FREE 15 MINUTE CONSULTATION FOR PARTNER VISAS
Do you want to come to Australia to live with your Australian partner? Or are you already in Australia living with your partner and you wish to remain in Australia permanently?
Partner visa applications are truly extensive. The information below is a brief outline of the partner visa application process and what is required.
Married or Defacto Relationship
An Australian citizen or permanent resident may be able to sponsor their non-Australian citizen partner for a temporary or permanent partner visa. A non-Australian citizen partner can be either the spouse or de-facto of the Australian sponsor.
A spouse is a married partner, while de-facto is a non-married partner who meets the immigration law definition of de-facto.
The immigration law definition of what is a de-facto partner is detailed and is prescribed in the Migration Regulations. In summary, the immigration definition of de-facto relationship is that the couple have been living together for at least 12 months as a committed couple to the exclusion of all others. The 12 month living together requirement may be overcome (in some circumstances) if the de-facto relationship has been registered. Check out the relevant State or Territory Births Deaths & Marriages Registry to see what the requirements are where you live to register a de-facto relationship. For example, here is a link to the NSW Registry.
Both spouse and de-facto can include same-sex partners.
A marriage certificate or a registered relationship certificate on its own will not get you a partner visa. We have had genuine married couples come to us with a partner visa refusal (see example at the bottom of this page). A marriage certificate or a registered relationship certificate tick one box. There are many other boxes to be ticked. For example, there are what’s known as the ‘4 pillars’.
The 4 pillars
Partner visa applications will be assessed against what’s known as 'the 4 pillars', which are:
- The social aspects of the relationship
- The joint financial aspects of the relationship
- The nature of the household
- The nature of commitment & development of the relationship
This shows that you and your spouse/partner share financial commitments and responsibilities.
• Evidence of joint ownership of real estate or other major assets such as cars, shares, or appliances e.g. property ownership documents, rates notices, share portfolio summaries, dividends, vehicle registration documents
• Evidence of joint liabilities such as. shared loans, insurance (car, home, contents or other) or personal loans e.g. loan statements, insurance policy documents, loan documents
• Joint bank account statements (preferably including statements dating from when you first set up the account, as well as recent statements).
NOTE: If you do not already have a joint account, we recommend that you set one up as soon as possible
• Shared household bills and other documents showing shared expenses
• Documents showing that you and your spouse/partner have taken on legal commitments as a couple, or that one person owes a legal obligation in relation to the other e.g. documents showing that one person is the other’s guarantor for a loan, has power of attorney for the other, is the other person’s superannuation beneficiary, is the other person’s carer
• Any other documents showing that you share your finances e.g. money transfers, direct debits, other evidence of financial support provided to each other (and/or family members)
This shows that you and your spouse/partner share responsibilities within your household.
• Joint tenancy or home ownership documents for the residence in which you live together e.g. home ownership documents, tenancy agreement, receipts for bond and rent payments, statement from landlord/property owner regarding your living arrangements
• Bills/other correspondence for joint utilities accounts e.g. gas, phone, electricity, internet, Pay TV, gym membership, subscriptions
• Documents showing that you have joint responsibility for children e.g. court order, custody or guardianship documents, evidence of Centrelink benefit payments
• Any other correspondence addressed to you and your spouse/partner at the same address (preferably showing both of your names on the same document) e.g. letters or cards sent by family members, friends, government departments or other sources
• Written statement describing your living arrangements and how you distribute responsibility for housework
This shows how your relationship is viewed by your friends and family
• Evidence that you and your spouse/partner are accepted as a couple socially e.g. joint invitations to social events, photos taken during social outings, social media profiles
• Documents showing that you and your spouse/partner have declared your relationship to government bodies, commercial/public institutions or other authorities e.g. Centrelink letter acknowledging your relationship, letters from government bodies addressed to you and your spouse/partner, tax return on which both of your names are mentioned
• Documents showing that you are both members of organisations or groups
e.g. evidence of joint club, casino or gym memberships, letter from the leader of your church/other religious organisation
• Evidence that you and your spouse/partner participate together in sporting, cultural or social activities
• Evidence that you and spouse/partner have travelled together, or have booked future travel together e.g. joint travel itineraries, tax invoices for flights, boarding cards, accommodation bookings, travel insurance
Level of Commitment Documents
This shows that you and your spouse/partner are mutually committed.
