Proxy Marriages and UTAH Web Marriage Ceremonies

Could you and your partner have been married by now, but your plans got canceled because of Covid? Have you been longing to tie the knot and proceed with your partner visa, but you are stuck in different countries? If this is you, this might be worth reading.

There is an interesting update regarding partners who would love to finally tie the knot but are unfortunately forced apart by the Covid restrictions. Due to the extended duration for COVID travel restrictions into and out of Australia, many of our clients have been asking if proxy marriages that can be arranged in the State of UTAH in the United States of America are accepted by the Department of Home Affairs for partner visa applications.

The Department of Home Affairs has advised that if a proxy marriage is legally accepted in an overseas country, it will most likely be accepted under the Australian Marriage Act and IF it does not breach any of the sections of that Act e.g. underage marriage or currently still married. Therefore, it could be the case that some couples can be married despite being in different countries by web conferencing, even if they are not residents in UTAH or the USA.

If I get married, will that guarantee my partner visa grant?

Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Now, it is very important that we stress that being legally married in itself is not sufficient evidence for the grant of a partner visa. A marriage certificate, in isolation, is not a magic piece of paper that will ensure your partner visa grant. So even if you are married, you will still be required to provide sufficient evidence that your relationship is genuine and continuing, as per the partner visa criteria, having regard for the four pillars. The Four Pillars of your Relationship being;

  1. Financial Aspects of the relationship;
  2. Nature of your household;
  3. Social aspects of the relationship;
  4. Nature of your commitment.

Will being married strengthen our application?

Potentially, it may, if your marriage is coupled with strong relationship evidence across the 4 pillars as mentioned above. So although being married is a legal commitment to each other, and will therefore provide additional evidence of your commitment to each other, a marriage certificate in itself will not suffice for a partner visa grant. Particularly if you have only been together for a short period and do not have other forms of relationship evidence.

So should we get married for our partner visa application?

Marriage is such a beautiful commitment, so we by no means encourage you to get married for the purposes of a partner visa. Get married when you are both ready to commit to this beautiful journey together. This avenue to marriage could be suitable for couples who are both ready to get married and were planning to do so already then lodge a partner visa post-marriage, but your plans were unfortunately interrupted by Covid restrictions, which have forced you apart.

If we are not married, are we still eligible to apply for the partner visa?

Please note, marriage is not the only way to be eligible for a partner visa, if you are a defacto couple as per Australian legislation then you may also be eligible to apply for a partner visa on the grounds of being a de facto couple, subject to having sufficient evidence.

If you are unsure if you are eligible or not or would like some guidance regarding becoming eligible for a partner visa as well as your prospects of success, get in touch with us or give us a call. We can arrange a Visa Planning/Advice Session in which we would love to guide you towards your happily ever after in Australia.

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IMPORTANT: Please note, this does not constitute Immigration advice. Always seek advice from a Registered Migration Agent before applying for an Australian Visa. Migration Law is constantly changing. This information is accurate only at the time of publication.

About the Author Pearl Frankis MARN2015921

Pearl is a lawyer and Freedom Migration's Business Development Manager. She's a Registered Migration Agent who studied law and has vast experience in the legal industry. Her expertise in Partner Visa's bloomed from her fondness of a good love story and desire to help people and make a difference in people's lives.