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Relationship register questions and answers

What is the register about?

The City of Melbourne Relationship Declaration Register is an opportunity for both mixed-sex and same-sex couples to formally declare their relationship. It was officially launched on 2 April 2007.

While the register won’t confer legal rights in the way traditional marriage does, it may be used to demonstrate the existence of a de facto relationship in relation to the Property Laws Act 1958, the Administration and Probate Act 1958 and other legislation involving domestic partnerships.

How do we register?

To apply to register your relationship, couples are required to read the guidelines, then fill out and submit an application form, Couples will then be contacted regarding an appointment time to visit the Melbourne Town Hall to formally sign and receive a certificate of declaration.

Download application forms and guidelines

Where do we lodge the application?

Applications need to be lodged in person at the Cashier’s Desk at the City of Melbourne Town Hall (Administration Building) located at 90-120 Swanston Street, Melbourne.

Do both partners need to be present to lodge the application?

No, so long as appropriate proof of identification and evidence of the date of birth and residential address of both partners is provided at the time of lodgement. Acceptable forms of evidence are:

  • Birth Certificate (not extract)
  • Passport
  • Driver's licence 
  • Citizenship certificate.

What if neither partner is able to submit the application in person?

Couples wishing to declare their relationship in the City of Melbourne Relationship Declaration Register are required to submit their application in person. However, in exceptional circumstances (such as applicant/s being unable to get to the office during business hours or reside in outer Victoria) Council will accept applications posted by mail. Applications that have been posted by mail will only be accepted if a Statutory Declaration signed by an authorised witness is attached to the application form. The Statutory Declaration needs to declare that the personal identification of the persons submitting the application have been checked against the application form. 

Download a copy of the Statutory Declaration form:

Statutory Declaration (PDF, 28kb)
Statutory Declaration (Text only, 46kb)

Applications should be posted to:

Relationship Declaration Register (confidential)
GPO Box 1603
Melbourne 3001

Both partners will be required to bring an approved from of identification present at your interview. Failure to produce identification at the interview would prevent the processing of your declaration at that time.

Do both partners need to reside in Victoria?

No, so long as one partner has a permanent Victorian residential address which is also the preferred postal address.

Do both partners need to reside at the same address?

No, it is not essential for both partners to be living at the same address.

Who can apply to register their relationship?

Any person (aged 16 years or over) who currently resides in Victoria (or has a partner who resides in Victoria) can apply to register.

Will becoming a signatory of the City of Melbourne Relationship Declaration Register assist one or both parties in their partner visa application process?

An application for a partner visa can be assessed under either the Marriage Act or as a defacto marriage. The definition for a defacto marriage requires that the couple have been in the relationship for a minimum of 12 months.

There is an exemption to the 12-month requirement where the relationship has been "registered under a law of a State or Territory prescribed in the Acts Interpretation (Registered Relationships) Regulations 2008 as a kind of relationship prescribed in those Regulations" (This is in Reg 2.03A(5)). A couple registering under a council relationship declaration provision would not meet this exemption unless that council scheme was registered under a State law.

That would not, however, prevent a couple submitting the registration of their relationship under a council registration scheme as one piece of evidence as part of the visa application. The visa criteria also requires proof of a genuine and ongoing relationship with reference to financial, social and household commitments. Applicants may submit registration of their relationship, amongst other things, as proof of such commitment.

For further information, please contact the Department of Immigration.

What happens after we apply?

After your application has been successfully lodged, you will be contacted by a Council Officer within 30 days to arrange a time for signing the declaration. Signings of declarations usually take place once a month on a Friday.

How much does it cost?

From 1 November 2014, the fee for making a relationship declaration and having the declaration recorded in the City of Melbourne Relationship Declaration Register is $250. This must be paid at the Cashier’s Desk at the City of Melbourne Town Hall, 90-120 Swanston Street, Melbourne, before your appointment.

Can we have witnesses or family present at the signing of the register?

Yes, witnesses or family members can be present at the signing of the certificate of declaration. The details of who and how many witnesses or family members will need to be discussed with the Council Officer prior to the day of the signing.

Can we hold a ceremony as part of the signing of the relationship declaration?

The City of Melbourne does not conduct ceremonies in association with the making of relationship declarations. Should you wish to hold a commitment ceremony on or around the day of your declaration please refer to the International College of Celebrancy websites:

The International College of Celebrancy or College of Celebrancy

What happens to our information?

The collection, access and storage of information in connection with the City of Melbourne Relationship Declaration Register will be undertaken in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2000.

City of Melbourne Council officers whose work may involve the City of Melbourne Relationship Register will have access to information on, and in relation to, the Register. In addition, the City of Melbourne may be authorised or obliged to disclose the information by law (under statute or otherwise). This may include disclosure to other public officials or bodies, and disclosure to private parties where a subpoena has been served on Council. Such disclosure will only be made in accordance with Council’s obligations under the Information Privacy Act 2000 (Vic).

How long will the application process take?

Generally, the application process will take up to 30 days. This includes reviewing the application, preparing the certificates and arranging an interview.

Is there a State Government Relationship Register?

The Victorian Relationship Register was introduced by the State Government in 2008. Under the program, couples can register their domestic relationship with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

For further information, please visit the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.