Evidencing Your Relationship – Spouse or De-facto Partner Visa


Applying for an Australian spouse or de-facto visa, through either the onshore 820/801 visa or offshore 309/100 visa? One common question that we receive is in relation to the evidence that you need to provide.

There is quite a bit of information available on the internet in relation to what type of evidence that you should be submitting with your application. The Department’s website and booklet provide good some guidance.

Not all forms of evidence are born equal. Your case officer will place more weight on some forms of evidence relative to others. In this post, we will outline relative strength of different forms of evidence. Now please note that this information doesn’t come from any official source. The below advice is very much my own opinion and is based on my own experience.

Strong evidence

Documents that show joint assets, liabilities, undertakings, bequests etc. Examples include:

  1. Joint bank accounts
  2. Jointly owned assets such as real estate
  3. Joint liabilities such as mortgages
  4. Any joint undertakings such as a joint lease
  5. Naming each other as beneficiaries under your respective wills or insurance policies

This type of evidence is strong because it can be relevant to multiple factors which your case officer needs to consider. These documents usually state both your name and your sponsoring partner’s name, your address and a date. Consequently, these documents can evidence your co-habitation as well as the duration of your relationship.

More importantly, it also evidences a particular form of commitment that you and your partner have made together, such as jointly incurring a loan or mortgage, or ensuring that your assets are left to each other under your wills.

Your case officer is required to consider the nature of your commitment to each other. And you will see from Regulation 1.09A that to properly address and evidence this consideration, you are expected to provide documents that demonstrate various forms of joint commitments that you have made.

Furthermore, the very definition of a de-facto relationship confirms that you and your partner need to have a ‘mutual commitment to a shared life (to the exclusion of all others)’. This definition clearly implies that de-facto partners are expected to share various aspects of their lives with each other, including finances, liabilities, assets and contractual obligations.

Child or children from the relationship

Demonstrating that you and your partner are jointly responsibility for the care and support of your child or children will likely be seen as strong evidence of your relationship. Ideally, your child or children should be under the legal custody of yourself and your partner. However, even if the child or children is under the legal custody of just your or your partner, joint care and responsibility for the child or children can still used as evidence of your relationship.

Relevant evidence can include (although you may need to submit this evidence as part of the application anyway, particularly if the child or children are actually included as dependent applicants):

  • Full unabridged birth certificates
  • Evidence of school attendance such as bills, report cards etc.
  • Evidence of the child’s or children’s cost of living, such as receipt for clothing, membership with sporting club etc.

Good evidence

Documents generated by third parties that are addressed to you and your partner (these documents can be addressed to one of you only, although documents that are addressed to both you and your partner are stronger in terms of evidencing your relationship). Examples include:

  1. Bank statements
  2. Bills, invoices, receipts etc.
  3. Letters, invitations
  4. Flight tickets or receipts evidencing your joint holidays or travels

These documents show that you and your partner live together,and also evidence how long you have been living together. In my view, there is a difference between documents that are addressed to you both, and documents that are only addressed to one of you. Again, the relevant consideration is whether your documents demonstrate that you are committed to each other, and that you have a shared life.

I have seen case officers take the view that just providing documents that are addressed to you or your partner only is not sufficient. Their reasoning is that there isn’t enough evidence of your ‘shared life’. So you should really look at everything that you ‘share’ and determine whether you can evidence this (and preferably at the same time, also evidence your co-habitation).

Do you have your membership at the same gym? Do you attend the same church? Do you share any other hobbies, classes or activities? If these bodies or companies send you correspondence, ask whether they can send you documents in your joint names. Of course, some of these bodies and companies will be a lot more accommodating then others, but it never hurts to ask.

I have also included third party evidence of your travel under this category. Showing consistent travel, vacations and activities together is good evidence of your shared life.

Decent (but absolutely necessary) forms of evidence

This category is evidence that you or your partner can directly generate. Examples include:

  1. Photos
  2. Emails/letters to each other
  3. Social media interaction with each other
  4. Records of telephone conversations

Yes – this evidence is absolutely necessary. However, most couples will be able to provide ample amounts of this type of evidence. It is critical that you provide this type of evidence as it adds context, colour and life to your application. These documents also demonstrate several factors which your case officer is required to take into consideration such as the ‘social aspect of your relationship’. But since this type of evidence is self generated, if you submit nothing but documents in this category, it is difficult for your case officer to confidently conclude that your relationship satisfies the the legal definition of a de-facto relationship.

