THE ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR "PARTNER VISA AUSTRALIA" - "SPOUSE VISA"
There are so many confusions , misunderstandings and misconceptions around the “Partner Visa ” also known as “Spouse Visa” when it comes to Australian Immigration.
We come across so many people who wish to Immigrate to Australia on Partner Visa. But they are not able to understand well the difference between Partner Visa & Spouse Visa. The concept of Prospective marriage Visa, De Facto relationship and many other terms applied in Australian Immigration Law can be difficult to understand.
But don’t worry. We are here to make it simple for you!!!
Table of Contents
Why this “Partner Visa Guide” is the most authentic and accurate?
Before you start reading, it’s vital for you to know that this “Partner Visa for Australia” guide will answer all your concerns related to Australian Partner Visa process. It is because:
- The Immigration Professionals write this article at Brilliant Migration Club, Australia. So you can rest assured about the accuracy and authenticity of the information provided to you about Partner Visa for Australia or Spouse Visa.
- This guide is one of the most comprehensive Partner Visa or Spouse Visa guide on the Internet, and the content is developed by:
- Interviewing hundreds of potential applicants like you who wanted to consider Partner Visa as an option to Immigrate to Australia.
- Researching thousands of search queries, searched by people on the internet about this topic.
- There are high chances of Partner Visa refusal unless you are not familiar with the basic concepts and definitions related to this Visa type. We are going to address and clarify many misunderstandings related to this Visa to make things simple for you.
1. What is Australian Partner Visa in Simple Words?
Australia is a multicultural country and people with various backgrounds, cultures, faiths and religions call Australia home.
Partner Visa mainly requires you to define your relationship in the “partner Visa or prospective marriage Visa” application keeping in view all the terms used in these diverse cultures.
The terms “Spouse”, “Marriage”, “De-facto”, “Fiance or Fiancee” are not the Visa types, but they are the relationship types that you need to define in your Partner Visa or Prospective Marriage Visa Application.
If you are in genuine relationship with Australian Citizen, Permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen, you might be eligible to apply for an Australian Partner Visa.
During the application process, you would need to define and establish your relationship. This relationship could be established either by legal marriage or by being in a De-facto relationship.
To completely understand these terms, we are going to explain the detailed definition below. You will know in which category your relationship falls so that you can apply for your partner visa in the right stream or subclass.
MUST READ SECTION – IF YOU ARE NEW
2. Starting research about “Aus Partner Visa” when married or before marriage?
People generally are mistaken in assuming that they should start worrying or thinking about marriage Visa for Australia after they are married or after they are engaged.
The applicants realise the complexity of the Partner or Spouse Visa after they receive refusal letters or when asked for further clarifications.
We strongly advise you to start your research process at an early stage. You may consult a registered Mara Approved consultant to know about the complete partner Visa process as early as possible before marriage.
We have seen so many cases where the applicants assume that the Australian Marriage Visa is straight forward & simple. They miss so many opportunities that could have strengthened their case if they would have researched about the topic well before the actual marriage.
3. Never try to Apply for Spouse Visa, De facto Visa, Marriage Visa or relationship Visa.
We have a piece of good news for you and a bad one. Which one do you want to read first?
Bad News first:
You should stop your search if you are looking to apply for Spouse Visa, De facto Visa, marriage visa or relationship Visa. It’s because they don’t exist at all. Instead, you should read the good news below.
Good News: Let’s correct ourselves here. Under the Australian Immigration system, no Visa type is called spouse Visa, De facto Visa, marriage or relationship Visa. All these terms are not valid terms when you wish to apply for these Visa types. You need to correct your search terms first so that you can look for the information in the right direction.
Under the Australian Immigration System. There are only two types of Visas.
- Partner Visa
- Prospective Marriage Visa.
Please note that the Spouse Visa, De facto Visa, Marriage Visa, fiance(e) or Relationship Visas are all general terms. All these could be your relationship with your partners, not the Visa types recognised by the Immigration Department. All these terms actually fit into the Partner Visa and prospective marriage Visas only.
