Do we have a recognised marriage and if so what proof of our marriage is required for a Partner visa?

If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident and you have met and married a foreign national, whether she/he be Thai, Filipino/a or other, you will have probably given a lot of thought to where you both will live and about issues such as: can I bring my wife/husband to Australia for a holiday or to live with me and if so how do I arrange this; will she/he be able to work in Australia,… These are normal questions to ask. If you both qualify, you will probably end up acting as the Sponsor for your wife or husband’s Australian Partner (by marriage) visa application. In this article I will be discussing only one aspect of the Partner (by marriage visa) – the issue of a recognised marriage and proof of that marriage.

In terms of getting married it might seem to be non issue – we got married – therefore we qualify – end of story. However, it is not necessarily as simple as that. Your marriage has to be one which is recognised as such by the Migration Act and Regulations. The rules say that your marriage has to be one which is recognised under Australian law. You and your partner were either married in Australia or in another country. As long as the marriage is registered as an official legal marriage in Australia or any other country then that is acceptable for the purpose of the Partner (by marriage) visa application.

There are exceptions to this. For example, where you and your wife or husband have been married overseas and the law of that country recognises marriages which are  same sex, polygamous or underage: currently in Australia same sex marriages are not recognised and neither are situations where someone is married to more than one person. Furthermore there is a minimum age under Australian law by which a person may enter into a legal marriage with another person. Some other countries have different minimum age limits which would not be recognised in Australia.

The proof of marriage which is required under the Migration Regulations is usually a document evidencing the marriage. In most countries the government department that deals with and registers marriages will issue a certificate of marriage. The Applicant for Partner visa (by marriage) should submit a certified copy of their marriage certificate. If the Applicant was previously married to someone before their current marriage, which is the basis of their application, they will be required to submit certified copies of their previous marriage(s) and of their divorce, dissolution or annulment.

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