This visa is for people to stay in Australia with their partner, who must be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.
The applicant must be in a genuine and continuing marriage and/or de facto relationship with his/her sponsor. If you apply for this visa based on de facto relationship, you must have been in this relationship for at least 12 months. If you apply for this visa based on prospective marriage (in other words as a fiancé of your sponsor), you must be outside Australia when you are applying for this visa. You must also be engaged with your sponsor and will enter into marriage soon.
You must be married or in a de facto relationship with:
an Australian citizen
an Australian permanent resident
an eligible New Zealand citizen.
You must be in a genuine and ongoing relationship. You must live with your partner or, if you do not, any separation must be only temporary.
Both parties must freely consent to the relationship.
In most cases, permanent residence cannot be granted less than two years from when you lodge your application. You could be granted a permanent visa without having to fulfil the usual two-year waiting period if:
your relationship breaks down and there is a child of the relationship
your partner dies and you can show that your relationship would have continued if your partner had lived and you have close business, cultural or personal ties in Australia
your relationship breaks down and you or members of your family unit have suffered family violence
at the time you apply, you have been in a partner relationship with your partner for three years or more, or two years or more if you and your partner have a dependent child of your relationship.
Your marriage must be valid under Australian law. Underage, polygamous and same-sex marriages are not legal in Australia. The marriage could be valid under limited circumstances if one person is younger than 18 years of age. Same-sex couples can apply for this visa based on their de facto relationship.
De facto applicants
Usually your de facto relationship must have existed for at least 12 months immediately before you apply for this visa. Time spent dating does not count towards a de facto relationship.
You can be granted a visa without having been in a de facto relationship for 12 months if:
you can demonstrate compelling and compassionate circumstances, such as having dependent children
your partner has been granted a permanent humanitarian visa and your de facto relationship existed before it was granted, and you told us about the relationship before the visa was granted
your de facto relationship has been registered in Australia (this is not available in all states and territories).
You must also be older than 18 years of age and not be related to your partner by family. This means you cannot be an ancestor or descendant of one another, or have a parent in common.
Expansion of partner visa eligibility in Australia
If you do not hold a substantive visa (a visa that is not a Bridging visa or a Criminal Justice visa) and have had a visa refused or cancelled since your last entry to Australia, you will be subject to section 48 of the Migration Act 1958 (the 'Act'). This section bars you from applying for another visa while in Australia, except for certain prescribed visa classes, for example a Protection visa or a Bridging visa. However, from 14 September 2009 you may be eligible to apply for a Partner visa in Australia if you meet certain criteria.
Additional criteria that must be met by affected applicants in order to make a valid application in Australia
If you have had a visa cancelled or refused since you last entered Australia, there are four criteria that you will need to meet to be able to lodge a valid Partner visa application in Australia. These are:
You must not have had a partner visa refused since you last entered Australia
You must not have had a visa refused or cancelled on character grounds under section 501 of the Act
You must provide with your application a form 40SPSponsorship for a partner to migrate to Australia completed and signed by an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen who declares that they are your spouse or de facto partner
You must provide with your application two statutory declarations from Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens (other than your partner) supporting the existence of your relationship with your partner. These declarations must be made not more than six weeks before the day the Partner visa application was made.
Note: Meeting the criteria will simply enable you to lodge a valid application. You will also still be subject to all other eligibility requirements for the Partner visa. Once you have made a valid application, you will be assessed against the legislative requirements in the same way as all Partner visa applicants who apply in Australia. Information about applying for a Partner visa in Australia is available.