The terms “Spouse”, or “De facto” are the two type of relationships that you are required to identify during your Partner Visa application process. For example, when you start your application, you would be asked to define a relationship with your partner. You need to select “Spouse” if you are married and already have a spouse. Otherwise, you might need to select “De-facto” relationship if you are not legally married but still have a relationship with your partner.
Similarly, you should look for “Prospective Marriage visa” if you want to apply a Visa for your fiance or fiancee. Note that the correct Visa type is “Prospective Marriage Visa” and not the “Fiance Visa” or “Fiancee Visa.”
4. Who is the Department of Immigration & Border Protection (DIBP) and what is Partner Visa for Australia Subclass?
Until recently, the Department of Immigration (DIBP) was the Australian Government Department responsible for processing all types of Visa applications, including the partner Visa or Spouse Visa for Australia (Au).
However, quite recently, the Department of home affairs have taken the responsibility of processing all Visa, Citizenship and Immigration related responsibilities.
You should make familiar with this website in case you are serious about your PARTNER MIGRATION VISA. You can visit the department website
4.1 Who is the Partner that maybe Eligible for Partner Visa?
There are two types of “partners” or “relationships” that can apply under the Partner Visa application.
Your partner could be your spouse or de facto of the same or opposite sex. You both can be:
- in a married (Spousal) relationship or
- in a de facto relationship
It is important to note that in your Partner Visa application, the Department of Home Affairs will recognise only 1 type of relationship with your partner. Either spouse/married relationship or de facto relationship.
We would once again like you to note that the Spouse, spousal, marriage, wife, de facto are all the relationships and not the actual Visa types. The exact Visa type is just a partner Visa in which you need to define these relationships.
4.2 What is a relationship?
While you prepare your application for Partner Visa. The Immigration Department is going to ask you to define your relationship in your Partner Visa application. The Department will allow only two types of relationships, and you would have to select any one of them. You cannot choose both relationships.
The two types of relationships are “Spouse” and “De Facto”. Meaning you could be either in a spousal relationship with your partner or De- facto relationship.
4.3 What is a Spouse or What is an (AUS) Spouse Visa Australia?
Already clarified above that there is nothing that is called Australian Spouse Visa for Immigration purposes or spouse visa subclass. The correct term is “Partner Visa” in which you can define a “relationship” with your partner for Australian Visa.
A spouse is one of two people in a married relationship if they are married to each other under a marriage that is valid for the purposes of the Migration Act and:
- have a mutual commitment to a shared life excluding all others
- have a genuine and continuing relationship
- live together or don’t live separately and apart permanently
4.4 What is a de facto relationship visa Australia or defacto Partner Visa Australia?
Time to correct ourselves here once again, no Visa Type is called “DE FACTO RELATIONSHIP VISA AUSTRALIA” or “AUSTRALIAN DEFACTO VISA”.
The right Visa type is “Partner Visa”, and your relationship under the Partner Visa application could be the “De Facto” relationship if you are unmarried. Or, Spouse relationship if you are married.
In short, even if you are in De Facto relation with someone, you cannot apply for AUS DE FCTO VISA. Instead, you need to apply for partner Visa, and under the relationship section, you need to select De Facto relationship.
So if you wonder is de facto a spouse or is de facto same is marriage? The answer is no. De facto is not your spouse because you are not married legally.
4.5 What is de facto relationship for the purpose of partner visa for Australian Migration?
The de facto relationship is one where you and your partner is not legally married to each other. A de facto relationship can be with someone of the same or different sex. It’s important to note that the time spent online or dating do not count as being in a de facto relationship
To prove the de facto relationship, both of you must be living together for at least 12 months and:
- you are committed to a shared life excluding all others
- your relationship is genuine and continuing
- you live together or do not live separately and apart permanently
- you are not related by family.
