All non-Australian citizens must have a visa to visit or migrate to Australia. A person may be able to migrate to Australia permanently if they are in a relationship with an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen. The relationship should be a married relationship, a de facto relationship, a prospective marriage (fiancÚ(e)), or an interdependent relationship. Interdependent relationships are usually a same sex partner relationship.
All applicants for a partner visa must have a sponsor. The sponsor is normally the person who is in the relationship with the applicant. The sponsor must meet a range of criteria to validly sponsor the applicant.
Partner migration is generally a 2-stage process. First, when requirements are met, a temporary visa will be granted. Subject to some exceptions, two years later, the relationship and other requirements will again be assessed and the applicant considered for a permanent visa. People intending to marry may apply for a Prospective Marriage visa and will have a 9-month period after they are granted a temporary visa, to enter Australia and then get married before they apply for a Spouse visa based on their married relationship.
As a part of the application process, the relationship will be assessed. The relationship must meet certain criteria for the visa to be issued. Applicants and any people included in their application must also meet certain legal criteria before they can be issued a partner visa. These include health and character requirements.
To apply for a Spouse visa on the basis of your marriage, you must be legally married to your partner. If you were married in a country other than Australia, your marriage will generally be recognised as valid under Australian law if it is valid in that country. There are some exceptions, such as same-sex, underage or polygamous marriages, which are not accepted in Australia.
De facto spouses
If you are applying for a Spouse visa as a de facto spouse, you and your partner generally must have been in a de facto relationship for the 12 months immediately prior to lodging your application. A de facto relationship is one where the parties are in a spouse-like relationship and have a mutual commitment to a shared life together.
If you lodge your application outside Australia, you must be outside Australia when the temporary visa is granted. If you lodge your application in Australia, you must be in Australia when the temporary visa is granted.
If you are granted a temporary visa, you will:
have permission to travel to and from Australia until a decision is made on your permanent visa application be able to work in Australia and if you lodged your application outside Australia, be able to apply for a Medicare card.
If you move or your circumstances change (Examples: if you separate or you have another child etc.), you must notify the office handling your application.
Approximately 2 years after you first made your application, you will be assessed for the grant of a permanent visa.
If you lodge your application outside Australia, you may be either in or outside Australia when the permanent visa is granted. If you lodge your application in Australia, you must be in Australia when the permanent visa is granted.
In most cases, permanent residence cannot be granted until 2 years after you lodge your application. However, you may be granted a permanent visa without having to fulfil the usual 2 year waiting period if:
at the time you apply you have been in a spouse relationship with your partner for 5 years or more, or 2 years or more where there are dependent children of the relationship or your spouse was granted a Protection visa or a permanent visa under the humanitarian program, you were in the relationship before the visa was granted and this had been declared to the department at the time.
Prospective Marriage Visa
To be eligible to apply for a Prospective Marriage visa, you must be outside Australia when you apply and when the visa is granted. To be granted a Prospective Marriage visa, you and your intended spouse must have physically met and be personally known to each other. Your intended spouse must be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.
A Prospective Marriage visa is a temporary visa that remains valid for 9 months from the date it is granted. If you are granted a Prospective Marriage visa, you must enter Australia and then marry your sponsor within the validity period of the visa. You can then apply for a Spouse visa in Australia.
To be eligible for a Prospective Marriage visa, you must:
If you are granted a Prospective Marriage visa, to then be eligible for a Spouse visa you:
The Interdependency visa is for persons who are in an interdependent relationship with an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen. Generally this visa is for same-sex partners.
To be eligible for an Interdependency visa you must:
12-month relationship requirement
You should note that when you apply for an Interdependency visa, you must be able to show that you and your sponsor have been in your interdependent relationship for the 12 months immediately prior to making your application. An interdependent relationship is one in which a couple have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of any spouse relationships or any other interdependent relationships; and the relationship between them is genuine and continuing, and they live together, or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis.
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