If you plan to apply for a Partner Visa and intend to get married before you lodge your Partner Visa application, or you may be ready to lodge and have already married, the most frequent question asked about marriage and Partner Visas is, “Is it okay if I got married overseas?” The answer to this question is, YES.. in most cases! You can do so provided the marriage is a legal union in accordance with the law of the particular country. The Australian Migration Act recognises overseas marriages as grounds for a Partner Visa on the condition it’s considered a legal marriage.
Yes, there are some exceptions and they usually revolve around age. But generally speaking, if you’re over 18 at the time of your marriage, you married overseas and it was considered a lawful marriage in the country where you married, the marriage will likely be recognized for the purposes of meeting the definition of legally married as is contained within the Migration Act.
Yes, there are a few and this blog is not an exhaustive list ie we haven’t covered everything. If you plan to apply for your Partner Visa and you’re unsure if your marriage is what’s considered a ‘legal marriage’ in the country where you got married, you need to be certain of the fact. I’ve seen frequent issues arise where couples who’ve thought they were officially married then discover they weren’t ACTUALLY legally married. It is important to know beforehand if you, as a couple, are able to lawfully marry in the country of your choice.
An example where this situation might arise if you’re two expatriates marrying in a country that’s not your own. It’s very important to check whether yours will be considered a lawful marriage. Another example may be a religious marriage which is not always considered to be a legal marriage. A culturally appropriate marriage is not always classified as a legal marriage. These examples are some of the issues you should be aware of in the country where you are married.
As always, if in doubt, ask a Migration Agent. Blogs are helpful for research only, not decision-making…. Kind of like trying to diagnose an illness using Google… never a great idea. It’s best to get one-on-one advice on the important issues surrounding the legality of your marriage. Be aware that issues around an overseas marriage won’t be the same for every couple as different countries have different laws and your age and unique circumstances may also have an effect. We have just covered some of the issues that may arise but in general, the answer is YES, overseas marriages which comply with that country’s legal requirements, should meet the conditions of the Australian Migration Act.
If you have any other Partner Visa Questions makes sure you check our FAQ Page
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.
Emma is the founder and principal migration agent at Freedom Migration. She is extremely passionate about uniting partners and families with their loved ones overseas. It might be because she's a product of a partner visa family.