Four Types of Australian Partner Visas
5. Four Types Of Australian Partner Visas.
If the applicant is Outside Australia. The visa type would be:
Type-1: The applicant needs to apply for Stage-1 Partner (Provisional) Visa Subclass 309 for Australia .
If the applicant is Inside Australia and already was on Stage-1 Partner Visa 309. The Visa type would be:
Type-2: The applicant needs to Apply Stage-2 Partner Migrant Visa Subclass 100.
If the applicant is already inside Australia and would like to apply for Partner Visa Australia. The visa type would be:
Type-3: The applicant needs to apply for Stage-1 Partner (Provisional) Visa Subclass 820 for Australia .
If the applicant was on stage-1 Subclass 820. The New Visa might be:
Type-4: The applicant needs to Apply Stage-2 Partner Migrant Visa Subclass 801.
ALL ABOUT PARTNER VISA FOR OUTSIDE AUSTRALIA APPLICANT OR SECOND STAGE SUBCLASS 100
6. What is Partner (Provisional) Visa Subclass 309 for Australia and Partner (Migrant Visa) Subclass 100.
It is a Temporary type of Visa, and when it is approved, your partner can visit and live in Australia before applying for Partner (Migrant Visa) subclass 100.
It means that your partner would have to first apply for Partner Visa subclass 309. Will have to start living in Australia with you on temporary Visa. After completing specific criteria while on the temporary Visa Subclass 309, the applicant partner can later apply permanent PR Visa called Partner (Migrant Visa) Subclass 100. This Partner (Migrant Visa) Subclass 100 is a PR Visa, and your partner may be eligible for citizenship after completing certain criteria while on this Visa.
Some Important Points for the Partner Visa Subclass 309 Applicants:
- The partner or applicant must be living overseas.
- The partner or the applicant must have a genuine (Spouse or De Facto) relationship with the Australian citizen, Australian PR holder or Eligible New Zealand Resident who is living in Australia.
- Your partner may not be able to visit Australia while he/she has already applied for the Partner Visa Subclass 309 and the Visa application is under assessment. It means that the lodgement of the partner visa application does not give you the right to travel to Australia unless you have the right to travel on another substantive Visa.
- Your partner may apply for separate Visit Visa Subclass 600 if he/she wish to visit Australia for a short period of time while your application is being lodged and has been under assessment.
- In case, your partner can visit Australia on Visit Visa while his/her Partner Visa subclass 309 is under assessment. He or She may not be able to apply for “Bridging Visa A” as offshore applicants cannot have Bridging Visa A.
After the Subclass 309 is Granted:
- Your partner can live in Australia temporarily until the Partner (Migrant Visa) Subclass 100 is lodged and is Granted.
Application for Partner (Migrant Visa) Subclass 100 (Permanent Partner Visa type)
- After two years of being on SC 309. Your partner becomes eligible to apply for Subclass 100, a Permanent Partner Visa (PR).
- It is vital to note here that while you are transitioning from SC 309 to SC 100, you must be in a genuine relationship with your partner.
- Long-standing genuine relationship or having a child of a relationship may shorten the transition from Provisional Subclass 309 to Permanent Subclass 100 to even two to four months.
The Permanent Partner Visa Subclass 100 is valid for five years after the grant. It is a Permanent Resident PR Visa Subclass 100, and after holding it for four years, the Visa holder may be eligible to apply for Citizenship.
ALL ABOUT PARTNER VISA WHEN THE APPLICANT PARTNER IS INSIDE AUSTRALIA OR SECOND STAGE SUBCLASS 801
7. What is Partner (Provisional) Visa Subclass 820 for Australia and Partner (Migrant Visa) Subclass 801?
If your partner (the applicant) is inside Australia (onshore) and in a genuine relationship with the sponsoring partner (who is either Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen). He/she may be eligible to apply for provisional partner visa subclass 820.
You and your partner can be in a marital relationship or be in a de facto relationship.
Be mindful of the definition given for spouse and for the de facto relationship as they have entirely different criteria to meet.
Your partner (the applicant) can apply for a partner visa in Australia while holding a substantive visa of a temporary nature like tourist visa.
For those who don’t have a valid or substantive Visa may still be able to apply for the partner visa, but a waiver needs to be applied under Schedule 3.
Hold on; there is also one more critical point to consider. If you are on a visit visa in Australia, you have to look for ‘No further stay’ condition. This condition will prevent you from applying for any other visa while you are in Australia. Any compelling and compassionate grounds occurred after your arrival in Australia may help you get a waiver of this condition. You or your partner getting pregnant may be an example of compelling and compassionate grounds.
Some Important Points for the Partner Visa Subclass 820 Applicants:
- The partner or the applicant must be living inside Australia on substantive Visa unless the waiver is applied.
- The partner or the applicant must have a genuine (Spouse or De Facto) relationship with the Australian citizen, Australian PR holder or Eligible New Zealand Resident who is living in Australia.
After partner visa Subclass 820 is Granted:
- Your partner can live in Australia temporarily (TR) until the Partner (Migrant Visa) Subclass 100 is lodged and is Granted. This means that the partner will have temporary resident status.
Application for Partner (Migrant Visa) Subclass 801 (Permanent Partner Visa type)
- After two years of being on Subclass 820. Your partner becomes eligible to apply for Subclass 801, a Permanent Partner Visa (PR).
- It is extremely important to note here that while you are transitioning from Subclass 820 to Subclass 801, you must be in a genuine relationship with your partner.
- Long-standing genuine relationship or having a child of a relationship may shorten the transition from Provisional Subclass 820 to Permanent Subclass 801 to even two to four months.
The Permanent Partner Visa Subclass 801 is valid for five years after the grant. It is a Permanent Resident PR Visa Subclass 801, and after holding it for four years, the Visa holder may apply for Citizenship.
8. How to Apply & Lodge Partner Visa Application for Australia?
Australian Partner Visa application is a complex process. The background and circumstances of each individual are different. It is always recommended to consult with the experienced Migration Agents to avoid refusal. The refusal rate of this Visa application is quite high because generally, people consider it simple to apply Visa type.
You need to go through and understand the following process if you choose to apply the Partner visa application yourself without any help of an experienced Partner Visa Specialist.
FOUR STEPS REQUIRED FOR PARTNER VISA APPLICATION PROCESS
Partner VISA Application Process
9. Step-1: Understanding the basic concepts related to Partner Visa:
We have discussed lots of details about the partner visa in the above section, whether the applicant is onshore or offshore?. We would once again recap the basic facts so that there is no confusion left and you may proceed on Step-2 with clear direction.
9.1 What Visa should you Apply?
You should only apply for “Partner Visa” or “Prospective Marriage Visa”. There is No Visa Subclass for Spouse Visa, Marriage Visa, De Facto Visa or Fiance (e) Visa. After you have decided whether you are eligible to apply for “Partner Visa” or “Prospective Marriage Visa”, your next step would be to see which Visa subclass is suitable for you.
9.2 What is Spouse Visa?
There is no Visa that is called Spouse Visa. Being a spouse is a relationship, not a Visa type. If you want to apply a Visa for your spouse, then the right Visa choice is “Partner Visa Subclass”. Within the Partner visa application, you’ll be require to define your relationship with your spouse, that is spousal relationship.
9.3 What is Marriage Visa?
There is no Visa that is called Marriage Visa. You still need to apply for Partner Visa if you are married to someone, and you want to apply a Visa for your partner who is married to you. Within the partner Visa, you would be required to Identify your relationship. When a person is married, the relationship is “Spouse Relationship.”
9.4 What is De facto Visa?
There is no Visa that is called De facto Visa. You could be in De facto relationship with someone for whom you want to apply for a Partner Visa. You would be required to Identify your relationship in your Partner Visa application as “De facto” when unmarried and in De facto relationship with your partner.
