The purpose of this fact sheet is to provide a general overview of the subclass 100 visa and the matters which you will need to address should you seek to apply for this visa. It focuses on the more common scenarios that normally arise for offshore partner visa applicants and therefore does not cover all possible options/scenarios. It is also beyond the scope of this discussion to provide a detailed description of all the applicable factors which you will need to consider. We therefore strongly recommend if you are considering applying for the subclass 100 visa, that you make the proper further enquiries to ensure you are fully informed about your eligibility, the application process and the documentary evidence requirements that apply before you lodge your application. This will give you the best chance of a successful outcome, and potentially avoid unnecessary processing delays or a potential visa refusal. Getting it right the first time also means you avoid the loss of valuable time and money that comes with a visa refusal decision.

How does the permanent partner visa subclass 100 work?

The subclass 100 is a permanent residence visa designed for applicants who are either married to or are in a de-facto relationship with, an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen and who seek to live in Australia with their Australian partner.

This visa is the final stage in the offshore partner visa application, a process which comprises the following steps:

Step 1: You first need to lodge a combined subclass 309/100 visa application, which, if granted, will allow you to enter and reside in Australia whilst you await processing of your subclass 100 permanent residence visa application.

Step 2: Two years following lodgement of your application, the Department will assess whether you continue to satisfy the requirements for a grant of the subclass 100 visa. A key factor in this assessment will be whether you remain in a married or de-facto relationship with your Australian partner.

The combined subclass 309/100 application must be lodged from offshore, and you must also be located outside Australia at the time of grant of the temporary visa. For grant of the subclass 100 visa, you can be located either in or outside Australia.
It is also a requirement that your partner sponsor you for this visa.

Visa Subclass 100 conditions

Long-term relationship

If your relationship with your Australian partner is deemed to be a long-term relationship under the migration law provisions, your application will be condensed to one stage only, with a successful application resulting in grant of the subclass 100 permanent residence visa at the first stage in the process (i.e. when Immigration first assesses your combined subclass 309/100 visa application).

A relationship is a long-term one for these purposes when it has been in existence for a minimum period of either:

3 years; or
2 years where there is a dependent child from the relationship.

Are you eligible to apply for the subclass 100 visa?

You must meet the following requirements for visa grant:

You must be aged 18 years or older (there are exceptions for married couples).

You must be married to, or be in a de-facto relationship with, an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen.
Your sponsor must be aged 18 or older (there are exceptions for married couples).

You must be sponsored by your Australian partner (note that certain individuals are prohibited from being a sponsor). If your partner is aged under 18, you must be sponsored by their parent or guardian.

Your sponsor must meet a ‘character’ requirement and provide police clearances as evidence that this condition is satisfied.
You must meet health and character requirements.

Your relationship conditions for visa 100 eligibility

An assessment of your relationship with your Australian partner will be one of the key aspects in determining whether you meet the requirements for visa grant. It must satisfy the relevant definition in accordance with migration law provisions, which may not always correspond with its ordinary meaning. As an example, a de facto relationship can be defined in various ways according to different laws and countries. Similarly, a marriage may be valid in another country, but may not be recognised in Australia. It is therefore very important to check these definitions as you plan your visa pathway, as failing to meet these requirements will result in your application being refused.
Under these requirements, you must either be married to or be in a de-facto relationship with, your Australian partner.

Marriage

If you and your Australian partner are married, you must satisfy the following requirements:
Your marriage must be legally valid in Australia (if you were married overseas, your marriage must be recognised in Australia to meet this requirement)

You and your partner have a mutual commitment to a shared life as a married couple to the exclusion of all others
Your relationship is genuine and continuing; and
You either live together, or you do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis

De-facto relationship

If you and your Australian partner are not legally married, the following requirements must be satisfied:

You and your partner have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others.
Your relationship is genuine and continuing; and
You either live together, or you do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis.
You are not related by family.

For a de-facto relationship to qualify for visa grant, it must have been in existence for at least 12 months immediately before the visa application lodgement date, and you must provide appropriate supporting evidence to document that this requirement has been satisfied.

An exemption from the 12-month minimum relationship period requirement applies in the following circumstances:

You can demonstrate that compelling and compassionate circumstances exist for grant of the visa;
Your sponsoring partner either is, or was, the holder of a permanent humanitarian visa, and before the grant of that visa, had declared the existence of your de facto relationship to Immigration;
Your sponsor has applied for a permanent humanitarian visa; or
Your relationship is registered with an Australian State or Territory Government

The Department will assess whether your relationship with your Australian partner satisfies the relevant definition for visa application purposes by considering the following four relationship aspects:

Financial (joint ownership of major assets, e.g. property, joint financial responsibilities and/or pooling of your financial resources)
Social (is your relationship known to third parties, e.g. to family and friends?)
Household (shared domestic responsibilities in your household, and organising your daily lives together)
Nature of your commitment to one another (do you intend to be in a committed, long-term and exclusive married or de-facto relationship?)

As part of the visa lodgement process, you must provide documentary evidence to address each of the above relationship aspects. It is important to also ensure that this evidence covers the entire period of your relationship. If you are lacking evidence in relation to any of these aspects, provide reason/s for this and supply relevant evidence, where applicable.

