Partner visas offer individuals the chance to be reunited with their significant others in Australia. The country recognizes partners both in a registered marriage and in a de facto relationship.
To be eligible for an Australian partner visa, applicants must prove that they have an established and genuine relationship that has existed for at least 12 months prior to the application being lodged.
There are certain requirements that both applicants must fulfil. It is also needed to carefully gather documentation before making an application, for example, joint bills, ownership or rental of property, and invitations.
Partner visas provide the opportunity to engage in employment, study, and get health cover in Australia. They can eventually even lead to citizenship if certain criteria are met.
On the whole, partner visas enable foreign nationals to move closer to their partner in one of the most beautiful countries in the world – Australia!
Partner visa subclasses
There are two subclasses of a partner visa – a temporary partner visa (subclass 820) and a permanent partner visa (subclass 801).
A temporary visa allows its holders to enter Australia numerous times, live, work, and study in the country, attend free English language sources, and access a public health care scheme.
A permanent partner visa enables individuals to reside, work and study in the country permanently and sponsor eligible family members. Also, if a person meets the requirements, they can apply for Australian citizenship.
Partner visa eligibility
To be eligible for a partner visa, you must be married or be in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.
If you want to apply while in Australia, you need to be legally married to your partner. If you apply outside Australia, you must be legally married in your residence country (or any other country) or intend to get married in the near future.
An eligible de facto relationship doesn’t suppose being legally married, but a couple must be committed to a shared life, be monogamous, live together for at least 12 months and be not related by family.
So, whether you are married or have a de facto partner, for a spouse visa, your couple must meet the following requirements:
- you must have a genuine and exclusive relationship
- you must share a mutual commitment
- you must live together as a couple (you cannot live separately on a permanent basis)
- you must meet health and character requirements
How to apply for a Partner visa to Australia
If you satisfy all the conditions for an Australian partner visa, at first, you will be granted a temporary partner visa (subclass 820 for onshore or subclass 309 for offshore).
The visa application process consists of the following steps:
- You and your partner must complete separate application forms.
An applicant fills out an Application for migration to Australia by a partner, while an Australian partner completes a Sponsorship form for a partner to migrate to Australia.
- You should pay the service fees, review the application and submit it.
- Attach the requested documents.
You will be able to live in Australia under a temporary visa until you become eligible for a permanent visa, it’s about two years. If you still meet the requirements after that time, you’ll be eventually granted a permanent visa (subclass 801 or 100).
Required documents for obtaining a partner visa
Partner visa applications require quite a big package of documents:
- identity documents (birth certificate, family book, identification document issued by the government, court-issued document that proves your identity, family census register, national identity card);
- documents on your relationship (Form 888 – statutory declaration by a supporting witness in regard to a partner or a prospective marriage visa application, proof that your relationship is established and genuine, marriage certificate, if applicable);
- character documents (Completed Form 80 – Personal particulars for assessment including character assessment, police certificates, military service records or discharge papers, if applicable);
- health documents (only for an applicant; must be sent by a doctor).
Also, you need to provide documents proving the genuineness and continuity of your relationship:
- financial aspects of the relationship (joint bank accounts, loan documents of major assets, documents showing joint ownership or rental of property, household bills in both names);
- the nature of the household (statement about your living arrangements, joint responsibility for children);
- social aspects of the relationship (proof of joint travelling, sporting, cultural or social activities, joint invitations, declaration of your relationship to government bodies, commercial or public institutions);
- the nature of the commitment (letters and phone bills proving you contact each other, the terms of your wills, knowledge of each other’s personal information; a statement describing your relationship – how it started, developed, significant events, future plans).
What if your current visa expires?
If you have a current visa expiring before you obtain a temporary partner visa, you can stay in Australia by getting a bridging visa A.
If you have applied for a partner visa, you don’t need to apply separately for a bridging visa A, as it is granted to you automatically.
A bridging visa starts once your temporary visa ends. It doesn’t allow you to re-enter Australia. If you need to leave the country and then return, you should apply for a bridging visa B.
Bridging visas type A and B enables its holders to be employed, study, and enrol in a health care scheme in Australia.