9.5 What is a Fiance (e) Visa?
No Visa type is called a Fiance (e) Visa. The right term to apply a Visa for your Fiance (e) is a prospective marriage Visa. Meaning, you are in a Fiance or Fiancee relationship, and you are going to be married soon.
9.6 Who is Sponsor in Partner Visa or Prospective Marriage Visa Application?
Sponsoring partner is the person who is an Australian Citizen or Permanent resident or eligible New Zealand Citizen.
9.7 Who is the applicant?
The person, for whom the Partner or Prospective Marriage Visa will be applied to the Australian Government Visa authorities is called the applicant. The applicant can be Onshore or Offshore.
9.8 What is Onshore or Offshore, and why it is Important?
It is vital to know the difference between Onshore and Offshore because different Visa stream is applied depending on the applicant’s offshore or Onshore status. Offshore means the applicant is out of Australia at the time of lodgement and Onshore means the applicant is inside Australia at the time of lodgement.
9.9 What is a Temporary Partner Visa or Stage-1 Partner Visa?
Whether your partner is Inside Australia or outside Australia, he/she needs to apply for Stage-1 Temporary Visa first. This is the temporary Visa that will allow your partner to Live in Australia on partner Visa (Temporary type) before he or she is Eligible to Apply for the Permanent Type (PR) partner Visa.
9.10 What is Permanent Partner Visa or Stage-2 Partner Visa?
The permanent Partner visa is the stream, if granted, will give your partner, the rights of Australian Permanent resident. You can not apply for Stage-2 Partner Visa unless you have been granted Stage-1 partner Visa and you have completed the eligibility requirements while you were on Stage-1 Visa.
9.11 What is the right Stage-1 Visa Subclass if my partner is outside of Australia and the relationship is Spouse or De facto?
You could apply Partner Visa Subclass 309 if your partner is Outside Australia and is in Genuine Spouse or De facto relationship with you.
9.12 What is the right Stage-1 Visa Subclass if my partner is inside Australia and the relationship is Spouse or De facto relationship?
You could apply for Partner Visa Subclass 820 if your partner is Outside Australia and is in a genuine spouse or De facto relationship with you. You need to check that your partner should be on any substantive Visa while he/she is in Australia. There should be no condition on the Visa saying “No further stay.”
9.13 What is the right Stage-2 PR Visa to apply for my partner who is on Stage-1 309 Visa?
If your partner is on Partner Visa Subclass 309 (temporary Type), he or she may apply for Permanent Partner Visa Subclass 301 if eligible to get Permanent Residency.
9.14 What is the right Stage-2 PR Visa to apply for my partner who is on Stage-1 820 Visa?
If your partner is on Partner Visa Subclass 820 (temporary Type, he or she may apply for Permanent Partner Visa Subclass 801 if eligible to get Permanent Residency.
When Can my Partner Get Permanent Residency and Australian Citizenship
Stated earlier, Your partner will get PR as soon the second stage-2 Visa is Granted. ASk SIdra about CItizenship.
9.15 Who is Australian Citizen?
A person who got his Australian Passport. Has the right to vote.
9.16 Who is the Australian Permanent Resident?
A person who has been granted permanent residency by the Department of Home Affairs and been living in Australia on permanent and ongoing basis.
9.17 Who is Eligible New Zealand Citizen?
New Zealand citizens who
- arrived in Australia on 26 February 2001, or
- Were in Australia for 12 months in the two years immediately before 26 February 2001.
Understanding General Requirements For Partner Visa Australia.
10. Step-2: Understanding the general requirements for partner visa Australia
After you are familiar with the terms used in Step-1 above, its time for you to understand the General Australian Partner Visa requirements or General Partner Visa Eligibility requirements. These requirements applied to all types of Visas irrespective whether you intend to apply for stage-1 or stage-2 or whether your partner is onshore or offshore.
