If you are married to or are in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident (or an eligible New Zealand citizen), you may be able apply for one of the partner visas.
1. Partner Temporary Visa (Subclass 820/801 (onshore) Subclass 309/100 (offshore))
This is a temporary visa which allows you to stay in Australia with your partner. It is a pathway to permanent residency too – if two years after you apply for this visa your relationship is still genuine and continuing, a permanent visa (subclass 801 onshore; subclass 100 offshore) may be granted.
What can I do with a Temporary Partner visa?
- Remain in Australia with your partner, until a decision is made regarding your permanent visa
- Work in Australia;
- Study in Australia, but you will not have access to government funding for tertiary study and will be charged international upfront full fees; and
- Enrol in Australia’s medical benefits expenses and hospital care scheme including Medicare.
What can I do with a Permanent Partner visa?
- Remain permanently in Australia with your partner;
- Work and study in Australia;
- Enrol in Australia’s medical benefits expenses and hospital care scheme including Medicare; and
- Be eligible to receive certain social security payments.
The application process
You apply for both the temporary and permanent visas at the same time by lodging one application. If you meet all the legal criteria for the grant of the visa, you may be granted a temporary Partner visa which will remain valid until a decision is made about your eligibility for a permanent partner visa, which is usually two years after your initially applied for your visa.
You may be granted a permanent visa without having to wait the two years on a temporary visa if:
- At the time you apply for the visa, you have been in a married or de facto relationship with your partner for three or more years; OR
- At the time you apply for the visa, you have been in a married or de facto relationship with your partner for two years or more, and there is a dependent child from your relationship; OR
- Your partner was granted a Protection visa or a permanent visa under the humanitarian program and you were in the relationship before the visa was granted and this had been declared to the department at that time.
Are you engaged to your Australian partner? If yes – your best option may be a Prospective Marriage Visa!
2. Prospective Marriage Visa (Subclass 300 – offshore only)
This visa is for you if you are overseas and engaged to be married to an Australian citizen, permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen. It is a 9 month temporary visa, which will give you time to come to Australia and marry your fiancé. Once you are married, you can then apply in Australia for a subclass 820 Partner visa and continue on to permanent residency.
What do I have to show?
Generally, you will have to meet the following requirements:
- Marriage legality – if you are married, your marriage must be legal under Australian law. Same sex marriages are not recognized in Australia. Same-sex couples are still eligible for this visa but will be only recognized as being in a de-facto relationship.
- An appropriate ‘de facto’ relationship – if you are applying on the basis of a de facto relationship, you will need to show 12 months of your de facto relationship (including living together) or that you have a child together, or have registered your relationship in your State.
- Sponsorship – you must be sponsored by an eligible sponsor.
- Relationship – you and your partner must show a mutual commitment to a shared life as husband and wife to the exclusion of all others. Generally, you need to be living together and any separation must only be temporary. You must show evidence that your relationship is genuine and continuing.
- Health requirements – you must meet the Department health requirements.
- Character requirements – you must meet the Department character requirements.
- Australian Values Statement – you must sign the Australian Values Statement.
Restrictions on applying
Not everyone will be able to apply for these visas. For example:
- You can only apply for the Subclass 801 and 820 visas if you are in Australia when you lodge the application and also when a decision is made.
- You must be outside of Australia when you apply for and when a decision is made on Subclass 309, 100 and 300 visas
- Your partner may not be eligible to sponsor you if they have previously sponsored someone for a Partner visa in the last 5 years; or if they’ve sponsored two or more people previously for Partner visas;
- Your partner may also not be eligible to sponsor you if they have been sponsored themselves in the last 5 years on a partner visa;
- Your partner may not be able to sponsor you if they have a conviction or outstanding charge for an offence against a child.
Your partner may still be able to sponsor you despite one of the restrictions above if you can show compelling circumstances, including:
- You have been in a relationship with them for two years or more;
- You and your partner have dependent children together;
- Their previous partner died or abandoned the relationship leaving young children.
If you are looking at applying for a Partner visa or would like some more information or advice, please contact our Migration Team. It is always better to obtain advice prior to lodging an application, to avoid any issues in the future if you have your application refused by the Department.