How can you apply for the subclass 100 visa?

It is essential that you lodge your application in the correct manner in accordance with the visa lodgement requirements. Failing to do so will result in your application being deemed invalid and consequently, you will then need to re-apply.
The combined subclass 309/100 visa application must be lodged when you are located outside Australia. The application form and supporting documents are submitted online and your Australian partner will also need to lodge a sponsorship application form and provide specified documents via the same online portal.

You will need to submit the following types of evidence with your application:

Identity documents (e.g. passport and birth certificate)
Character documents (e.g. police clearances)
Relationship evidence documents (see below)
Documents evidencing your relationship must be provided to address each of the relationship aspects, as discussed above. Other documents required include:
Marriage Certificate or Relationship Registration Certificate, where applicable
At least two Form 888’s (these are supporting witness statutory declarations confirming that your relationship is genuine)
Written statements or Statutory Declaration prepared by both you and your partner about your relationship, and which cover the history and development of your relationship and the relationship aspects discussed above.

How much will it cost to apply for a subclass 100 visa?

The current application fees to lodge a combined subclass 309/100 visa application are listed in the table below. Note these fees are subject to change, and you should, therefore, confirm the costs that will apply in your case before proceeding with lodgement. They can also vary, depending on your individual circumstances. Below is the most common application scenario to give you an indication of what to expect.

A payment surcharge may also be applied as an extra fee, with the rate depending on the method used for payment.
Note that an ‘additional applicant’ refers to cases where another person is included in the application (e.g. a child).
Other expected costs

In addition to the visa lodgement fee, you are also likely to incur other costs as part of the application process. These additional costs will depend on your individual circumstances and may include the following:
Health examinations, specialist and associated additional fees where issues are identified.
Character checks (costs and requirements will depend on the county for which you apply).
Translating original documents where they are not in English.

Note: this is not an exhaustive list and you may incur other costs that are specific to your case.

If you engage a migration agent or immigration lawyer to assist with your application, they will also charge a professional fee for their service. This fee will be confirmed and must be agreed to by you prior to the commencement of your service agreement.

How long will it take for a decision to be made on your subclass 100 application?

The current average processing time for the subclass 100 visa is between 19 and 25 months (based on 75-90% of applications lodged).
Note that this is approximate only and is subject to change. How long your application takes to process will depend on your individual circumstances and whether any issues arise during the assessment process which requires further investigation (this may occur, for example, if the Department requires further evidence to confirm that your relationship with your Australian partner is genuine).
There are things that you can do to reduce the chances of any additional processing delays arising, most importantly, providing strong supporting evidence addressing all visa grant requirements. If there are potential issues in satisfying these requirements, or if there is a shortfall in evidence, you should provide explanations for this and provide relevant explanations and evidence, as applicable. This is an example of how being fully informed about the specific requirements that apply, and the types of factors that can cause issues, and consequently triggering the attention of the Department, is so important. Being aware of this information will mean that you can anticipate them before they arise and proactively address them at the time of lodgement. This should, in turn, reduce the likelihood of additional processing delays or a potential visa refusal.

What happens once 2 years have passed since you lodged your application?

The Department will assess whether you continue to meet requirements for the grant of the subclass 100 permanent residence visa once 2 years have passed since lodgement of your combined subclass 309/100 application.
A key part of this assessment will be whether you and your Australian sponsoring partner remain in a married or de-facto relationship since your subclass 309 temporary residence visa was granted. The Department will contact you and provide a list of required documents for this purpose. As this document checklist is publicly available, you can start preparing your documents in advance and provide them to the Department before being prompted to do so. Note that you should send your documents no earlier than 1 month before the 2-year period has been reached.

What happens if the subclass 100 visa is granted?

You can be located either in or outside Australia for visa grant.

If your application is successful, you will be granted permanent residence in Australia. This will enable you to reside in Australia indefinitely, and work and study without restriction. You will also be granted a travel facility which will be valid for 5 years from the date of visa grant.

What happens if the subclass 100 visa is refused?

If your application for the permanent residence visa is unsuccessful, you may be able to lodge an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). This is called a ‘merits review’ and is subject to strict requirements governing how it is to be conducted. If you have the right to have your case reviewed, you need to ensure that you abide by these requirements. Otherwise, you run the risk of having your review application deemed invalid and then having to re-apply (if you are still eligible to do so at that stage, in light of the strict time limits imposed).
In conducting its review, the AAT will assess your application and evidence, as lodged with Immigration, to determine whether it made the correct decision, using the same legislative provisions as were applied in making the original decision. The AAT can also take into account information that you provide as part of the review, which may include a Tribunal hearing where you can provide oral evidence in support of your case.

The AAT can either set aside, vary or affirm the Department’s original decision, or it can remit your application to the Department to be reconsidered with specific directions.
If you find yourself in this situation, it is critical that you act quickly as strict deadlines apply.

For up to date advice on the subclass 100 visa application, including an assessment of your eligibility for visa grant and the process for applying, book your confidential consultation with a migration agent in Adelaide. PAX Migration Australia is a leading immigration advice service based in Adelaide, and we aren’t expensive! Contact us today.