There are two types of partner category visas: partner visa and prospective marriage visa. The type of visa for which you should apply depends on the type of relationship you are in.
Partner visas are available to people who are married to, or in a de facto relationship with an Australian partner (the sponsor). The application can be made in or outside Australia.
Partner visa applicants must:
Married visa applicants must also show that their marriage is valid under Australian law.
De facto visa applicants must show that they are not related by family, and that their relationship has existed for at least 12 months immediately before lodging the application.
A partner visa applicant submits one application form and pays one visa application charge but the Department assesses the application in two stages. A temporary partner visa is granted at first stage, and the permanent visa is granted at second stage.
Generally, the permanent partner visa is granted two years after the application is made, if the couple is still in a married or de facto relationship. If the couple is in a long term relationship when they lodge the application, the two year period does not apply. A long term relationship is one that has existed for at least three years, or two years if the couple has a child.
In certain circumstances, it might be possible to grant the permanent partner visa sooner than two years, for example, if the relationship breaks down and the applicant has a dependent child or the applicant or dependent child has suffered family violence committed by the sponsor.
A partner visa applicant may be able to include certain members of their family unit in their application. This however, will depend on where the applicant and family member is at the time of application and whether the visa applicant has been granted the temporary visa or not.
Prospective marriage visa
The prospective marriage visa is available to people outside Australia who intend to marry their Australian sponsoring partner after they enter Australia. This visa is not available for people in Australia.
Prospective marriage visa applicants must:
A prospective marriage visa is valid for nine months from the date of grant. A prospective marriage visa holder must enter Australia, marry their sponsoring partner and apply for a partner visa in Australia within the nine month period. The visa cannot be extended in Australia.
All applicants for partner migration, whether they apply in or outside Australia, must be sponsored by their partner. If the partner is under 18 years of age and the application is made on the basis of a married relationship, the partner’s parent or guardian must sponsor the applicant.
The sponsor must be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen and be 18 years of age or older.
Limitations on sponsorship
A sponsor who has previously sponsored a partner or prospective marriage visa applicant cannot sponsor another partner or prospective marriage visa applicant until at least five years have passed since the first application was made.
A person who themselves were granted a partner or prospective marriage visa is also prevented from sponsoring a partner or prospective marriage visa applicant until at least five years have passed since they made their own visa application.
A person may sponsor two partner or prospective marriage visa applicants in total.
The sponsorship limitations referred to above may be waived if the sponsor has compelling circumstances affecting them. These include but are not limited to situations where: