A partner visa is a passport endorsement that allows the spouse or de-facto partner of an Australian citizen to live in Australia. This guide will cover everything you need to know if you’re interested in applying for a partner visa.
Qualifications for a partner visa
In order to qualify for a partner visa, you must be the spouse (married) of an:
- Australian citizen
- Australian permanent resident
- Eligible New Zealand citizen
Partner visa options
Choosing the right partner visa option will depend on a number of key factors such as the nature of your relationship (de facto, engaged, married), relationship length, current situation, and the time and location of your application. Let’s take a look at the options available:
- Fiancé (Prospective Marriage) Visa
The Fiancé Visa makes it possible to make an application based on your intentions of getting married to an Australian citizen. This visa grants entry to Australia along with full employment rights. The visa is temporary in nature and the applicant is given 9 months (a period of time which you are expected to get married) before proceeding to submit the onshore 20/801 visa subclass.
- Partner Visa
You may be able to acquire a partner visa if you can provide proof of evidence on the following relationships:
- Married to an Australian citizen
- De facto relationship of more than 12 months
- Formal registration of de facto relationship
- Partners of New Zealand Citizens living in Australia
This option is for individuals whose partner is a New Zealand citizen living in Australia. From here, you are eligible for a temporary partner visa that grants a 5-year stay in Australia.
If your relationship with an Australian citizen is less than three years at the time of your application, you will be given a provisional visa. Your visa will be issued with complete access to medicare, full employment rights and several re-entry facility. After two years of lodging your visa application, a second application is required to further process your permanent residency.
The Department of Home Affairs have issued this stage process as a means of safeguarding people who are not in genuine relationships. If the relationship falls apart before the two year-mark approaches, the permanent visa application will not be approved.
All partner visa applications are based heavily on how genuine the relationship is. Applicants should be able to prove that they’re in a committed, long-term relationship with their sponsor. Otherwise, their application will be rejected. This can be achieved by providing documents that detail their shared life together. The Department assesses the relationship based on four key factors:
- Financial situation of the relationship
- Having a shared property
- Social connections
- Nature of commitment
Applicants for the fiancé visa are not required to show evidence of a shared property. However, any documentation presented in this regard would help facilitate their application.
Things to consider before applying for a partner visa
A partner visa is a great way for couples to live and establish their lives in Australia. But it’s still a process that both of you have to go through and it requires careful planning and consideration on both ends to make it work. Here are a couple of things to consider before lodging a partner visa application:
- It can put a strain on the relationship
The processing time for a partner visa is generally around 23 to 31 months. Not only that, but the base government fees hover around A$7,000. Applying for a partner visa can put a strain on couples and pressure them to have their application approved the first time around. Some couples may even spend significant time apart due to the long processing time.
- It can be difficult to prove your relationship on paper
While it’s quite easy to convince friends and family that you’re in a relationship, proving it through documentation is a whole different story. You should be familiar with how a de facto relationship is formed and know exactly how your relationship started. Even the minute details can have a huge impact on your application because the Department of Home Affairs is strict when assessing a relationship on paper.
Before you apply for a partner visa, make sure that all of your documents are sorted out. You want the visa officer to have a clear, concise understanding of your relationship and prove that you’re in it for the long-term.
- It’s one of the most applied visas with high refusal rates
Getting approved for a partner visa is no easy task. With such long processing times, a high government fee, and an even higher refusal rate, you want to be fully prepared financially, emotionally, and psychologically before you lodge your application. Partner visas have the highest refusal rate mainly because couples struggle to prove their relationship.
You must be prepared to answer questions regarding yourself, your spouse, and your relationship together. The Department will conduct comprehensive searches to make sure all the information you’ve presented is correct.
If all of these things sound quite daunting, don’t worry. You can always ask help from Perth migration agents who know the ins and outs of visa applications. Having the guidance of experts will go a long way towards increasing your chances of having your application approved and help save you time, resources, and headaches throughout the entire process.