If your spouse or partner is an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and you come from another country to permanently reside in Australia, it can be daunting to know which visa is suitable. There are many different subclasses to consider, such as Partner, Spouse and Fiancé Visas, and some require the application to be lodged while you are in Australia, and others require it to be lodged when you are outside Australia. Knowing which one is suitable to your situation is important, as applying for the wrong class of visa will result in refusal of the visa, as you will not meet the criteria.
The different visa subclasses cover spouses, fiancés, and de facto partners including same sex relationships. The types of Partner, Spouse and Fiancé Visas include partner temporary visa outside Australia, partner temporary visa inside Australia, Permanent partner visa, and prospective marriage visa.
The partner visa is a two stage process to obtaining a permanent right to live in Australia. This visa is lodged while you are in Australia.
There is one application, and the visas are processed in two stages. The first is the temporary partner visa (subclass 820), and if granted allows you to reside in Australia. You must be in Australia to make an application under this visa class. After two years of having your temporary visa granted the second part of the application will be processed. If successful you will then be issued with a permanent partner visa (subclass 801).
The temporary partner visa will let you stay in Australia until the decision of your permanent partner visa is made. You can work and study, and enrol in Medicare. You cannot obtain any government funding for the study. Any dependent children can also be included in your application. Once your permanent partner visa is granted you can then stay in Australia indefinitely, apply for citizenship, and receive social security benefits.
Unlike the above visa you must be outside of Australia to apply for the subclass 309 or 100 partner visa.
If you are a de facto partner you must be able to prove that the partnership has existed for 12 months. Time spent dating does not apply as it must be a genuine de facto relationship. Once again this is a two stage process, and you will first be granted with a provisional visa with your application being further assessed after two year.
Once you obtain your provisional visa you may enter Australia, but not before it is granted. You will have the same entitlements as the above subclass 820 visa until your permanent visa is granted, and then the same entitlements as the above subclass 801 visa.
This visa is often referred to as the fiancé visa, as it only applies to those who intend to marry their partner within 9 months of being in Australia. It is a criterion of this visa that you must apply for it while outside of Australia, and can only enter once it has been granted.
There is no requirement to hold the actual wedding in Australia. People tend to apply for this visa when they cannot meet the criteria for the partner visa as they have not been in a de facto relationship. You must however, be able to prove that you have met your prospective spouse, as an adult, in person, and know them personally. It is important that you have met them as an adult for arranged marriage situations, as many people subject to arranged marriages may have only met the person when they were a child, and this is not sufficient for immigration purposes.
The ‘in person’ part is also important for those who have met over the internet. You must show that your prospective spouse has travelled to your country, and you have spent time together, or that you have come to Australia under a tourist visa and spent time together.
This is only a temporary visa until you a married. You would then need to apply for a Partner visa (subclass 820 and 801) to be able to continue residing in Australia.