Every year, thousands of people join the throng of already existing hopefuls that wish to reunite with their spouse in various parts of the world. For Australia, it is no different – in fact, it seems as though their unofficial ‘planning level’ that often restricts the number of applications processed per year makes the number of hopefuls at the beginning of each year even more than they were in the previous year. They all have the same struggle – obtain a partner visa.
Processing an Australian partner visa can be a daunting task. From the complexities of the paperwork to costs and lengthy processing times, there is no end to what you are bound to face when in pursuit of an Australian partner visa.
Your best bet? Equip yourself with all you need to make the visa happen – one of which is the knowledge of how things operate.
What is a Partner Visa?
A partner visa is a document that allows a partner or spouse of an Australian citizen, permanent citizen or eligible New Zealand citizen to migrate to, and live in Australia indefinitely.
Thus, to be eligible for an Australian partner visa, you must at least 17 years of age (or 16 in the states that apply) and you must either be married to or be in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.
(Take note that the de facto relationship must be at least 12 months old.)
Partner Visa Categories (Which Partner Visa is Right for Me?)
The case is not ‘one-size-fits-all’ with Australian partner visas; the available partner visa options may vary depending on your circumstances.
There are three main visa options available; but ultimately, their processing and requirements are quite similar. They include;
Option 1: Temporary Partner Visa (Subclass 820) and Permanent Visa (Subclass 801)
This visa applies to those who are applying WITHIN Australia and have a spouse or de facto partner who is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand resident.
Thus, both the Subclass 820 and 801 perform the same function, but on the 820, you can live in Australia temporarily until a decision is made on your permanent visa 801.
Option 2: Partner Provisional Visa (Subclass 309) and Permanent Visa (Subclass 100)
The option two category is suitable for those who are applying OUTSIDE Australia and have a spouse or de facto partner who is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand resident, or they intend to marry before a decision is made on the partner visa application.
Again, both the Subclass 309 and 100 perform the same function, but on the 309, you can live in Australia temporarily until a decision is made on your permanent visa 100.
Option 3: Prospective Marriage Visa (Subclass 300)
This visa is for those applying outside Australia, who will travel to Australia to marry an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand resident with the visa.
How to Bring My Spouse to Live With Me in Australia
If your concern is bringing your spouse into Australia to reside with you, then clearly your concern should be for option 2; the Partner provisional visa and permanent visa subclasses 309 and 100. This article will focus on exactly that.
What You Should Know About Bringing Your Spouse into Australia
Obtaining a permanent visa for your spouse to live in Australia with you is a two step process. The visa of interest, in this case, is a Permanent Migrant visa (subclass 100), but to obtain it, you will first be granted a temporary Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309).
All you need do is to apply for both visas at the same time, and when you are granted the temporary Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309), you will automatically be eligible for the Permanent Migrant visa (subclass 100).
If you have been in a long term relationship, however, your permanent Partner (Migrant) visa (subclass 100) will be granted immediately after the temporary Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309).
Applying for a Partner Visa (Subclass 309 &100) In Steps –
Step 1: Gather Documents
The following documents are required to process your application for the temporary Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309) and permanent Partner (Migrant) visa (subclass 100).
Documents from the Applicant
Identity documents including:
- A birth certificate showing the names of both parents
- Identification pages of a family book showing the names of both parents
- The identification pages of an identification document issued by the government, identification pages of a court-issued document that proves your identity,
- Identification pages of a family census register,
- The page of your current passport showing your photo, personal details and passport issue and expiry dates,
- Two recent passport photographs (45 mm x 35 mm)
- A national identity card, if you have one
- And Proof of change of name, if applicable.
2. Documents that prove your relationship with your spouse including
- Two Forms 888 completed by two separate witnesses. (A form 888 is a Statutory declaration by a supporting witness about a Partner or a visa application)
- A written statement about your relationship that describes details about where you met, how the relationship developed and the plans you have together
- Documents that show that you share financial responsibilities with your spouse – eg mortgage documents or loan documents, including joint bank accounts and household bills
- Records that indicate that others know your relationship, including joint invitations and proof of joint travel
- Documents that demonstrate that you are committed to each other in the long run – eg. Terms of your will, letters to each other when you are apart,
- Proof that you have been in the relationship 12 months before application or your marriage certificates, as well as evidence of registration of your relationship with relevant Australian authority (for de facto relationships)
- If your relationship is not 12 months old, then provide compelling and compassionate reasons for applying for the visa before being in the relationship for 12 months.
