Australian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor their partners (including same sex) to apply for a Partner visa. Partner visas are available to people who are engaged to be married, who are married, or who have been living together in a de facto relationship for at least 12 months.
Prospective Marriage visa
The Prospective Marriage visa allows a person who is engaged to an Australian permanent resident or citizen to come to Australia to marry their Australian fiancé. This visa is valid for 9 months and carries full work rights. After getting married you can apply for a Provisional and then Permanent Partner visa. You must be outside Australia when you apply for this visa and outside Australia when the decision is made.
After applying for the Prospective Marriage visa you may travel to Australia with a Visitor visa or another kind of visa to visit your partner while the Prospective Marriage visa is being processed.
Provisional Partner visa and Permanent Partner visa
The Provisional Partner visa allows an Australian permanent resident or citizen who is married to or in a de facto relationship with a non-Australia to sponsor their partner (including same sex partner) to migrate to Australia. This visa carries full work rights and allows free access to the public health system. The visa is in most cases initially granted for 2 years, and if after two years the marriage or de facto relationship is on-going, a Permanent Partner visa is granted.
If you and your partner have been married for more than 3 years or you have children the Partner visa can be permanent from the date of the grant.
To apply for a Partner visa you need to prove that the relationship is genuine and you are committed to a life together to the exclusion of all other persons.
While the legal criteria are simple the evidence needed to prove the relationship is genuine and that you are committed to a life together can be complex. Decisions are not made based on any one document, such as a marriage certificate that could be fraudulent, or on the amount of evidence but rather involve the Case Officer forming a subjective opinion based on the documentation of the genuineness of your relationship.
Proving a de facto relationship
To meet the visa rules for a de facto Partner visa you need to prove you have lived with your partner in a genuine de facto relationship for at least 12 months before applying for the visa. You are considered to be in a de facto relationship with another person if the following apply:
- You have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others;
- The relationship is genuine and continuing; and
- You live together or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis.
Given the potential confusion in deciding what kind of visa best suites your personal circumstances we strongly recommend you arrange an initial Legal Assessment with VisAustralia.
At the Assessment we will assist you decide which visa is best for you taking into account the special circumstances of your relationship. We will also discuss the kinds of evidence you need to make successful sponsorship and Partner visa applications, the time frames for applying, and the cost implications of your different options.
The Legal Assessment can be by teleconference if you and your partner are in different locations and at the end of the Legal Assessment we will confirm our advice in writing.
On signing the VisAustralia Agreement we will work closely with you to prepare high quality sponsorship and visa applications. We will assist you compile evidence of your relationship demonstrating you and your partner meet the visa criteria. A professionally prepared application is the best way to ensure your application will receive favourable consideration by the Australian Government.
For more information about applying for a Partner visa we invite you to contact VisAustralia and book a Legal Assessment with one of our lawyers or migration agents.