Key criteria to qualify for a partner visa
The type of visa you apply for depend on the stage of your application and whether you are onshore or offshore:
Temporary Partner Visa (820) → Permanent Partner Visa (801)
Temporary Partner Visa (309) → Permanent Partner Visa (100)
Prospective Marriage Visa (300) → Temporary Partner Visa (820) → Permanent Partner Visa (801)
Type of Relationship
In order to qualify for a partner visa, there must be a relationship which is either :
- A marriage;
- A de facto relationship;
- A registered relationship under Australian or Territory law; or
- A prospective marriage
Genuine and Continuing
Whether or not the couple are married, in a registered relationship or de facto, the case officer must be satisfied that the relationship is genuine and continuing.
There is no single way to prove that your relationship is genuine and continuing. Rather, a case officer will look at the totality of evidence provided that point to these factors:
- Joint ownership of real estate or other major assets
- Joint bank accounts, joint loans, and any other pooling of financial resources
- Sharing of household expenses
- Sharing of care and support of any children
- Sharing a house and the responsibility for housework
- The opinion of friends and acquaintances about the couple
- Joint social activities planned or undertaken
- Duration of the relationship and the length of time living together
- The degree of companionship and emotional support between the couple
- Whether the person see the relationship as a long – term one
Not living apart on a permanent basis
It is a requirement for all partner visas except for the prospective marriage visa, that the couple have lived together. Sometimes couples live apart for extended periods of time. As long as the living apart is not on a permanent basis these periods will still be included as ‘living together’ for the purposes of the visa. A good example of this is where one member of the couple has to travel for work under fly in fly out arrangements.
Minimum length of the relationship
There is no minimum length for a married couple or a couple that has registered their relationship. However it is important to remember that the length of the relationship is always a consideration in deciding whether the couple meet the genuine and continuing criterion.
For de facto couples a minimum 12 month de facto relationship must exist unless there are compassionate or compelling circumstances, in which case there is no minimum length for the relationship.
Otherwise known as the ‘fiance visa’ this visa is valid for 9 months and carries full work and study rights. Once the applicant has entered Australia and married the sponsor, an application for a subclass 820 visa can be made just like any other spouse application.
Public Interest Criteria
Like almost all visas, partner visas carry these general requirements for Health, Character, Debts to the Commonwealth, and Australian Values Statement.
If you are unsure of meeting any of these criteria you should contact a professional to assess your ability to overcome any potential refusal on these grounds. Migration agents can prepare submissions on your behalf to give your application every opportunity for approval.
English language Requirement
There is no English language requirement for a partner visa.
Period of Visa
Partner visas are issued in two stages – first the temporary visa is issued and then, after 2 years, a permanent partner visa is issued.
Both forms of partner visa carry multiple entry rights.
A partner visa carries full work rights.
Key conditions for holders of partner visas
Must notify the Department of any change of details
Until you receive your permanent visa, you must notify the Department of Immigration if:
- you change address
- your circumstances change
- your relationship with your partner ends
The sponsoring partner has certain responsibilities until permanent residency is granted:
- responsible for all financial obligations to the Australian Government that your partner might incur while they are in Australia
- agree to provide adequate accommodation and financial assistance as required to meet your partner’s reasonable living needs
- will provide financial and other support, such as childcare, that will enable your partner to attend any English classes they need
- will provide information and advice to help your partner settle in Australia. This information and advice includes telling your partner about employment in Australia.
- immediately notify the department if your relationship with your partner breaks down.
School age family members
Any family members of school age (between five and 18 years) living in Australia must attend school in Australia.
Family Member Obligations
All dependant family members must also abide by their visa conditions, which in most cases will be the same as the primary visa holder. A breach of these conditions may result in visa cancellation. It is the primary visa holder’s responsibility to ensure that family members abide by the conditions of their visa.