The Partner visa enables those in a relationship with an Australian Permanent Resident or Australian Citizen to be sponsored for migration based on that relationship. You and your partner must be either Married or in a De facto relationship.
An application for a partner visa can be either made Onshore (Subclass 820/801) or Offshore (Subclass 309/100). Your circumstances and country of origin will determine your eligibility to make an application while in Australia.
The partner visa is initially granted as a temporary visa. After approximately 2 years from the date of your partner visa application the Department of Immigration will ask you and your partner to demonstrate that you are still in a genuine relationship prior to deciding the permanent partner visa.
When assessing the eligibility of your partner visa application a case officer from the Australian Department of Immigration will seek to be satisfied of the following:
- Your relationship is ‘genuine’ and ‘continuing’
- You and your partner have a ‘mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others’
- You and your partner are living together (or at least not living apart permanently)
In determining the above points, your Case Officer will consider the totality of your relationship and the following four factors:
- Financial aspects of your relationship
- The nature of your household
- Social aspects of your relationship
- The nature of your mutual and exclusive commitment
In addition, applicants must also meet Health, Character, Public Interest and Special Return Criteria. Sponsors must not be prohibited from being an eligible sponsor either because of serial sponsorship provisions or certain criminal convictions. You may include dependent family members in your application if certain criteria are met.
De facto Applicants
You and your partner must have ordinarily been in a de facto relationship for the entire 12 months immediately prior to lodging your application. The 12-month relationship requirement is not required if at the time of application you had registered your de facto relationship with a state or territory government in Australia. Information on registering your relationship is available here.
In addition, the one-year relationship requirement does not apply if you can establish that there are compelling and compassionate circumstances for the grant of the visa. For example:
- In the case of a de facto partner relationship where there is a child from the relationship or the relationship is ‘long standing’
- In the case of a same-sex de facto relationship, where cohabitation was contrary to law in the applicant’s country of residence.
Your marriage must be legal under Australian Law. If you were married in a country other than Australia and that marriage is valid in that country, generally it will be recognised as valid under Australian law. Exceptions include, underage or polygamous marriages.
Where applicants are not in a married or de facto relationship but are intending on getting married they may consider a Prospective Marriage Visa (Subclass 300) which allows the applicant to come to Australia to marry their Fiancé.
Applicants wishing to lodge an application outside Australia – Visiting your Partner
Applicants who lodge an application outside Australia may visit their partner during the processing of their application by obtaining a visitor visa (Subclass 600). Applicants from certain countries (ETA eligible passport countries) may apply for a streamlined visitor visa.
If you lodge your application while outside Australia you must make arrangements to be outside Australia on the date the visa application is decided. We will liaise with the department to keep your case officer informed of your movements so that your application can be decided at the appropriate time.
Applicants wishing to lodge an application in Australia
Applicants who seek to lodge a Partner visa in Australia may do so by obtaining a visitor visa. Depending on your circumstances the Visitor Visa may enable you to make a further Partner Visa application while remaining in Australia.
Applicants that have a ‘no further stay – condition 8503′ attached to their visa are prohibited from making a valid application in Australia without first applying for and being granted a Waiver of condition 8503. If your intention is to obtain a Visitor Visa to enable you to lodge a Partner visa in Australia it is essential that you obtain a visitor visa without the ‘no further stay – condition 8503′ attached.
Where applicants do not have a valid visa at the time they apply in Australia they must meet Schedule 3 criteria or apply for a Waiver of Schedule 3 criteria by showing ‘compelling reasons’.
Work, Study and Travel rights
Applicants who lodge a partner application in Australia will ordinarily be granted a Bridging Visa A (BVA) which will enable them to remain lawful during the processing of their visa application.
Your Bridging Visa A (BVA) comes with unlimited rights to work and study in Australia and comes into effect when the visa you are on expires. Should you seek to travel after this date you must obtain permission to travel by applying for a Bridging Visa B (BVB). A Bridging Visa B allows you to travel for a specified period of time and is a relatively straight forward application and granted in most instances.
Processing times depend on country of the passport holder and country of origin of the applicant.
Current processing times for Partner visas as indicated by the Australian Department of Immigration website, are published here.
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