Partner/Spouse Visa Options

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Partner category visas have three categories:

  1. Spouse of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, or
  2. Fiancé of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, or
  3. De facto partner (including same-sex relationships) with an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.

In addition, the spouse or de factor partnership must

For De Facto Partners – who are being sponsored in any of the following categories - a permanent, Business Skills (Provisional), Student (Temporary), Partner (Provisional), Partner (Temporary), or a General Skilled Migration visa, the de facto relationship must have existed for at least 12 months immediately before application is lodged and received by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

Partner Visa Application may be lodged outside or inside Australia

Applying outside Australia is a two-step process:

  1. Spouse (married foreign partner) applies for a Subclass 309 Partner Provisional Visa, then
  2. Apply for Permanent Partner (Migrant) Visa – Subclass 100) two years after first applying for the subclass 309 provided the applicant is still in a relationship with the Australian partner and the subclass 100 is lodged with the required documentation and appropriate fees.

You can apply if you intend to marry your partner before a decision on your visa is made.

In most cases, permanent residence cannot be granted less than two years from when you lodge your application.

Provisional and Permanent Visa – Foreign spouses/partners are usually granted provisional residency status. However, the usual two-year waiting period may be waived if

  1. at the time of application a minimum three-year partner relationship with your partner could be established, or
  2. the sponsor and applicant have been in partner relationship for two years or more and they have dependent child from the relationship, or
  3. the sponsor holds or held a permanent humanitarian visa; both have been in the relationship before the visa was granted to the sponsor, and this relationship was declared to the department at the time of the grant of the humanitarian visa.

Married applicants must ensure that their marriage is valid under Australian law.  Regulations state that “underage, polygamous and same-sex marriages are not legal in Australia. The marriage could be valid under limited circumstances if one person is younger than 18 years of age. Same-sex couples can apply for this visa based on their de facto relationship.”

De facto applicants

A de facto or common-law relationship “must have existed for at least 12 months immediately before applying for this visa. Time spent dating does not count towards the length of the claimed de facto relationship.”

The 12-month de facto relationship may be waived and the visa granted if the sponsor/applicant can

  1. demonstrate compelling and compassionate circumstances, such as having dependent children;
  2. the sponsor has been granted a permanent humanitarian visa and your de facto relationship existed before it was issued,
  3. the relationship had been disclosed before the humanitarian visa was granted and
  4. the de facto relationship has been registered in Australia (where registration is required in the state or territory).

Health requirements

Applicant partner (AP) must meet certain health requirements. Results of health examinations of all dependent family members (whether migrating or not) are generally valid for 12 months.

Character requirements . AP must provide a police certificate from each country that s/he had lived, worked, stayed in for 12 months or more during the past 10 years after turning 16 years of age.  However, applicant partners (and dependent family members listed in the application, whether migrating or not) should not arrange for police certificates until instructed by the Department.

Debts to the Australian Government -  AP must not have any outstanding debts to the Australian Government or have arranged to repay any outstanding debts to the Australian Government, otherwise the visa would be refused.

Biometrics-Instructions if required shall be as provided as part of the application.

Family members who could be included in your application are

Documentary evidence of the child's relationship to the applicant/sponsor must be provided.​​

How to apply

  1. Prepare your documents - You need to provide documents to prove the claims you make in the application. The documents are listed in the Document checklist. Some documents could take some time to obtain. You should have them ready when you lodge the application to reduce any delays in processing. If you cannot get some documents in time to include them with your application:

After you have applied – Your application will be properly acknowledged with file reference identifier. If application was done online, tracking is possible using an ImmigAccount created during filing.

Decision on your visa application may take some time. Delays may also be possible due to character or health checks.  To check the average or standard processing time for visa applications, click here - http://www.border.gov.au/about/access-accountability/service-standards

Applicants are advised not to make arrangement – quitting your job, selling your house or abandoning residence, book your travel to Australia until  a visa decision in writing is issued.

Visa decision- If the visa is granted, instructions on when to use the visa (validity) the visa grant number and any other visa conditions will be issued as well. If not granted, a reason for refusal, review rights and deadline to lodge an appeal shall also be provided.

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