If you are married or in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you can join them in Australia with a Partner Visa.
Australian Partner Visas are divided into Onshore and Offshore visas, which differ based on where you are when you lodge the application – in Australia or outside. They are further divided into temporary and permanent visas, based on their duration.
Another type of Partner Visa, which does not fall into either category is the Prospective Marriage Visa, which many also refer to as a fiance visa.
Australia Partner Visa Types
Here are the types of Australian visas for partners and spouses:
- Prospective marriage visa. You can get a Prospective Marriage Visa if you are engaged to an Australian citizen or resident, and you wish to marry them in Australia. This type of visa allows you to live there for 9 to 15 months, during which time you have to marry your fiance.
- Onshore Partner Visas. The Onshore Partner Visas allow you to submit your visa application from within Australia and wait for it to be processed there. There is a joint application process, so you have to apply for both of them at the same time. However, you will receive the 820 first and wait two years until you become eligible for permanent residency. There are two visas:
- Offshore Partner Visas. The Offshore Partner Visas allow you to submit your application from outside Australia. Once you receive your visa, you can join your partner and wait to become eligible for permanent residency. You have to apply for both the Subclass 309 and Subclass 100 Visa at the same time, but you will only receive the permanent visa once two years have passed since you got the temporary visa. You have to be outside Australia when you apply and when you receive the 309 Visa, but you can be in or outside Australia when you receive the permanent visa.There are two Offshore Partner Visas:
Difference Between the Temporary and Permanent Visas
Even though you apply for the Temporary (Subclass 820/309) and Permanent (Subclass 801/100) Partner visas at the same time, you do not receive them simultaneously. You have to wait for two years to pass since the grant of a temporary visa to receive the permanent one. During this time, you will be living in Australia with your partner.
Two years after you receive the Temporary Visa, the Department of Home Affairs will notify you that they have started to process your permanent residency application and you will be required to submit a few other documents.
You will pay the visa application fee at the very start when you submit the joint application, so for a Permanent Visa, you do not need to pay anything.
The reason you do not receive the permanent visa immediately is because the Australian Immigration Authorities want to make sure that you really have ties to Australia before settling there permanently.
Note: If you and your partner have been married or in a de facto relationship for longer than three years, you do not need to wait another two years to get permanent residency. You will receive it immediately.
General Conditions for an Australian Partner Visa
To be eligible for an Australian Partner Visa, you and your partner must meet these conditions:
- Your partner has to be an Australian citizen, a permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen.
- You must be adults (over 18 years old).
- You must either be married or in a de facto relationship (i.e. you live together, share finances and domestic lives, etc.)
- You must have been in a relationship for at least twelve months at the time of application.
- You must be in a genuine, exclusive relationship.
- You must be able to prove the authenticity of your relationship.
There are also certain conditions that your partner in Australia must meet to be eligible to sponsor you:
- Your partner cannot sponsor more than two partners in their lifetime. So if they have already sponsored two other people previously, they cannot sponsor you.
- Your partner cannot sponsor you if they have already sponsored another partner within the last five years.
- If your partner was sponsored and received their own Permanent Partner Visa within the last five years, they cannot sponsor you. They must wait until five years have passed since they received the visa.
How to Prove a Relationship is Genuine?
To prove your relationship is genuine, the Australian visa authorities will ask you to provide several documents. This can be utility bills addressed to both of you to prove you share domestic matters, a joint bank account to prove you share finances, phone records to prove you keep in touch when you are apart, pictures of the two of you together and with other people to prove you have spent time together and that other people know of your relationship, etc.
Before you receive the permanent visa, two people that know both you and your partner know will have to complete a form, which is intended to serve as a guarantee by that person that you and your partner are indeed a couple.
The documents you are required to provide for an Australian visa will be listed on the ImmiAccount when you submit the application. They may differ on a case-by-case basis.
Can You Become an Australian Citizen By Marriage?
Yes, it will take a few years, but marrying an Australian citizen or resident can lead to Australian citizenship for you as well. Once you receive the Permanent Partner Visa, you can submit your application for citizenship after four years, if you meet all other requirements, such as:
- Not having been outside Australia for longer than 12 months in the four years prior to the application.
- Not having been outside Australia for longer than 90 days in the 12 months prior to the application.
- Having some basic knowledge of the English language as well as the Australian culture, society, and way of life.