What is a De Facto Visa

Published: 22nd February 2010
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One of the most used and abused applications for entry into Australia is by way of a De Facto Visa. There has been much speculation and conjecture as to this kind of visa. The discussion below hopes to lay to rest the many misconceptions as to the ins and outs of a De Facto Visa to Australia.

The De Facto visa is the country's response to the ever-changing social landscape concerning relationships and families. Nowadays, there are many relationships that remain unmarried and with children. This becomes complicated when the relationship is with an Australian citizen, permanent resident or qualified New Zealand resident. This visa allows these relationships and their children to be able to enter and reside in Australia for the long term.

A De Facto visa, simply put, is the privilege granted to an individual with a proven long-standing relationship with an Australian national, resident or New Zealand eligible individual. The duration of the visa is often for two years with an option for permanent residency once all the requirements are complied with and two years of residence has been duly established.

The current De Facto Visa stipulations require that the applicant must be in "a genuine, continuous, de facto relationship" with the sponsor for at least twelve months. The relationship must be exclusive and proof needs to be adduced as to the couple's time spent together barring only separation during the application for the Australian visa. The applicant also needs to show proof that the relationship is genuine and not merely a short-term arrangement or convenience. The applicant also needs to undergo a medical examination that includes a chest x-ray from a duly authorized by the Australian authorities. Another important document that needs to be submitted is certified proof that the applicant has no criminal record in the country where they last resided for more than twelve months in the last ten years.

The time frame for the application process varies as it can be as short as three months to as long as six months. If there are issues as to the submitted evidence or concerns about the supposed De Facto relationship, then the review of the application would take more time. If the documents are false or suspicious circumstances are present, then the application would be denied and the applicant would be blacklisted by the immigration authorities.

As previously stated, a De Facto Visa to Australia provides a two year period for stay in Australia. After such two year period, the grantee would be allowed to file for permanent residency. During the two period of the visa, the Australian authorities would periodically review the status of the relationship of the citizen and the visa holder. Over the past few years the immigration authorities have practiced a relatively open door policy to attract skilled workers to the country to fill the demands of the growing Australian economy. The review is thus now geared towards seeing the immigrants as valuable contributors to the economy rather than be a burden of the state.

This hopefully clears much of the misconceptions regarding De Facto Visas to Australia. Now, the authorities have clamped down on the fraudulent applications through the many new rules instituted on these kinds of applications. It has been advised though at Australia Forum that "if you are in a genuine de facto relationship with an Australian citizen, Australian resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen and have the relevant paperwork to back up your situation then there should be very few obstacles in your way."

This article has been provided by Jose Marc Castro, the online editor at the AustraliaForum.com- the primary community for people moving to Australia. The site also provides information and advice on matters such as De Facto Visas.


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