Do you love an Australian and want Australian permanent residence?
Are you in a relationship with an Australian citizen, permanent resident or an eligible New Zealander (eligibility in this context refers to their length of stay in Australia rather than any other charms or personal attributes)? Is that person willing to sponsor you as their partner? Can you also meet the health and character criteria?
If so, then you may be eligible to apply for an onshore (subclass 820/801) or offshore partner visa (subclass 309/100), or a prospective marriage visa (subclass 300, if you are outside of Australia).
If you have dependent children or other dependent family members, they may make a combined application with your application provided they meet certain requirements.
Initially partners who meet the legal criteria are granted a temporary visa; a permanent visa is then granted following an eligibility period (usually two years), or, if there is a long standing relationship or children of the relationship, soon after grant of the temporary visa.
The prospective marriage visa also allows for the temporary entry to Australia of fiancee’s (intended spouses) of Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens. This temporary visa remains valid for 9 months from the date the visa was granted. If you are granted the visa you must enter Australia and marry your intended spouse within the 9 months. You are then eligible to apply for a partner visa in Australia.
To be eligible for a partner visa on the basis of a de facto relationship you and your partner must have been in the relationship for at least the entire 12 months before the date of lodgement of the application, unless there are compelling or compassionate circumstances, or the de facto relationship was registered under a law of a State or Territory (this does not apply in all States).
To apply in Australia for a partner visa on the basis of marriage, you must be legally married to your sponsor. If you were married in a country other than Australia and that marriage is valid in that country, generally it will be recognised as valid under Australian law. There are some exceptions such as same sex, underage or polygamous marriages, which are not currently accepted in Australia.
It is not enough to simply state that you are married or have been in a de facto relationship for 12 months or more. There are substantial requirements as to the proof of the relationship, and we can advise further in this regard.
There are some sponsorship limitations if you have previously sponsored partners, been granted a contributory parent visa or have criminal convictions.
There are lengthy waiting periods for partner visa applications, particularly if the partner is applying from outside Australia.
This is a general overview of the partner visas available, and we encourage you to make an appointment with Putt Legal to discuss your particular circumstances.