The real problem cases are those where only this type of evidence is provided. If you can only provide this type of evidence to demonstrate your relationship, then there is certainly a higher risk that your application may be refused. The risk of refusal is particularly high if you cannot provide any evidence in relation to the shared aspects of your lives, such as the financial commitments and obligations that you have together.

Planning your evidence

Now that you have an idea of what type of evidence that you are expected to provide, and the relative strength of the different types of evidence, I hope that this will assist you and your partner with planning out your application before you prepare and lodge it. It is a lot easier to prepare a properly evidenced application if you start to plan your application from the moment that you decide that you want to apply for a partner or spouse visa (i.e. give yourself as much time as possible to gather relevant and quality evidence).

If you are lacking strong forms of evidence, then you may want to consider the option of opening a joint bank account. You can also contact your household utility providers and see if you can change your accounts to joint accounts. You can apply the same principle to your insurance policy, gym membership etc. Sure, this may be a hassle, but showing this level of commitment and the sharing of various aspects of your life will really make it easier for your case officer to conclude that you are in fact in a de-facto relationship.

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375 thoughts on “Evidencing Your Relationship – Spouse or De-facto Partner Visa

  1. Ye-Jin Kim

    Hi Peng

    I am in the process of applying for a de facto partner visa subclass 421 (NZ Family Sponsor) with my partner.
    We have gathered several documents such as gym invoices, bank statements, rental agreements, photos, plane tickets for holidays etc. Can you please confirm what kind of documents we need JP Certified?

  2. rix

    Hi Peng,I emailed the Australian embassy 1 month ago asking them if i can add some latest documents to support my application,after that I received a reply saying *no further documents required from you at this stage hence no need to update submissions*,what does mean?is that mean i my application is ok or ready for finalization?bit confusing…Thanks

  3. Rosa


    Im considering applying for a spouse visa 309, we have opened a bank account together but we ar not living in the same country, would this evidence be valid? I have a bank statement.

  4. rix

    hi peng, I Lodge my application of spouse visa last August 22,2016,im done with medical and police check…my question is can i add some latest documents like Facebook chats and calls,remitance slip,letters etc to support my application even if my case officer didn’t aks me to provide it???thanks😊

    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Rix,
      Yes you can upload further evidence via your Immiaccount before you receive a request from your CO.

  5. Tara

    Hi peng!
    Me and my partner have been together over a year, I’m Irish she’s Aussie. We met in Australia, and we recently moved to the uk as she’s studying here for a year. We registered our relationship in May in Australia. We’ve lived together in the uk since September, in Australia we lived with my family then her family. We aren’t able to open up a joint bank account because she’s an international student. We are hoping to get married early next year as a same sex couple. Will we still need to provide evidence of a joint bank account and all the things needed for a defacto relationship if we getting married? It’s hard to find information on same sex couples visas. Thank you!

  6. Ben

    Im an Australian citizen and have previously applied for a defacto relationship visa. It was approved but we broke up a year later and she moved home.
    Can I apply for the same defacto visa again with a different partner?

    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Ben,
      Extract from the Department’s website:
      Limitations on sponsorship
      Your sponsorship might not be approved if you:

      were sponsored for a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa within the past five years
      have successfully sponsored two people for migration to Australia on a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa
      have successfully sponsored another person for migration to Australia on a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa within the past five years.
      Your sponsorship could still be approved in compelling circumstances, such as:
      your previous partner has died or abandoned the relationship, leaving you with young children
      your relationship with your current partner has been longer than two years
      you and your partner have dependent children from your relationship.


  7. Anne

    Hello PC
    I just wanted to ask if where can I attach the form 1193 inn my immi account as there is no indicated form in the list. I applied subclass 801 and it showed that my bridging visa was granted but I need to attach that form for me to view or to communicate via email. Thank you and Godbless.

    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Anne,
      Yes I don’t think that there is a specific category for that form – you can use no document, other.

