared life as a married couple to the exclusion of all others;
  • Your relationship is genuine and continuing; and
  • You either live together, or you do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis.

If you are in a de-facto relationship

  • You have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others;
  • Your relationship is genuine and continuing; and
  • You either live together, or you do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis.

Note additional evidentiary requirements apply to a de-facto relationship governing the length of the relationship. You must provide evidence to demonstrate that you satisfy one of the following requirements:

  1. You have been in a de-facto relationship for at least 12 months;
  2. Your relationship is registered with an Australian State or Territory Government; or
  3. Compelling and compassionate reasons for applying for the visa before the minimum 12-month length of relationship requirement has been met.

If you register your de-facto relationship, then you are not required to provide evidence covering the 12-month relationship period. But be aware that if your de-facto relationship is for a duration of less than 12 months at time of lodgement, or if you supply evidence that covers less than this period, your application will undergo greater scrutiny by Immigration. It is therefore highly recommended that you provide as much evidence as possible with your application.

Types of evidence

Written Statements

You and your partner should each provide a written statement or Statutory Declaration about your relationship which should cover the following:

  • How, when and where you first met;
  • How your relationship developed;
  • When you became engaged and decided to marry, or start a de facto relationship;
  • A description of your domestic life together (i.e. how you support each other financially, physically and emotionally);
  • Joint activities that you engage in with your partner/spouse;
  • Significant events in your relationship;
  • A description of any periods in which you were separated (i.e. when/why this occurred and how you maintained your relationship during that time);
  • Your plans for your future life together.

Your statements should be signed and dated or declared before an authorised witness (e.g. a Justice of the Peace) if in the form of a Statutory Declaration.

Financial aspects of your relationship

Evidence to demonstrate joint ownership of real estate/other major assets, and joint responsibility for financial liabilities, such as:

  • Joint purchase and/or loan agreements for property, motor vehicle, major household appliances and any other assets you have purchased together
  • Joint bank account statements, evidencing active use of the account for a reasonable period before lodgement of your application
  • Combining your funds together for a major financial commitment, e.g. to purchase assets noted above
  • Assuming financial obligations on behalf of one another, evidenced by one partner becoming a guarantor for a loan, or power of attorney, for the other partner
  • Payment/receipts for daily household expenses to evidence that these are shared, e.g. via bank statement transactions and/or payment receipts
  • Household bills/accounts in joint names

Nature of your household

Evidence to demonstrate shared household responsibilities, such as:

  • residential property purchase documents to show joint ownership
  • joint lease agreement
  • joint rent payment receipts and/or evidence of shared rental payments via bank account
  • joint utilities accounts and any other household bills, for example, electricity, gas, telephone, internet, etc.
  • postal correspondence addressed to each partner (either jointly or separately) at the same address
  • shared responsibility for care/support of children
  • shared housework responsibilities, e.g. via a joint written statement explaining the division of household chores

Social aspects of your relationship

Evidence to demonstrate that your relationship is known to third parties, for example:

  • written statements and/or statutory declarations from family, friends, colleagues, etc. who are known to you both
  • documents evidencing that you have declared your relationship to an institution or authority, e.g. government body, commercial or public institution and confirmation of acceptance
  • joint memberships/subscriptions for groups/organisations
  • joint participation in activities, e.g. sporting, cultural, social, etc.
  • joint travel undertaken, evidenced by flight/accommodation bookings, travel itineraries, payment receipts/tickets for joint activities on your travels, photos taken
  • joint written statement outlining your travel plans for the future
  • social media posts where you have publicly declared your relationship, e.g. Facebook, Instagram, etc.
  • joint invitations and greeting cards received from third parties, and personal letters/cards/emails/messages/etc. exchanged between you and your partner
  • Evidence of attending social events together, e.g. tickets/bookings/photos
  • Common friends, which can be explained in your written statements, and those provided by third parties. You can also provide photos taken together with your friends/acquaintances

Your application must also include at least two Form 888’s, which are statutory declarations provided by supporting witnesses attesting that your relationship is genuine.

Nature of your commitment

Evidence to demonstrate your intention to be in a committed, long-term and exclusive spouse or de-facto relationship, based on:

  • the duration of your relationship
  • the length of time that you have lived together
  • extent of companionship and emotional support that you provide to one another
  • whether you view your relationship as being for the long-term, e.g. documents that show you have combined your personal matters, and the terms of your wills and superannuation accounts (via declared beneficiaries)
  • your knowledge of each other’s personal circumstances, e.g. about your background and family – this can be explained in your written statements, and in an interview with Immigration (if requested)
  • evidence that you have maintained contact whilst apart, e.g. letters, emails, electronic messages and phone bills/Skype call logs/transcripts

Additional evidence required

If you are married, you must supply your Marriage Certificate.

If your relationship is registered with an Australian State or Territory Government, you must supply the Relationship Registration Certificate.

 

As noted, the above evidence examples are not exhaustive and will depend on your individual circumstances. Where you are unable to provide adequate evidence to cover each aspect of your relationship, you could explain this in a written statement.

Further, we note that although you can add evidence to your application after lodgement, be aware that you risk a visa refusal within days of lodging your application if you do not provide sufficient evidence at time of lodgement. To avoid an expensive refusal, make sure you lodge sufficient documentation at lodgement.

In conclusion, given the highly complex nature of the migration laws, and the fact that every individual case is different, we recommend that you engage a registered migration agent to make sure your case is presented with the strongest possible evidence to give you the best chance of visa grant and avoiding delays.