Thinking about applying for a partner visa? Did you know that you can apply for partner visa without getting married?
You can lodge your partner visa application immediately, if:
- you have registered your marriage or
- entered into a civil partnership in an Australian state or territory or
- you have been in a de facto relationship for 12 months or more
As compared to skilled migration visa and investment visas, partner visas can be said to be have a lower threshold. However this does not mean that the visa is easy to obtain.
The success rate of a partner visa is determined by the documents produced upon application. It is very unfortunate that since many believe that 9 out of 10 applications will succeed, they become complacent and end up having their partner visa application refused due to insufficient documents provided or have their relationship be considered non-genuine.
The Department of Home Affairs places a high regard to the type of evidence provided by applicants to prove their relationship with their partner despite there being no clear definition as to what “genuine and continuing” means. Each application is determined on a case by case basis.
Let us breakdown the different types of partner visas and the relevant materials needed for each visa application.
1. Types of Partner Visas
There are three main types of partner visas：
- Prospective Marriage Visa, subclass 300
- Partner Visa, subclass 820/801
- Partner Visa, subclass 309/100
1.1 Prospective Marriage Visa（subclass 300)
This visa lets you come to Australia to marry your prospective spouse and then apply for a Partner visa. It is a temporary visa that is valid for 9 months.
Your sponsor must be:
- Australian citizen
- Australian permanent resident, or
- eligible New Zealand citizen
Applicants must meet the following criteria:
- The applicant must be outside of Australia when you apply and when the decision of your application is being made
- You and your prospective spouse have met face-to-face as adults since turning 18 and know each other personally
- Prove that that you will marry your prospective spouse within 9 months of being granted the visa
- Prove that you and your prospective spouse genuinely intend to live as spouses
- The applicant has no previous record of having a visa cancelled or an application refused
There is no requirement for you to marry your partner in Australia. If you intend to marry overseas, you must still enter Australia within the 9-month visa period before you marry. Thereafter you can depart Australia to marry overseas. You must then re-enter Australia within the 9-month visa period and apply for 820/801 partner visa onshore. Note that your overseas marriage must be legally valid in Australia.
For more information regarding the subclass 300 visa, please click here.
1.2 Partner Visa – apply in Australia（subclass 820/801）
You must be in Australia when you apply. The partner visa is divided into 2 stages：
- Stage 1：Partner visa (Temporary)（subclass 820）
- Stage 2：Partner visa (Permanent)（subclass 801）
Typically, applicants will first be granted a temporary partner visa and be granted the permanent partner visa 2 years later.
For more information regarding partner visas, please click here.
1.3 Partner Visa – apply overseas（309/100 visa）
You must be outside Australia when you apply. Similarly, this partner visa is divided into 2 stages:
- Stage 1：Partner (Provisional) visa（subclass 309）
- Stage 2：Partner (Migrant) visa（subclass 100）
Alike the application of partner visa applied within Australia, applicants who are granted the partner (provisional) visa will usually have to wait 2 years before the grant of the partner (migrant) visa.
You may find out more information here.
2. Preparation and submission of documents
2.1 What documents should the applicant and sponsor prepare?
The focus of the Department of Home Affairs is to determine that your relationship is genuine and continuing.
Apart from marriage certificate or registration of de facto relationship, your should provide the following documents to prove your relationship with your partner:
2.2 How to waive 12-month cohabitation requirement？
It is important to note that if parties are not married and have not lived together for more than 12 months, you should register your de facto relationship or have sufficient reasons and evidence to overcome the strict 12 month cohabitation requirement.
There are three special circumstances that will allow you to be exempted from the requirement:
- Register your de facto relationship in an Australian state or territory
- Show compelling and compassionate circumstances for grant of visa. This includes situations where there is a dependent child of the relationship
- You are not permitted by law in your home country to live and be with your partner
3. Two year waiting period
Whether you apply for your partner visa within or outside Australia, there is still a 2 year waiting period before you obtain your permanent visa. It is common that the applicant will obtain a temporary partner visa grant for a period of 2 years with full working rights in Australia. After 2 years, if the parties are still maintaining their genuine and continuing relationship, the applicant will be granted a permanent partner visa.
However, there are exceptional circumstances where the applicant does not have to wait for a period of 2 years and immediately obtain a permanent partner visa. The applicant must satisfy one of the following:
- At the time of applying for a visa, the applicant and the sponsor had been married or had maintained a genuine relationship for more than 3 years
- At the time of application for a visa, the applicant and the sponsor had been married, or had maintained a real relationship for more than 2 years, and have had children
- The applicant has been subjected to domestic violence and is a victim of domestic violence
- Your partner holds or held a permanent humanitarian visa and you were in the relationship before the visa was granted and this relationship was declared to the department at the time (applies to subclass 100 visas only)
If you or someone you know requires assistance with regard to a partner visa, please do not hesitate to contact us! Ascent Lawyers is always ready to be at your service.
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Special notice: This article is for informational purposes only and cannot be regarded as legal advice. Please contact us for specific advice tailored to your situation.