• Correspondence (e.g. letters, cards, emails, texts) and itemised phone accounts showing that you and your spouse/partner maintained contact during any periods of separation
• Any documents showing how long you have been in a relationship and how long you have lived together i.e. documents dating from the start of your relationship or from when you started living together
• You and/or your spouse/partner’s wills NOTE: you can have your wills prepared by a solicitor, or use a Will Kit for couples (these are commonly sold at newsagencies)
• Any other documents that demonstrate your intention to continue in a long-term relationship i.e. showing how you have combined your affairs and have plans for a shared future e.g. Notice of intention to get married, evidence of purchase of an engagement ring or other symbol of commitment, details of pregnancy (if relevant)
NOTE: The above list is not exhaustive; any documents that clearly evidence that your relationship is genuine and continuing should be provided.
The Main Partner Visas are:
- Offshore Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300)
- Offshore Partner (subclasses 309 and 100)
- Onshore Partner visa (subclasses 820 and 801)
There are Two Applications
With a partner visa application, there are actually two applications. There is the partner visa application which is lodged by the visa applicant and there is also the sponsorship application which is lodged by the Australian citizen or permanent resident.
Both applicants are comprehensive.
What Can Go Wrong?
Many partner visa applications are refused. Many partner visa application clients are unaware of the comprehensive detailed evidence that is required to support a partner visa application. Unfortunately, the Department of Home Affairs website does not include the policy which the Department assesses applications against (we have access to the Department’s policy).
Not supplying all of the required documents can lead to a very lengthy visa process, stress and possibly a visa refusal.
Cindy and Ted have been in a relationship for 1 year and decide to get married. They have a wedding ceremony with family and friends. Cindy is an Australian citizen and Ted is from the UK. The couple decide that it is time to apply for a partner visa. Cindy is under the belief that their partner visa applications will be straight forward as they have a marriage certificate, photos from the wedding and statements from their family and friends. The couple would also like to save money if they can as the partner visa application itself is not cheap and if they can do the visa application themselves without legal fees, then great. To their surprise, the couple receive a notification of partner visa application refusal because the Department of Home Affairs do not believe that the couple meet the 4 pillars. Cindy contacts Visa & Citizenship Lawyers to review their matter and represent them at the Tribunal. Visa & Citizenship Lawyers inform the couple that had the couple engaged their services to prepare and lodge the partner visa application the couple would likely be holding a visa by now instead of the refusal. Visa & Citizenship Lawyers assist the couple to obtain the visa at the Tribunal hearing which is 2 years after the refusal. Cindy and Ted end up paying twice the professional legal fees for the representation at the Tribunal hearing as they would have paid for assistance for the partner visa application. Apart from the extra financial cost, the couple endure 2 years of stress waiting for the Tribunal hearing.
* (Names and facts have been changed to protect the identity of clients)
Why use Visa & Citizenship Lawyers?
Even though there are many partner visa refusals, we currently have a 100% success rate with our partner visa clients.
At Visa & Citizenship Lawyers, we understand the importance of having your partner become a permanent resident and ultimately a citizen. Our goal is to get your partner visa application right the first time which will save you:
- Time; and
- A lot of worry.
When assisting clients with partner visa applications, the bulk of our work is in preparing a Statutory Declaration for the visa applicant and also a Statutory Declaration for the Australian sponsor. Our Statutory Declarations tie all of your evidence together and we aim for the Statutory Declarations to be between 14 – 17 pages each (this is not including attached evidence). Our most enthusiastic client to date managed a 52 page Statutory Declaration! A lot of time and effort goes into our Statutory Declarations.
We take care and pride in helping our partner visa clients achieve the visa result that they need.
The current Department of Home Affairs partner visa processing fee is $7,715. Our current standard partner visa application professional fees are $4,900 (plus GST if applicable).
For partner visas enquiries only, we offer a FREE 15 MINUTE CONSULTATION to understand your current situation and decide whether we can help you. Contact us today to book in for your free 15 minute consultation with an immigration lawyer.