Can you be engaged and married at the same time to two different people?

Apparently YES. The Federal Court of Australia has just reversed the decision to cancel an Egyptian National’s visa citing the Tribunal made an error assuming a person can only have one marital status at a time. Below is an excerpt from The Australian:

“A Muslim bigamist will have his court costs paid by the federal government after the Federal Court found he had his visa cancelled because the migration forms did not provide enough or clear options to describe his relationship status.

Egyptian man Mahmoud Mahdy Mahmoud Salama moved to Australia in 2003 on a prospect­ive partner visa and married an Australian woman the same year.

He was then granted a provisional partner visa and returned to Egypt in 2004 where he married another woman in Cairo, while still married in Australia.

In 2006, Mr Salama was granted a permanent partner visa, while married to both women.

He divorced his Australian wife the following year.

In 2012, he submitted an applic­ation for a Resident Return visa and listed his relationship ­status as “divorced”. His visa was granted but in 2014 a delegate of the Minister for Immigration wrote notifying of the intention to consider cancelling the visa on the grounds that the information provided was false and that Mr Sal­ama had failed to notify the department of changes in circumstances, being the birth of his child to his wife from Cairo.

Mr Salama’s visa was cancelled that year.

He appealed against the decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the Federal Circuit Court, arguing that in his view his marital status was divorced­, because he was aware that his Egyptian marriage was not recognised in Australia as he was married at the time to his Australian wife.

Mr Salama also told the Admin­istrative Appeals Tribunal that he had never had a commitment to or been in a marriage-like arrangement with his Egyptian wife, as the marriage was forced upon him by his family.

He said the couple had only lived together for short periods of time and he wanted to sponsor their four children to come to Australia because of the difficult circumstances in Egypt.

Mr Salama said that, since 2013, he has been in another ­relationship with an Australian woman.

She told the court she had become engaged and married to Mr Salama in accordance with Islami­c ­rites in April 2014.

Federal Court judge Melissa Perry found that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal fell into jurisdictional error by assuming there was only one correct answer to describin­g his relationship status.

She remitted the matter back to the tribunal for determination and ordered the Minister pay Mr Salama’s costs in the Federal Circuit Court and Federal Court.”

Islamic Wedding (source: