“Till death do us part”: How might living separately while in a relationship affect your eligibility
Are you planning to apply for a partner visa or preparing for an AAT appeal but for some reasons not actually living together with your partner? What could you do to ensure you could still pass the “living together” check for a partner visa despite the fact you and your partner are living apart?
Is it really necessary to live together to get a partner visa?
Generally speaking, yes. Regardless of whether you are applying as a legally married couple or de facto couple, the law requires that you and your partner live together to be eligible for a partner visa – either for the first-stage temporary visa or the second-stage permanent visa.
Is there any flexibility to the living-together rule?
Yes. If you and your partner are still in a relationship and you have legitimate reasons – proven with strong supporting evidence – that you are not living separately and apart forever, your case officer would put your exceptional circumstances into consideration and decide to grant you the visa. Please note if you are living part due to other lawful reasons – for example if you are a victim of domestic violence – there will be another set of rules applicable to your case.
How can I ensure success of my partner visa applications if I do not meet the cohabitation requirement?
You will need to provide detailed explanations with supporting evidence to convince your case officer that despite the fact you and your partner are not living together, you are still in a genuine and ongoing relationship and you will not live apart permanently. If you are a visa applicant and the only reason for you to live separately from your sponsor is that you get a better employment opportunity back in your home country, that alone normally would not be sufficient reason to help you get or maintain your visa. When preparing for your supporting evidence, you would have to be very careful in working out the right types of evidence that would help demonstrate your intention to become or remain a resident in Australia.