Partner visas

A partner visa allows you and your partner to live together in Australia. It is a permanent visa. Please take the time to read through partner visa related information here, and if you have questions, please contact us.

 

MARRIED OR DE-FACTO?

You are eligible to apply for this visa if you are in a married or de-facto relationship. 

You would apply for a partner visa regardless of whether you are married or “only” de-facto. The same visa subclasses are available for married and de-facto couples. If you are applying on the basis of the de-facto relationship, but you haven’t been together for 12 months, check out this VIDEO .

Regardless of which partner visa you choose, joining your partner in Australia will be a 2 step process. First you will be given a temporary/provisional visa, and if the relationship is continuing after a period of 2 years, then a permanent visa will be granted. Here is a quick video which explains the basics of a partner visa application.

VISA OPTIONS

If you are already in Australia, you will need to apply for a subclass 820 Partner (temporary) visa.  You’ll need to prove that you are the spouse or de-facto partner of an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible NZ citizen. Your partner must be willing to sponsor your application. If this visa is granted, you will be able to live, work or study in Australia for a period of 2 years. If the relationship still continues after 2 years, you will be granted a permanent visa.

If you are outside Australia, you would apply for a Partner (provisional) 309 visa. It’s important to note you must be outside Australia when this visa is granted. The requirements are otherwise fairly similar to those outlined above.

Here is a VIDEO on onshore vs offshore applications that you might be interested in.

SOME COMMON REQUIREMENTS OF PARTNER VISAS

You can apply for a partner visa if you are the spouse (or a de-facto partner) of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or NZ citizen.

Spouse means you are married to each other in a valid marriage. Just because you married overseas it does not mean your marriage is not valid. But the Department will consider a number of factors, for example if the marriage is based on real consent, whether the married couple are not related to each other as an ancestor or descendent.

One of the key criteria is that the relationship must be based on a mutual commitment to a shared life and the relationship must be genuine and continuing. The Department can consider a range of factors to determine if this criteria is satisfied. For example:

  • Can you provide evidence of the financial aspects of your relationship? (Joint loans, joint bank accounts and the like).
  • What evidence can you provide about your mutual commitment to each other? The Department can interview you to determine how well you know each other.
  • Can family members/relatives support your application by statutory declarations?
  • Do you have photos of holidays together or plans for joint holidays?

These are just a few examples of the things the Department may look at.

What if the relationship breaks down or your sponsor dies?

If your sponsor dies while you are in the process of applying for a permanent partner visa, you may still be eligible if you can show that your relationship would have otherwise continued.

You may still qualify for a partner visa if the relationship broke down because you suffered family violence committed by your sponsoring partner.

How do you prove family violence? Basically, a court may have already found that you have suffered family violence. If so, the Department will accept this. If there is no court order to this effect, you must provide a statutory declaration to the Department outlining the details of the family violence suffered. The Department then either accepts this evidence, or they must refer the matter to an independent expert to express an opinion as to whether violence was likely suffered or not. The Department then must accept the expert’s opinion as correct.

Please note we have a detailed post about relationship breakdown and family violence here.

SOME PRACTICAL TIPS

Please keep in mind current processing times when applying for a partner visa. Offshore applications can take 6-8 months, and onshore applications can take longer (12 months or more). Onshore applicants would be eligible for a bridging visa with work rights.

When you apply for a partner visa, you apply for both the temporary and the permanent visa at the same time. This means the Department will contact you when the 2 year period approaches its end to ascertain if the relationship continues. Make sure you keep the Department updated about your contact details.

Finally, keep in mind that visa applicants must also pass the “character test”. Essentially, if you have even been convicted for a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more, then you will fail the character test. However, you can still make submissions as to why a visa should be granted and the Department considers each case on its merits. We have a VIDEO and we have more information about the character test here and here. Also, we can make persuasive submissions on your behalf to the Department to maximise your prospects of obtaining a visa – contact us to discuss your options.

WHAT ABOUT ACCESS TO PUBLIC HEALTH INSURANCE - MEDICARE?

Medicare is Australia’s public health insurance system. Anyone eligible to access Medicare gets free medical and hospital treatment.

In short, once you submit a partner visa application onshore, you are eligible to enroll in Medicare. This is a hugely significant aspect of the partner visa applications, given that when you are first granted a partner visa, it is only temporary for a period of about 2 years, before it is converted into a permanent visa. Nonetheless, you are eligible to enrol in Medicare from the moment you have applied for your temporary partner visa. Although Medicare officers are aware that permanent residents are eligible to access Medicare, some of them don’t immediately realise that even partner visa applicants who do not yet have permanent resident status can enroll. You will need to have proof from the Department of Immigration that you have applied for a partner visa.

However, be aware that offshore partner visa applicants are not eligible to enroll in Medicare until they move to Australia.

Your lawyer

Your case will be handled by Oszkar Denes, our principal solicitor and immigration lawyer. Oszkar is a migration agent and an experienced advocate and litigator.

When you first contact us, we will discuss your matter with you during a 30 minute free phone consultation. This is a general discussion about your situation. It enables us to gain a basic understanding of your case, and for us to give you an idea about your options and your likely costs.

It is important that you understand that this area of law is very complex, and so we can’t provide detailed legal advice until you retain us. When you retain us, our first step is to advise you in more detail on where you stand from a legal point of view. That way, you can make an informed decision about your appeal.

We know that people are often concerned about expensive lawyers and legal costs getting out of control. As much as possible, we take the stress out of this process by giving you fixed price quotes wherever we can. In other words, we try and avoid hourly charging.

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