  8. H.A

    Hi peng
    My partner lives overseas and I am permanent resident off australia. I am planning to apply partner visa to bring my partner here Australia.
    My ex-husband sponsored me to come to Australia. He applied the visa on second of february 2012 and the visa was granted on 01/03/2014.
    My queshion is to apply partner visa for my partner or to sponser him, do I have to wait 5 years starting from my last visa logged date (application date) or visa granted date?
    Thank you

    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      The 5 year period is calculated from the date the sponsor’s own visa application was made to the date of approval/refusal of the current sponsorship.

  9. Thu

    Hi Peng,

    I have applied for a 820 defacto visa and uploaded all documents required. However I can see that some people have filled in form 80. Is this mandatory?or do I fill it in when requested by Immi.


  10. Rona

    Hello PC,

    I am married to Australian last June. We are planning to lodge the visa on the 2nd week of august.
    My husband has been with working with his dad for quite a while and only gets cash. No payslips.
    Basically we can’t provide ang evidence of employment.
    Does the employment status of my sponsor affects the decision of my visa?

    Thank you!


    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Rona,
      There isn’t a legal requirement for the sponsor to have a job.
      Sorry but I can’t provide advice just based on your comment information.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.

  11. Kit

    Hi Peng,

    Does it make a huge difference when declaring someone as a friend instead of partner in listing someone as contact in a previous visa application (visitor visa)?

    What are the possible implications of not declaring someone as a partner during an application for a visitor visa when applying for a new visa (partner visa)?

    Thanks so much.


    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Kit,
      Sorry but I can’t provide advice just based on your comment information.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.

  12. Ella

    Hi Peng,

    Just want to know on de dacto evidences, I am just worried I wont be approved under his student visa 576.
    We never had the chance to open a joint account but we’ve been constantly transferring funds to wach other for bills, allowance, etc.
    1.Is it okay if we show bank transaction history instead?
    2. Is it okay if i provide bank certificate that I’ve been a supplementary credit card holder under him for three years now?
    3. We dont have investments because for 10 years now, we splurge weekly on watching in the cinema, eating out and at the spa. I dont know how to provide evidence for financial aspect since we dont have joint account and assets.
    Thank you in advance.

    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Ella,
      You can provide financial evidence other than joint bank accounts. You can provide a supporting statement explaining the relevant of your evidence.
      We are sorry but we can’t provide advice just based on the information that you have provided. Please see information in relation to our consultation service if you would like to book a time to discuss your visa options: http://myaccessaustralia.com/professional-services/

  13. Maei

    Hi Peng,

    I am currently a Ph.D. student in Australia, and my husband is a permanent resident who is working as an engineer. I have applied for Partner visa Feb 2016. We are married on April 2014 and started our relationship in April 2013.
    I have not received any news about my application; I have uploaded all the required documents, health check, character check. My husband is now eligible for citizenship.
    Can you please advise me what should I do and when do you think my visa application would be granted?

    Thanks for any guidance in advance,

    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Maei,
      Department’s website: https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/801-
      Average processing time for this visa is 12 to 15 months.​
      Your case officer will contact you if anything is needed.
      We are sorry but we can’t provide advice just based on the information that you have provided. Please see information in relation to our consultation service if you would like to book a time to discuss your visa options: http://myaccessaustralia.com/professional-services/

  14. Vignesh

    Hello there,

    I have secured admission into one of the Australian universities to do my PhD and I’m applying for a Postgraduate Research Sector visa (subclass 574) for the same.

    I’m planning to add in my partner along with my visa application and try for de-facto partner visa for him. Does this weigh down my student visa in anyways? Or will it increase my student visa processing?

    Glad if you can comment on this.
    Thanks much.


    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Vicky,
      You can include family that satisfy the relevant visa requirements. I don’t think that this affects processing time.

  15. Alex

    Hi Peng. I am an Australian citizen and my partner is currently in Australia on a work and holiday visa 462 (without the “no further stay” condition). Although we have been a couple for about 2 years we only started living together about 2 months ago. We would like to get married later in the year then submit an application for partner visa early next year. Since the relationship will be registered would there be any problem having lived together less than 12 months?

    Also how important is it to submit photos from the wedding with the application? We are not traditional and really don’t care about ceremony at all. So would prefer just to do the paperwork at registry office or whatever. But we are concerned whether wedding photos not being included is a lack of evidence for the relationship. Can you advise? Thanks.

    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Alex,
      You don’t have to live together for 12 months if you are married.
      Sorry but I can’t provide advice just based on your comment information.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.


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