Documents about other relationships including
Former marriage certificates and separation documents that apply – including death certificates or statutory declarations.
These will be provided by your doctor and sent directly to relevant authorities
Character Documents including;
- A completed form 80; a character assessment, completed by you.
- Police certificates: if requested by the embassy.
Documents from the Australian based spouse/Partner:
- Form 40SP – if you are applying by paper instead of online;
- Identity Documents including Proof of your citizenship and eligibility as a New Zealand citizen which may be either: a birth certificate showing the names of both parents or the pages of your current passport showing your photo, personal details and passport issue and expiry dates. And also, A national identity card, if you have one. Include Provide proof of change of name, if applicable.
- Character Documents including police certificates and military service records/ discharge papers (if you have served in the army)
Step 2: Prepare Documents for Paper or Online Application
If you are applying online:
- Translate all documents to English language
- Scan and attach all documents to the online application
- Send each document once, after ensuring that they are all certified.
If you are applying on paper:
- Translate all documents to English language
- Send original police certificates and English translations.
- Send certified copies of all other documents (including non-English) – do not send the originals.
Step 3: Apply for the Visa online/on Paper
If you are applying online:
- Create an online system ImmiAccount or log in if you already have one; When you are in ImmiAccount, select the New application and then select Family, then Stage 1 – Partner or Prospective Marriage Visa, then follow the prompt.
- Pay for the online application via Paypal or credit card
- Attach the documents required (only 60 documents allowed at 5mb each. If you surpass this limit, attach the rest to the spouse/partner application) – attach only when the ImmiAccount tells you to
- Lodge the form online using the transaction number received from your Australian based spouse/partner
If you are applying on paper:
- Download and complete the application for migration; form 47SP
- Send the form along with the 40SP along with the 47SP and your documents, your sponsor’s documents and the correct application fee to your closest immigration office.
Step 4: Wait for your Temporary visa (309) & Provide additional documents
You may need to provide biometrics or get health checks in addition to the other documents.
Make sure to inform authorities if there are changes in address or telephone number, if you made a mistake on your application, you need to provide more information, or you want to withdraw your application; and also if you would like to include children, etc.
Step 5: Travel Into Australia on Your Temporary Visa
With the temporary visa (309), you will travel into Austrailia and live with your spouse temporarily before you get the permanent visa . Do well to inform authorities if the relationship with your partner has not continued; you might still be eligible for a permanent visa. Contact them for writing, and all information provided will remain confidential.
Step 6: Send additional documents for the permanent visa(100)
Your permanent Partner visa cannot be granted until two years have passed from the day you applied for that visa. We will begin assessing your application after that date.
You will need to provide evidence to show that you and your sponsor continue to be in a spouse or de facto partner relationship since you got the temporary Partner visa. The evidence you provide must show that you continue to have a genuine and continuing relationship, live together or not live separately and apart on a permanent basis and have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others.
Additional documents required after two years of residing in Australia include
- A National Police Certificate (NPC) from the Australian Federal Police (AFP)
- An overseas penal certificate for any country which you have lived cumulatively for 12 months or more since the grant of the temporary partner visa (UK820 )
- A copy of personal details pages (include page with signature) of your most recent passport
held for each applicant included in the application
- A copy of personal details pages (include page with signature) of the sponsor’s most recent passport held or an Australian driver’s license from any State or Territory of Australia
- statutory Declarations
- Two Statutory Declarations by a supporting witness relating to a partner visa application
- Evidence to demonstrate that your relationship is genuine and continuing since the grant of your temporary partner visa
- Acknowledgement letter – completed with your name and address
Take note that these are requirements from both the applicant and the Australian based spouse. Download the checklist here
Subsequently, you may either send the documents online or by post.
Partner Visa Australia Cost
Cost of partner visa is from AUD 7,000 upwards. They are the most expensive in the world and known as ‘love tax,’; because it is a fee that people are willing to pay to stay with their partner.
Besides this fee, you also have to factor in health examinations, police checks are migration agent or lawyer’s fees, which would be about $3,000 to $5,000 for a partner visa application.
Partner Visa Processing Time
Temporary visa – between 18 to 21 months
Permanent visa – from 19 to 24 months.
Between both the time spent and money required; it is important that you try as much as you can to do it right the first time around. Because even minor mistakes can become very costly down the track; so feel free to read and re-read this guide. Because you never know what you might catch on to the second or third time around.