Love knows no boundaries and, for many people, it transcends borders. If you’ve found the love of your life in Australia, you might be considering taking the next step and moving to Australia to be with your partner. Deciding which partner visa pathway best applies to you, and what documents you need to provide, can be confusing and can often lead to unfavourable outcomes with the Australian Department of Home Affairs.
Navigating the Australian Partner Visa process can be complex, and each case is unique. Consider seeking professional immigration advice from registered migration agents or lawyers to help you prepare and submit a strong application.
What is an Australian Partner Visa?
The Australian Partner Visa, formally known as the Subclass 820/801 (for onshore applicants) and Subclass 309/100 (for offshore applicants), is designed for partners of Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents, or eligible New Zealand citizens. This visa enables you to live, work, and study in Australia and eventually apply for permanent residency.
The Australian Partner Visa is a two-stage process. Initially, you will be granted a temporary visa (Subclass 820 or 309). After two years from lodgement of the temporary visa, you can apply for permanent residency (Subclass 801 or 100). During this period, your relationship will continue to be assessed to ensure its genuineness. The Department may grant the permanent visa directly with the temporary visa if the assessing officer is satisfied that there is no requirement to lodge the permanent visa at a later stage.
Couples who are engaged to be married also have the option of applying for an offshore Prospective Marriage Visa (Subclass 300). A Prospective Marriage Visa provides applicants with a pathway to lodging an onshore Partner (Subclass 820/801) Visa.
To be eligible for an Australian Partner Visa, you must be in a genuine and ongoing de facto or married relationship to an eligible sponsor. This means your relationship should be both real and enduring. You will need to provide substantial evidence of your relationship, such as joint financial commitments, shared household responsibilities, a mutual emotional commitment, and evidence that your friends and family approve of your relationship.
Evidence of your relationship can take many forms, but it is essential to provide the Department with evidence across all aspects of the relationship. Examples of such evidence can include (but is not limited to), shared bank statements, photos, personal statements, joint wills, and joint utilities bills.
It is important to show the Department that your relationship is exclusive and that your ongoing commitment to one another is demonstrated through the evidence provided.
Health and Character Requirements:
Every applicant must undergo health examinations and secure police clearances from any country where they’ve resided for over 12 months in the past decade. Fulfilling health and character criteria is pivotal for a successful visa application.
Which visa is the right visa?
Your situation will determine whether you should apply for the onshore (Subclass 820/801) or offshore (Subclass 309/100) Partner Visa. The onshore visa is intended for those already present in Australia, while the offshore visa is for applicants applying from outside the country.
Couples who intend to be married in Australia can apply for the Prospective Marriage Visa (Subclass 300) only while offshore. It is important to ensure that you are not married until after the Subclass 300 visa is granted and that you are married in Australia to be eligible for the onshore Subclass 820 Partner Visa.
Some situations may prevent you from lodging a Partner Visa onshore, meaning that an offshore application may be necessary.
Meeting the visa requirements, amassing substantial evidence, and meticulously preparing your application are key steps in a successful application process. While the process may seem daunting, with thorough planning and professional assistance, you can set the stage for a bright and loving future in Australia with your partner. If you require assistance with a partner visa application to Australia, contact our office.