A Guide to the Australian Partner Visa: Requirements, Application Process, and FAQs
Obtaining an Australian Partner Visa is an important step for couples who want to live together in Australia. Whether you are married, engaged, or in a de facto relationship, this visa allows you to join your partner in Australia for a temporary or permanent basis. This comprehensive guide will help you understand the Australian Partner Visa requirements, application process, and provide answers to frequently asked questions.
Overview of the Australian Partner Visa
The Australian Partner Visa program consists of two visa subclasses:
- Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309): This temporary visa allows you to live in Australia while waiting for your permanent Partner Visa (subclass 100) application to be processed.
- Partner (Migrant) visa (subclass 100): This permanent visa allows you to live in Australia indefinitely with your partner, who must be an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen.
Additionally, if you are engaged to an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen, you can apply for a Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300) before entering Australia and marrying your partner.
Australian Partner Visa Requirements
To qualify for an Australian Partner Visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- Relationship Status: You must be in a genuine and continuing relationship with your partner, who is sponsoring your visa application. You must be married, engaged, or in a de facto relationship for at least 12 months before applying.
- Sponsorship: Your partner must be an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen, and agree to sponsor you for the visa. Your partner must also meet character and financial requirements.
- Age: You and your partner must be at least 18 years old.
- Health: You must meet certain health requirements, which may include undergoing medical examinations.
- Character: You must provide police clearance certificates from each country you have lived in for 12 months or more during the past 10 years.
- Debts: You must have no outstanding debts to the Australian government or have arranged to repay any debts.
Application Process for Australian Partner Visa
The application process for the Australian Partner Visa can be divided into the following steps:
- Prepare Your Documentation: Gather all necessary documents, such as proof of your relationship, marriage certificate (if applicable), evidence of joint financial responsibilities, and other supporting documents.
- Submit Your Application: Complete and submit the online application form on the Australian Department of Home Affairs website. You will be required to provide your personal details, relationship history, and supporting documents.
- Pay the Application Fee: The Partner Visa application fee is currently AUD 7,715 for the main applicant. Additional fees apply for dependent children included in the application.
- Wait for a Decision: The processing time for Australian Partner Visas can vary, depending on the complexity of your case and the number of applications being processed. Generally, it takes about 12-18 months for the Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309) and another 12-18 months for the Partner (Migrant) visa (subclass 100). Keep in mind that these processing times are only estimates and may change.
- Attend an Interview: You may be required to attend an interview with a Department of Home Affairs official to discuss your relationship and visa application. This interview can take place in person, over the phone, or via video call.
- Medical Examination and Police Checks: You will need to undergo medical examinations and provide police clearance certificates as part of your application. The Department of Home Affairs will provide you with instructions on how to complete these checks.
- Receive Your Visa: If your application is approved, you will be granted a temporary Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309) while your permanent Partner Visa (subclass 100) is being processed. Once the permanent visa is granted, you will be able to live and work in Australia indefinitely.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can I work in Australia while on a Partner Visa?
Yes, you can work in Australia while on a Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309) or Partner (Migrant) visa (subclass 100). There are no work restrictions for these visa holders.
2. Can I include my children in my Partner Visa application?
Yes, you can include your dependent children in your Partner Visa application. You will need to provide evidence of their relationship to you and your partner, as well as meet health and character requirements.
3. What happens if my relationship ends before my permanent Partner Visa is granted?
If your relationship ends before your permanent Partner Visa is granted, you must inform the Department of Home Affairs as soon as possible. Your Partner Visa may be canceled if your relationship is no longer genuine and continuing. However, there are certain circumstances where you may still be eligible for a permanent visa, such as if you have suffered family violence or have children with your partner.
4. Can I apply for Australian citizenship if I have a Partner Visa?
Yes, once you have a permanent Partner (Migrant) visa (subclass 100), you can apply for Australian citizenship if you meet the eligibility requirements, such as being a permanent resident for at least 12 months, living in Australia for at least 4 years, and passing the citizenship test.
5. What if my Partner Visa application is refused?
If your Partner Visa application is refused, you can apply for a review of the decision at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). It is important to seek professional advice, such as from a migration agent or lawyer, to understand your options and the best course of action.
Applying for an Australian Partner Visa can be a complex and time-consuming process, but with the right information and preparation, you can successfully join your partner in Australia. By understanding the requirements, following the application process, and seeking professional advice if necessary, you can increase your chances of success and start your new life together in Australia.