If you are married or in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen, you may be eligible for a partner visa. Under this visa, you will need to provide evidence that you are in a genuine and committed relationship with an Australian citizen. Partner visas are an attractive prospect for people wanting to remain in Australia with their spouse or partner. However, this application involves expensive government fees and has a refusal rate near 40%. This article will explain how to make sure that your application is correctly prepared to maximise your prospects of success.
The Application Process
The partner visa application process is a combined evaluation of you (the visa applicant) and your partner (the sponsor).
When applying for the partner visa, you should usually apply for both a temporary and permanent partner visa in the one application. In a standard case, the temporary visa is granted first and will allow you to:
- work in Australia;
- access healthcare; and
- travel in and out of the country.
After receiving the temporary visa, you can apply for the permanent residency visa two years from the date that you applied for the temporary visa. In certain situations, the two year wait for the permanent residency visa can be waived. This is as long as you and your partner have been in a relationship for no less than three years. Or, if you have been in a relationship for no less than two years and have dependent children.
You can apply for the partner visa from overseas (subclasses 309 and 100) or from within Australia (subclasses 820 and 801). The visa takes typically around 21-26 months for the Department of Home Affairs to process it. If you want to enter Australia sooner and are applying from offshore, you may need to apply for a different visa. If you apply from within Australia and your current visa is due to expire, you will need to apply for a bridging visa. This visa will allow you to remain in Australia between the time that your current visa expires and the partner visa decision is made.
What Are the Key Elements of the Partner Visa Application?
The key criteria to satisfy in a partner visa application is that you must demonstrate that you are in a genuine, committed and monogamous relationship with an Australian citizen. The Department of Home Affairs considers four key factors that make up a ‘genuine and loving relationship’. They are that:
- you share a financial commitment and financial responsibility with your partner;
- you share household responsibilities with your partner;
- there are social aspects of your relationship;
- you and your partner have a mutual commitment to share life together.
It is important to prepare evidence that addresses each of these four elements.
What Kind of Evidence Do I Need to Prepare?
Your visa application should include detailed statutory declarations from both you and your partner that address the:
- household; and
- commitment aspects of your relationship.
You should support each claim with relevant evidence. Some evidence of a financial commitment might include shared bank statements. For the social element, you should include photographs and evidence of travel plans. To demonstrate a shared household, show that you have a joint lease and shared household responsibilities. To demonstrate a mutual commitment to each other, you might need to provide evidence of:
- children; or
- plans to have children.
Witnesses to your relationship will also need to prepare statutory declarations in support of your visa. The person making the statutory declarations need to sign it in the presence of a justice of the peace (such as your immigration lawyer) or an eligible witness. Making sure that all statutory declarations are truthful is essential. Intentionally making a false statement in a statutory declaration can result in four years imprisonment.
Why Might My Partner Visa Application Be Denied?
Even if you and your partner can demonstrate a genuine ongoing relationship, there still might be some factors that will make obtaining a partner visa more difficult. You will need to prepare additional evidence for your application if you have;
- previously not complied with a visa condition either in Australia or internationally;
- significant health issues; or
- a criminal conviction.
If any of these adverse factors apply to you, it may be tempting to try to leave them out of your application to increase your chances of being successful.
It will reflect poorly on your application if you attempt to conceal information and the Department of Home Affairs finds out about it later. If they believe that you have supplied misleading information in your visa application, you may be barred from applying for an Australian visa for up to ten years.
If you and your Australian spouse or partner are applying for a partner visa, it is important that your application includes:
- evidence of a financial and social commitment, a shared household, and mutual commitment to a shared monogamous future together;
- statutory declarations from you, your partner and any witnesses to your relationship; and
- evidence addressing any character or health issues.
If you have any questions about obtaining a partner visa, contact LegalVision’s immigration lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.
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