The De Facto visa is a great option if you want to bring your girlfriend to Australia to live. We’ve put together everything you need to know about the Australian De Facto Visa.

This article includes:

  • De Facto visa requirements
  • secrets to fast visa processing; and
  • the one key consideration that everyone should know.

What is a De Facto Visa

Australian Partner visas can be applied for by married couples and unmarried couples.  If you are not married, then your Partner visa application is known as a De Facto visa.

De Facto means you live together with a permanent commitment.

Why Get A De Facto Visa

There are many reasons why couples do not marry. You might not have divorces from another partner.

For example, in the Philippines, where divorce is not an option, many women separate and then wish to apply for a Permanent Australian visa with their new Australian Partner. The De Facto visa allows them to get a visa like a married couple.


You need to show that your relationship is real. That you live together, or you’re not separated permanently.

The next important requirement is living together, and this is a tricky requirement and often misunderstood.

Living Together

You must have been in your de facto relationship for at least six months. This means, for most people, living together for six months.

The six months does not need to be continuous. So some periods of physical separation are allowed. For example, if your girlfriend comes to Australia for three months, then goes home for two months and comes back to Australia for a month – she has the required six months.

Then there are four other areas where you need to dhow evidence to prove that your raltionship is real.

Financial Requirement

One of the key requirements – that seem to be more important than any other is the financial requirement. You need to show that you are combining your affairs like couples do.

Social Requirement

Others must believe that you relationship is real. You need to show Immigration that you socialize as a couple.

Household Requirement

You might live together but what is it like inside your house. How are the duties divided? Immigration must be convinced that your home life is normal.

Relationship Requirement

Your relationship must be permanent. This means it must continue into the foreseeable future. Immigration need to see you making life choices and commitments. They will want to know your plans for the future.

How to Get a De Facto Visa

It is true that a De Facto visa is harder than a Marriage visa. This is because being married offers you a concrete way of proving your relationship is real.

De Facto couples must meet all the requirements. Immigration will look more closely at your application.


There are five easy steps to get a De Facto visa to Australia

  1. Live together for the required period
  2. Gather your evidence
  3. Contact a migration professional – preferably a lawyer
  4. Pay the fees
  5. Wait for your approval

Convincing Immigration

A De facto visa is harder than a marriage visa. So, you will need to convince the case officer your relationship is real.

A lawyer is a professional advocate. This means that they can put your argument in a convincing fashion. A lawyer can take the evidence you provide and mould it into a story to convince the case officer your story is real.

De Facto Visa Waiting Time

The waiting time depends on where you lodge the application. It also depends on the caseload for the country you are from.

For example, if your girlfriend is from the Philippines, then the wait will be slightly longer because there are lots of applications in the queue.

Apply in Australia

When your girlfriend is in Australia and you apply for a visa, she gets to stay in Australia. She will also get Medicare and full work rights. The down side, however, is that the waiting time is much longer. Currently over two years.

Apply outside Australia

When your girlfriend is outside Australia at the time of applying. She can expect to wait around twelve months for a decision. During this time, she can then come to Australia using a visitor visa. Remember though, she must be outside Australia to get her De Facto visa.

Speed up the De Facto Visa Waiting Time

To speed up the waiting time for your De Facto Visa:

  1. Prepare for your application by contacting your lawyer well in advance
  2. Use a lawyer – they are more organised and know the process and best timing
  3. Ensure health checks and police clearances are obtained at the right time
  4. Make sure your lawyer is experienced in applications from your girlfriend’s country
  5. Ensure fees are ready to be paid – if in doubt – your lawyer might be able to help you!

De Facto Visa Refused

If your visa is refused, then you can appeal. It is just part of the process. The case officer might not be convinced about something, so the appeal is your chance to set things right. To show them that your case is real.

You can make an appeal at the Administrative Appeals tribunal. Make sure your lawyer has experience in making appeals. By making an appeal your girlfriend will be allowed to stay in Australia until your hearing.  If she is outside Australia, then she might be able to come to Australia on a Visitor visa and attend the hearing.

Advantage of using an Agent

The De Facto visa is quite a tricky visa application. The legal rules are complex. Using a migration Agent can increase dramatically both the ease of the application and the chances of success.

If you do use a Migration Agent, then you should ensure you use a Registered Agent in Australia.

De Facto Partner Visa Application for Filipino Girlfriend

If you are in a permanent relationship with a Filipino, then you can apply for a De Facto visa. The visa lets her stay in Australia forever.

Before you apply for a De fact visa for your Filipino girlfriend you should consider bring her to Australia first. You can do this with a Visitor visa. Then when she is in Australia make your de facto application. That way she can stay on Australia while you wait for your decision.

De Facto Visa Application for Thai Girlfriend

If you are looking to have your Thai girlfriend stay forever in Australia you can apply for a de facto visa. This is a permanent visa for couples who have not married.

De Facto Visa Application for Cambodian Girlfriend

After you live together for six months with your Cambodian girlfriend you can apply for a de facto visa. If you’re not married then the its the perfect way to keep her in Australia.

De Facto Visa Application for Vietnamese Girlfriend

Visa Applications from Vietnam are difficult. You will need professional help – preferably a lawyer. Once she is in Australia and living with you, then consider making plans to apply for a de facto visa. This way she can stay in Australia, with Medicare and full work rights, up until her visa is approved.

The Secret to Visa Approval

The case officer will look more favourably at your application if you engage a lawyer to make the application. It shows you are serious about getting the visa.

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