Essential Read for Anyone Considering a Partnership Visa

Australians love to travel overseas, likewise Australia is a popular travel destination for international travellers, so it makes sense that many relationships develop between Australians and foreign nationals. This helps to contribute to Australia’s multiculturalism, which is one of the many reasons why Australia is such a great place to live.

Each year the Partnership Visa Program presents many opportunities to migrants with Australian partners. However, the Partnership Visa application process presents unexpected challenges and often professional assistance is required. There are many cases where Partnership Visa applications have been refused by the Department of Immigration, when the applicant could’ve been eligible for the visa. This is usually because the applicant has missed some vital steps and/or hasn’t provided sufficient evidence of their relationship.

Partnership Visa Options

Eligible applicants have the opportunity to apply for a Partnership Visa from outside of Australia or within Australia. Either way a 2 year temporary visa is first granted (offshore subclass 309/onshore subclass 820), then if the relationship is still ongoing after 2 years permanent residency is granted (offshore subclass 100/onshore subclass 801). Whilst waiting for the temporary visa to be granted onshore applicants are granted with a Bridging visa A, which allows them to work full time and have access to Medicare. It’s not possible to travel overseas on a Bridging visa A, but if required to travel the applicant can apply for a Bridging visa B, which is relatively inexpensive.

Current Department of Immigration visa processing times:

  • Offshore (temporary) subclass 309: 75% of applications processed within 11 months
  • Onshore (temporary) subclass 820: 75% of applications processed within 17 months
  • Offshore (permanent) subclass 100: 75% of applications processed within 15 months
  • Onshore (permanent) subclass 801: 75% of applications processed within 16 months

Partnership Visa Requirements

To be eligible for a Partnership visa the applicant must be the spouse or de facto partner of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen. If applying on spousal grounds the marriage must be accepted under Australian law. If applying on de facto grounds the couple must have lived together for at least 12 months, unless the relationship is registered under state law.

Whether applying on spousal or de facto grounds, the couple must:

  • have a mutual commitment to a shared life at the exclusion of all others;
  • be in a genuine and continuing relationship;
  • live together or not live apart on a permanent basis.

When assessing the relationship, the Department of Immigration want to see evidence that shows:

  • the financial aspects of the relationship;
  • the nature of the couple’s household;
  • the social aspects of the relationship;
  • the nature of the couple’s commitment to each other.

It’s extremely important that sufficient evidence is provided for all four aspects of the relationship, otherwise the relationship may not be deemed genuine.  

Prospective Marriage Visa

The Prospective Marriage visa is a good option for couples that don’t meet the spousal requirement or de facto requirement for a Partnership Visa. It’s an offshore temporary visa which allows the holder to travel to Australia and remain for 9 months, during which time they must marry their partner. To be eligible the applicant’s prospective spouse must be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen. Both parties of the couple must have met each other in person at least once since they each turned 18. Once the couple are married, the Prospective Marriage visa holder is eligible to apply for an onshore Partner visa with reduced application fees.  

All in all, a Partnership visa is a good option if you’re in a genuine relationship and have plenty of evidence to prove it. Unlike other subclasses of visas there is a lot discretion with Partnership visas as the evidence isn’t as black and white. Preparation of a Partnership visa application takes a lot longer than most people expect, so if you’re time poor and/or you would like to avoid stress it’s best to engage the services of a Registered Migration Agent.

 

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