When it comes to spousal visas, there are many factors that are considered in the application. The most crucial element is proof of an existing relationship. While marriage will help the spousal visa application, evidence to support the four pillars of relationship must be provided.
The four pillars of relationship are:
- Level of commitment
How a couple manages their finances will come under scrutiny. Joint bank accounts, joint ownership of property, shared bills and joint major purchases are all considered.
How a couple lives will have an impact on the spousal visa application. The following will be considered:
- Living arrangements
- Joint responsibility and ownership of the home
- Utilities being in both names
- Mail being addressed to both parties
- How children are taken care of are
The social aspects of a relationship play an important role in determining the validity of the relationship. The department will consider:
- Joint invitations
- Photos of the couple at events together
- Common friends and acquaintances
- Statutory declarations made by family members
- Joint membership at clubs or organisations
- Joint travel
Level of Commitment
The Department measures a couple’s level of commitment to each other by:
- Whether they know each other’s family, background and circumstances
- The terms of their wills
- Mail, email and phone records that show they keep in regular contact with each other
Long distance relationships
While these pillars of relationship are easy to prove for a couple living together, those in long-distance relationships will find it more difficult to prove their relationship. Adding another layer of difficulty is where couples have not met each other and have had a purely online-relationship.
In these circumstances a spousal visa is very unlikely to be granted unless of course the couple is married. It can be argued that a couple who has never met can’t possibly be married but this is no longer the case thanks to Utah marriages.
What is a Utah marriage?
The city of Utah in the United States is performing marriages via web conferencing. Participants do not need to reside in Utah or the USA for the marriage to occur.
Given Covid-19 travel restrictions, many have questioned if proxy marriages will be accepted by the Department of Home Affairs for spousal visa applications. A proxy marriage does not require both parties to be present at the ceremony, but an authorised person must sign the marriage documents on behalf of the bride or groom for the marriage to be valid.
Department of Home Affairs advice states that if a marriage is legally accepted in an overseas country it will most likely be accepted under the Australian Marriage Act as long as it doesn’t breach any sections of the act such as underage marriage. Utah marriages are recognised in the US thus providing a loophole for those in a long-distance relationship wanting to apply for a spousal visa.
If you would like to learn more about the pillars of relationship and spousal visas or any other aspect of migration contact Visa Solutions on 1800 828 008.
While Australian borders are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel exemptions may apply under the following circumstances:
- A traveller has a compassionate or compelling reason to visit Australia
- Overseas workers holding a Subclass 482 or 400 visa are required to undertake a job in Australia that cannot be filled by a local employee
Visa Solutions Australia has been successful in acquiring a broad range of exemptions, from critical workers to those needing to travel on compassionate grounds.