Love takes time and commitment - so does applying for a partner visa for Australia. Here's what you need to know.
1. A partner visa is expensive.
Partner and Prospective Marriage visas in Australia are some of the most expensive in the world. As a matter of fact, these visas have increased over four-fold over the past five years.
In 2018, both visas sit at a base fee of $7160 each. Another $3585 is charged for every additional applicant over 18 years of age, and $1,795 for every applicant under 18.
Aside from the application fee, an applicant must also pay for a police check (which could cost as much as $50), and a medical examination (which costs anywhere from $220 to $280, depending on where you live and what exams you may need to take).
The Department of Home Affairs will also require you to have particular paperwork certified, which will then incur additional costs should the document witnessing service you go to charge per page.
Additional costs will also be incurred by applicants who may seek the help of migration lawyers or agents.
2. It takes time
The department is said to be making attempts to fast-track partner visa applications; however, as it stands today, here are the processing times for the following partner visas:
For offshore applicants:
i. Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309)
75% of applications get processed in 13 months
90% of applications get processed in 17 months
ii. Partner (Permanent) visa (subclass 100)
75% of applications get processed in 17 months
90% of applications get processed in 25 months
For onshore applicants:
i. Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 820)
75% of applications get processed in 21 months
90% of applications get processed in 26 months
ii. Partner (Permanent) visa (subclass 801)
75% of applications get processed in 18 months
90% of applications get processed in 24 months
If you applied online, make sure to update the department regarding significant life changes (such as pregnancy or buying a home) to further prove that your relationship is genuine and ongoing.
3. The length of your relationship matters
Being in a genuine and ongoing long-term relationship and having children will speed up visa processing times.
Should a couple be in a long-term relationship when a permanent partner visa is lodged, the application could potentially be approved before the two-year allotted period. A long-term relationship is defined as existing for at least three years, or two years if the two have a child together.
4. De facto relationships have to be genuine and ongoing for at least a year
If you are not married but you live together as a couple. you have to be able to provide evidence that your relationship is genuine and has been ongoing for at least a year.
Evidence for this kind of relationship includes joint finances, a written history or timeline of your relationship, correspondences, acceptance and recognition by others of the relationship, etc.
5. You can register a de facto relationship and lodge a partner visa if you are legally married (but separated) to someone else
Under Australian law, you can not get married to your partner if either of you is still married to other people.
However, for migration purposes, your de facto relationship is recognised as long as the one married is legally separated from his/her spouse.
A partner visa can be obtained if either you or your partner can prove that the previous marriage/s has/have ended.
Evidence revolves around proof that parties are living separately on a permanent basis, and that the relationship does not have the characteristics of a marriage.
For more information about partner visas, go to the Department of Home Affairs website.