Partner visas: Part 2

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As stated in my previous article on partner visas, there is a lot of information to consider before you lodge your application. In that article, we covered some of the basics. In this article, we move on to a few of the details.

Married applicants

It is important to note that if you are married, your marriage must be valid and recognised by Australian law. In addition, both you and your partner must have been at least 18 years of age when your marriage took place.

Unlike American movies, being a married couple is not, on its own, sufficient to meet the requirements for a partner visa. This is a common misconception. It is important to note that the Department of Immigration is aware that marriages can often be faked and unfortunately do occur just for visa purposes.

While there is no specific timeframe that your relationship must have existed before you apply for a partner visa as a married couple, it is important that you are able to evidence that your relationship is genuine, continuing and ongoing, and that you and your partner are committed to each another. That is, you need to address the four aspects of the relationship discussed in my previous article.

The success of your application will depend on the documents you provide. At National Visas, we have many years of experience with these visas, so we are in a very good position to help you understand exactly what you need to do to meet requirements.

De facto applicants

The term De Facto basically means that you live with your partner but are not married.

De facto-based partner visas are available to both heterosexual and same-sex couples based on their de facto status. Generally, if you are in a de facto relationship, your relationship must have existed for at least 12 months before you make an application for a partner visa.

However, if you have registered your relationship in Australia (not available in all states/territories), or have an Australian citizen child with your de facto partner, this 12-month timeframe is not required. Though, as discussed in my previous article, your relationship will still be assessed against the four relationship aspects, so providing sufficient evidence is critical.

If either you or your partner are still married to someone else, however, and an official divorce has not been obtained, you may still be able to meet partner visa requirements if evidence can be provided that the previous relationship is no longer in existence.

Relationship breakdown

The Department of Immigration understands that partner relationships can, unfortunately, break down. If your relationship ends due to you experiencing family violence, or if your partner dies, you may still be eligible for the visa if certain requirements can be met. Similarly, if your relationship breaks down and you have a child with that partner who is an Australian citizen, you may still also be eligible for the visa.

If your relationship breaks down for other reasons, this can result in visa refusal (and sometimes visa cancellation). If this situation applies to you, please contact National Visas for advice at the earliest possible time as you may have many complexities to work through as we try to find you a visa solution. The sooner you contact us, the more chance we have of helping you find a good solution.

Health and character requirements

There are also health and character requirements for the partner visa. It is important to note that dependent children must also undertake medical examinations whether they are migrating with you or not. This regularly creates problems for applicants who are estranged from their former partner and children. We can help you work through this if this applies to you.

When applying for the temporary visa stage, the medicals to be undertaken will also be acceptable for the permanent stage, so generally only one set of medicals should be required. In most cases, medical test results are valid for 12 months. Medical tests must be undertaken by doctors nominated by the Department of Immigration, so do not go to your local doctor for a general medical assessment as this will not be acceptable.

Police clearances are required for any country you have lived in for 12 months or more during the last 10 years after you turned 16 years of age. When you are eligible for the permanent partner visa stage, if you have been inside Australia for more than 12 months, an Australian Federal Police clearance will be required.

If you have health or character issues, please discuss with us at the earliest possible time and we will advise on how this affects your eligibility for the visa.

If you are applying from outside Australia, a tip to note is to be aware of any “must arrive before” dates that may be imposed on your visa (generally, the earliest expiry date of any medicals or police clearances provided), so it is important that you consider your timelines when undertaking medicals or providing police clearances.

Onshore applications and bridging visas:

If you apply for your partner visa while you are in Australia, you will be granted a bridging visa to allow you to remain in Australia lawfully until a decision is made on your visa application. In most cases, this bridging visa is granted with “NIL” conditions, and will allow you to work or study without restriction as well as enroll in Medicare.

However, your bridging visa will not come into effect until your current visa has expired. It is important that you abide by all conditions of your current visa until it expires before you transfer to your bridging visa.

Understanding whether you can meet the requirements for partner visas from inside Australia can be very complex. So too can bridging visas. Rather than run the risk of missing some of the technical detail which can result in visa refusal, I strongly encourage you to contact National Visas for advice for your specific situation. For example, if you apply for a partner visa in Australia while you are the holder on a bridging visa, there are additional requirements to meet. If you do not understand and meet these requirements, your visa will be refused.

Online application

Previously, visa applications in the family visa category (including the partner visa) could only be made as a paper application to your nearest Australian embassy or Department of Immigration office in Australia. Now the Department of Immigration provides for the application to be lodged online.

Whilst this seems easier, you need to be extremely careful that you do not apply until you know (and can evidence) that you have met ALL requirements. By using our services, we make sure that you understand everything relevant to your situation.

Would you like to know if you qualify for a Partner Visa?

You can start the process by taking a free online assessment here.

I hope that the information here has been useful if you are considering whether a partner visa is suitable for your situation. If you have found this article helpful, please share it!

I look forward to an opportunity to assist you with your visa application in the future.

Esther Taft
Migration Advisor
MARN 1276126

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John Bell

Migration Advisor at National Visas
John Bell has been involved in the immigration industry since 2000 and has practiced in Australia as an Australian Registered Migration Agent since 2003. John also worked in the UK as a UK immigration adviser between 2000 and 2002.

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