Many people come to Australia either to work or study without their beloved and find themselves living two lives – the one in which they’re physically present, and the other in a parallel existence over the phone or through messaging and video conferencing apps. Long distance is a tough ride for most and there comes a point when partners have to choose where they ultimately wish to settle. The good news is, Australia loves genuine love!

Whether you and your partner have officially tied the knot, are engaged or in a de facto relationship, there are suitable visa options for you to pursue so that you can both experience Australia to its fullest. Let’s take a closer look at Australia’s Partner, Prospective Marriage (Fiancé) and Dependent visas.

Bringing your Partner to Australia. Where to begin?

The Australian government offers people in serious, close and enduring relationships several visa options so that couples can decide either to enter Australia together or separately, to be rejoined later. Having these options at hand means both partners can prioritise what’s important in their lives at any given time and also, take their time to decide whether Australia is part of their ultimate destiny. In this blog post, we look specifically at visa options for couples that come to Australia at separate times.

Starting point

As the partner already in Australia, you may either be on a temporary visa, be a permanent citizen or have Australian or New Zealand citizenship. Different visa options for your partner to rejoin you align with your status in Australia.

Partner Visa

For this visa, the applicants’ partner must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen, in order to be a valid sponsor. Partners are taken to be people who are married, engaged, in a registered relationship, or in a de facto relationship. Applicants have to demonstrate their relationship with their partner is genuine and committed relationship and have evidence to prove this.

You are restricted from applying for a Partner Visa, if your partner has already sponsored another partner before in the last 5 years.

When and where to apply for a Partner Visa?

To lodge this visa, applications can be made in Australia whether the applicant is in Australia (subclasses 820/801) or overseas (subclasses 309/100). If in Australia, the applicant can go on a bridging visa and remain in Australia for however long it takes to assess the application.

This visa is denoted over two subclasses because the process falls over two stages:

  • Provisional: the application is first assessed;
  • Migrant: two years following grant of the Provisional visa, and having further demonstrated your relationship is ongoing and genuine.

Current processing times for the Provisional visa are typically between 22 and 27 months. If granted, applicants can then join their partners in Australia from the date the visa is granted and until the permanent migrant visa is granted. During that time, partners can live, work, study or travel to and from Australia, and also take free English language classes.

What does a genuine relationship look like in Australia?

If you are married or in a de facto relationship, in your applications for a Partner Visa you must show that you and your partner have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others. If there has been any separation, it must only have been temporary, such as for business travel or overseas family commitments for the visa applicant.
Couples in de facto relationships have to have been living under the same roof for the entire 12 months immediately prior to lodging this application. If you do not meet this condition prior to lodging the application, then you need to have at least registered your relationship with an Australian state or territory before applying. Only two states, Western Australia and the Northern Territory do not have prescribed regulations for this process. All other states and territories do, yet each have unique process and eligibility criteria.

Fiancé Visa

Applications for the Prospective Marriage Visa (subclass 300), also known as the Fiancé visa, have to be lodged when the applicant is offshore. The applicant also has to be outside Australia when the visa decision is made. Once this visa is granted, the applicant and sponsor can then apply for a Partner Visa, as outlined above, and the cost of that visa will be lowered.

Current processing times for this visa are typically between 22 and 30 months. If granted, applicants can then join their partners in Australia for 9 to 15 months from the date the visa is granted. During that time, they can live, work, study or travel to and from Australia.

Family members and new born children can also be included with the original application or added, but prior to a decision being reached on the application.

One drawback of this visa today, is that same sex couples are not eligible to apply for a Fiancé visa, where they can apply for Partner Visas.

Dependent Visa

If you are on a temporary visa, allowing you to work or study in Australia, your partner, children (under the age of 25) or another dependent family member can join you in Australia under a Dependent Visa. There are various subclasses to the Dependent Visa, allowing you to clearly indicate the type of relationship that exists between the sponsor and dependent.

Under these visas, you’ll need to be able to show that you can accommodate and financially support your partner, child/children or other dependents. You need to be capable of supporting your child or children for at least the first two years of their stay in Australia.

There are other supporting evidence and documents you’ll need to provide, which vary according to the Dependent Visa subclass, but the most notable of these is naturally, evidence of family ties – such as marriage or birth certificates.

Similar benefits are available under Dependent Visas, as with the Partner and Fiancé Visas.

How can VEVS help?

VEVS Global can help you and your spouse, de facto partner or fiancé put together a solid Partner Visa application, so that there is no fuss, hassles or tears for either of you in this process! With more than 10 years of experience, we know each aspect of the various Partner visas. Feel free to contact us for more information about the partner visa process in Australia.