You may be eligible for a partner visa if you are in a relationship with an Australian citizen, Permanent Resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen.
You must either be married or in have lived together in a de-facto relationship.
In order to be eligible for a partner visa, you must meet the following criteria:
You will need to show that you and your partner have a commitment to a shared life together, to the exclusion of all others. You and your partner must live together, or at least not live apart on a permanent basis.
The Department of Immigration will look at a number of aspects of your relationship, including:
- Cohabitation: Usually evidenced through showing correspondence addressed to both of you at the same address
- Financial Interdependence: For example, joint bank accounts, joint ownership of property, joint financial commitment such as leases, mortgages, insurance policies.
- Social aspects of the relationship: Joint travel, joint social activities, joint participation in cultural or sporting activities.
Defacto Relationship – 12 Months Cohabitation
A defacto relationship would require documentary evidence that you have lived with your partner for the last 12 months.
It is possible to get a waiver of the 12 month requirement in cases where you are unable to live together for compelling and compassionate reasons.
If you are married, you do not need to show 12 months of cohabitation, but will need to show that you are currently living together. If you have had your relationship registered in an Australian state or territory, you would be similarly exempt from the 12-month cohabitation requirement.
Health & Character
You will need to provide full health and police checks. If you do have a medical condition, a waiver of the usual health requirements is possible where the cost to the Australian community of treating the condition is not undue.
Visa Conditions and Duration
Once your initial partner application is granted, you will in most cases be issued with a Temporary Partner Visa. This will allow you to stay in Australia with full work and travel rights, as well as access to Medicare.
After the two year period, the Department of Immigration will consider granting you a Permanent Partner Visa. At this stage, you will be asked for current evidence of your relationship.
In some circumstances, a waiver is available for the 2 year period before applying for permanent residence:
- if you have been in the relationship with your partner for three years or more at the time of application; or
- if you have been in the relationship for two years where there are dependent children of the relationship; or
- if your partner was granted a permanent visa under the humanitarian program or was granted a protection visa and was in the relationship with you before the visa was granted and this relationship was declared to the Department of Immigration at the time.
In some circumstances, you may be eligible for permanent residence even if the relationship has broken up before the end of the 2 year period. These circumstances include:
- If your partner has died during this period; or
- If you and your Australian partner have children under 18 years of age; or
- If you or your dependants have been subject to domestic violence during this period.
If you intend to marry an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you may be eligible for a fiance or prospective spouse visa.
In order to be eligible for a fiance visa, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be engaged to an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.
- Intend to get married in Australia, then live in a spouse relationship together.
- You and your fiance have met and are personally known to each other.
- Both you and your fiance must in general be aged 18 years or over.
- You must be outside Australia both at the time of application and time of decision.
Visa Conditions and Duration
A fiance visa lasts 9 months, during which you are expected marry your sponsor. You will be entitled to full work rights for the duration of the fiance visa. Once you are married, you will be eligible to apply for permanent partner visa.