You may qualify for a partner visa if you are engaged, married, or in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.
Partner Visa Options
The most appropriate partner visa option for your situation will depend on the nature of your relationship (eg. de facto, engaged, married), the length of your relationship, and your location at time of application.
Fiancé (Prospective Marriage) Visa
It is possible to make an application on the basis of your intention to get married.
This visa allows entry to Australia with full work rights. It is a temporary visa granted for 9 months during which time you are expected to be married in order to then submit the onshore 820/801 visa.
You may also be able to obtain a partner visa if you can evidence one of the following relationships:
De facto relationship for a period of least 12 months
A provisional visa is granted first if the length of your relationship, at time of application, is less than three years. Your visa will be issued with full work right, multiple re-entry facility and access to Medicare.
Two years from the date of visa lodgement, there is the requirement of a second application where further processing for permanent residency is conducted.
The staged process is the Department of Home Affairs way of safeguarding against people who are not in a genuine relationship. If the relationship breaks down before the two years is up, the permanent application may not be approved unless certain circumstances apply.
All partner applications are judged on the genuineness of the relationship and applicants are required to prove that they are in a long term, committed relationship with their sponsor. This is done by providing documentation showing that they have shared life and a commitment to each other, covering the four areas of assessment:
Financial aspects of the relationship
A shared household
Nature of the commitment
Prospective Marriage visa applicants are not expected to show evidence of a shared household however any documentation they have in this regard would strengthen the application.
Things to Consider Before Applying for a Partner Visa
The visa process can strain your relationship
With Processing time varying in general from 23 to 31 months and base government fees of over $7K; the Partner Visa process may put a lot of pressure on couples to ensure the application is successful the first time. Moreover, some couples may face long periods apart as a result of the processing times.
It is harder than you think to prove your relationship on paper
While it may be easy to convince your family and friends that you are in a relationship, are you aware of the difference between girlfriend/boyfriend and being in a de-facto spouse relationship?
Have you ever thought about what your relationship looks like on paper? Can you both recall the exact date you met? What if your parents don’t approve of your partner? What if one of your friends isn’t convinced? The reality is that all these questions are highly relevant to the Department of Immigration when it comes to assessing a couple’s relationship on paper for a partner visa.When applying for a Partner Visa, it is up to the applicant to present their application clearly and precisely so that the decision maker has a full understanding of the relationship. A partner visa application is similar to a jigsaw puzzle, you need to present your application in a finished state rather than leaving pieces out of the puzzle that would result in an incomplete or flawed application.
It is the most used visa with the highest refusal rate
As partner visa applications are the most used category of visa, attract a very high refusal rate and come with a high government fee, it is best to be fully prepared and submit the best possible application. The true test of your love is not in sickness and health but whether a Delegate of the Minister is convinced of your relationship by the evidence before them. The Department will conduct comprehensive searches to cross-check your information and you may be requested to explain the reason for any inconsistencies. However, the Department is not obliged to make any requests and may simply refuse your application.
Understanding how to navigate through these requirements may seem straight forward but it can be in these situations where a carefully prepared application can fall apart, particularly for example where convictions expunged from records, are not, or have never been, declared to the Department.
Changes to the Program!
Upcoming changes to onshore partner applications mean that your sponsor will need to lodge their sponsorship application and have it positively assessed before you will be eligible to submit your visa application.
It is unclear when these changes will take effect and what the processing time will be for sponsorship applications. However, we do expect that you will not be able to have a bridging visa A during the processing of the sponsorship and until such time as your visa application is submitted. If you have limited time remaining on your current visa, our recommendation would be to seek immediate professional advice.