Partner Visas Australia

June 28, 2024
Myer Lipschitz

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Navigating the complexities of immigration can often be overwhelming, particularly when it involves loved ones. For those in relationships with Australian citizens, permanent residents, or eligible New Zealand citizens, Partner Visas offer a vital pathway to begin a new life in Australia. These visas cater to both married couples and de facto partners, allowing them to live, work, and access healthcare in Australia.

A Partner Visa in Australia typically involves a two-stage process. Initially, applicants are granted a temporary visa (subclass 820) which allows them to stay in Australia while their permanent visa (subclass 801) is processed. This dual-application system streamlines the process, providing stability and security for couples during the transition.

Submitting a partner visa application requires proving the genuineness and continuity of the relationship, whether through marriage or de facto partnership. By understanding the necessary requirements and preparing adequately, applicants can significantly enhance their chances of success, making the dream of living together in Australia a reality.

Migrate to Australia

Our immigration lawyers and registered migration agents in Melbourne will be able to find you the best visa for your unique situation. You’ll be in good hands.

Types of Partner Visas

Australia offers several types of partner visas, each catering to different circumstances:

Australian Partner Visas
Visa Type Description Conditions
Subclass 820 (Temporary Onshore Partner Visa) Allows the applicant to stay in Australia while their permanent visa (subclass 801) is processed. Applicant must be in Australia at the time of application.
Subclass 801 (Permanent Onshore Partner Visa) A permanent visa granted following the temporary subclass 820 visa, typically after a two-year waiting period. Granted assuming all requirements are satisfied.
Subclass 309 (Temporary Offshore Partner Visa) Permits the partner to stay temporarily in Australia while they await the decision on their permanent subclass 100 visa. Applicant must be outside Australia when applying.
Subclass 100 (Permanent Offshore Partner Visa) Granted to those on a subclass 309 visa, usually after a two-year period, allowing for permanent residency. Granted assuming all requirements are satisfied.
Subclass 300 (Prospective Marriage Visa) For those intending to marry their Australian partner, valid for nine months, during which the couple must marry. Provides a pathway to apply for a partner visa post-marriage.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for a partner visa in Australia, applicants must meet specific criteria related to their relationship status, de facto or marriage conditions, and have an appropriate Australian sponsor.

Relationship Requirements

Applicants must demonstrate a genuine and continuing relationship with their Australian partner. This means providing evidence of a mutual commitment to a shared life, to the exclusion of all others. They should live together or, if living apart, it should be only temporary.

Evidence might include joint financial commitments, shared household responsibilities, and mutual social recognition.

For married applicants, the marriage must be legally valid under Australian law. For de facto relationships, the couple should have lived together for at least 12 months before applying unless there are compelling circumstances.

De Facto and Marriage Conditions

De facto partners need to prove they have been in the relationship for a minimum of 12 months. Exceptions are made if there are compelling reasons, such as having a child together.

For married couples, the marriage must be legally recognised. They should also show shared responsibilities and commitments similar to those of de facto partners. This includes joint bank accounts, property ownership, or rental agreements.

They should also submit personal statements detailing the nature of their relationship, including how they met, hared responsibilities, financial aspects, and plans for the future.

Australian Sponsorship Rules

The applicant must be sponsored by an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen. The sponsor must be over 18 years old and must provide assurances of support for the partner, ensuring they will help them settle in Australia.

Sponsors must not have sponsored another partner visa application in the past five years.

They also need to offer financial assistance, accommodation, and other support during the application process and the initial settlement period in Australia. The sponsor must also be free from certain previous sponsorship obligations or limitations to offer genuine support to the applicant.

partner visa australia

Application Process Overview

The application process for a partner visa in Australia involves several steps, including preparing thorough documentation, lodging the application through the designated online portal, and following up post-submission to ensure all requirements are met. Adherence to the guidelines set by the Department of Home Affairs is crucial throughout this process.

Preparing the Application

Applicants must gather necessary documentation to support their application. This includes evidence of the relationship, such as joint financial statements, lease agreements, and photographs. Health examinations and police checks are also required.

Applicants should ensure they meet the character requirements defined by the Department of Home Affairs. It’s beneficial to use a migration agent if assistance is needed with this complex process.

Lodging the Application

The application is lodged online through the ImmiAccount portal. Applicants need to fill out the forms accurately and upload all supporting documents.

Double-checking that all required evidence is included can help prevent delays. Payment of the application fee is also completed during this stage.

Post-Submission Steps

After submission, the processing time can vary. Applicants should log into their ImmiAccount regularly to check for any requests for further information or updates.

Responding promptly to any inquiries from the Department of Home Affairs can facilitate quicker processing. Once all criteria are satisfied, the applicant may be granted a temporary visa, which is the first step towards obtaining a permanent partner visa.

partner visa process in australia

Visa Conditions and Entitlements

Visa conditions and entitlements for partner visas in Australia vary significantly depending on whether an individual is in the temporary or permanent residency phase. Each stage offers different rights and responsibilities, which are crucial for applicants to understand.

During Temporary Residency

Partner (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 309) allows the de facto partner or spouse of an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australia temporarily.
Holders can work and study without restrictions, providing opportunities for employment and education.

Temporary visa holders are not entitled to Medicare (Australia’s public healthcare system) unless they have reciprocal healthcare arrangements with their home countries. This lack of access makes private health insurance a necessity.

Visa conditions must be followed strictly. Non-compliance can affect future visa applications, including the transition to permanent residency.

After Obtaining Permanent Residency

Upon receiving Permanent Residency through the Partner Visa (Subclass 801), individuals gain numerous entitlements.

They can stay in Australia indefinitely, with unrestricted work and study rights. Permanent residents are eligible for Medicare, providing access to Australia’s public healthcare system, reducing the need for private health insurance.

Additionally, permanent residency is a stepping stone to applying for citizenship, which offers further benefits and security. Applicants must meet residency and character requirements to be granted citizenship.

With permanent residency, there is also the added benefit of sponsoring eligible relatives for Australian visas. These entitlements greatly enhance the quality of life and long-term stability for visa holders in Australia.

Processing Times and Costs

Processing times for partner visas, specifically the Subclass 820/801 and Subclass 309/100, can vary significantly. Applicants should prepare for a wait that might range from months to even over a year.

Costs for these visas are substantial. The base application charge for a partner visa is generally over AUD 7,000. Additional costs may include police certificates, medical examinations, and translations of documents. Applicants must ensure they provide comprehensive documentation to avoid delays.

Changes in Circumstances

Applicants must notify the Department of Home Affairs of any changes in circumstances. This can include changes in relationship status, such as separation or divorce. If a relationship ends due to family violence, there are protections in place to ensure the applicant can still obtain their visa.

For those in same-sex relationships, the same rules and considerations apply as for heterosexual couples. If the couple has registered their relationship, they may not need to meet the 12-month cohabitation requirement.

Changes in employment status or living arrangements also need to be communicated promptly to the authorities to maintain the integrity of the application.

Migrate to Australia

Our immigration lawyers and registered migration agents in Melbourne will be able to find you the best visa for your unique situation. You’ll be in good hands.

myer lipschitz


Myer Lipschitz

Myer Lipschitz was born in Johannesburg and is a graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand. In 1985 he was conferred the degree Bachelor of Laws. Myer completed his Articles of Clerkship with Ivor Trackman, Attorneys and was admitted as an Attorney to the Supreme Court of South Africa in 1988. Myer immigrated to New Zealand in 1989 and was admitted to practice law in New Zealand as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand...

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