Following are some general requirements for all types of Visas under Partner Visa Category. These requirements are same for Partner Visa Subclass 309 (offshore), Partner Visa subclass 100 ( Stage-2 While onshore) , Partner Visa Subclass 820 (Stage-1 onshore) Or Partner Visa Subclass 801 (Stage-2 onshore).
Understanding How to Prove (De Facto) Relationship or (Partner & Spouse) Relationship in Australia
11. Step-3: Understanding how to prove (De facto) Relationship or (Partner & Spouse ) Relationship in Australia.
Now that you are familiar with the basic concepts about Partner Visa in Step-1 and also understand the General requirements explained in Step-2. It is time to move on to the third step. Whether you intend to apply Onshore Partner Visa or Offshore Partner visa or, whether your relationship is De facto or Spouse or Fiance (e), you need to provide evidence and proof of De facto relationship or spousal relationship with your partner.
How to prove relationship for visa purposes applies to every application related to Partner Visa.
Identifying what documents are required for a partner visa to establish the relationship
12. Step-4: Identifying what documents are required for a partner visa to establish the relationship.
People generally straight away start looking for the term “which documents are required for Spouse Visa Australia” or “Documents required for partner Visa for Australia” without realising that they should first under stand the basic concepts, criteria and aspects defined in Step-1 to step-3 above.
You should be able to generate sufficient documents if you understand well the above three steps.
In step-3, we have explained that you have to provide sufficient and satisfactory evidence or documents to prove the following four aspects.
- Financial aspects of the relationship.
- Nature of the household.
- Social aspects of the relationship.
- Nature of commitment.
Keep reading below if you are wondering how to provide documents related to the above aspects. We are going to define every aspect and its possible documents that you can submit.
12.1 What is the Financial aspect of the relationship and what documents can be provided?
During the application process, you would be asked to give details of the financial aspects of the relationship. For regulation of the Migration Act, the financial aspects of the relationship may be evidenced by:
- Joint ownership of significant assets or real estate
- Joint Liabilities.
- Extent and duration of pooling of financial resources, especially concerning major financial commitments.
- Legally binding financial obligations that one party owes to the other.
12.2 What is “Nature of House Hold” ?
You can satisfy the Visa authorities for the aspect of “Nature of House Hold” with the following:
- The living arrangements of the persons:
- shared responsibility for care and support of the children
- shared responsibility of the housework.
12.3 Social aspects of the relationship
You would be required to give details about the social aspects of the relationship. Social aspects may be evidenced by:
- Evidence that the relationship has been declared to other government bodies and commercial/public institutions or authorities and acceptance of these declarations by these bodies.
- joint membership of organisations or groups, documentary evidence of joint participation in sporting, cultural, social or other activities
- joint travel and plans for the future
- Whether the parties present themselves as a couple socially.
Statements of parents, family members, relatives, friends and other interested parties in the form prescribed by the Department (form 888) carries more weight as it acts as a statutory declaration.
When lodging your application, evidence you might consider providing photographs taken during social events, family gatherings and trips. If you go to a gym together or are affiliated to a religious organisation, then proof of membership can certainly be included in your application, as they will show commitment and social connection.
If you have traveled together, you can submit a copy of your travel tickets, hotel bill or even your travel insurance. These simple documents not only will demonstrate that you have a social life, but also will reinforce the message that your relationship is genuine and stable.
Social media is a simple way to provide evidence on the social aspects of your relationship. If both you and your partner have an online presence, then provide links, handles and other information to help the Department confirm that you have friends, share common interests and do things together. You can also provide screenshots of interactions. In a time where everybody is connected through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or have a digital presence one way or another, it is reasonable to assume that the Department will investigate your relationship online as well.
12.4 The nature of the commitment
You would be required to give details of the nature of the commitment the applicant and the sponsor have to each other. The nature of commitment for partner visa could be satisfied with the following: