There are three types of visa under the Partner category:
- Partner (Marriage) Visa. This type of Partner Visa is for people who are legally married to their sponsor. Over a period of two years, this visa will usually lead to permanent residency.
- Partner (De Facto) Visa. This Partner Visa type is for people who are in a de facto relationship with their sponsor. Before the visa application is made, both the applicant and the sponsor will need to live together for at least twelve (12) months. This visa type will lead to permanent residency usually over a period of two (2) years.
- Fiancé / Prospective Marriage Visa. Designed for the applicant who is engaged to be married to their sponsor, the applicant and sponsor should have met in person since turning 18 years of age. Both parties must be free to marry. The visa is a nine (9) month temporary visa, during which time the applicant should travel to Australia to marry their Australian partner. After the marriage has taken place, applicants should apply for a Partner Visa to secure permanent residency.
Couples in a De Facto Relationship and the 12 Month Relationship Requirement
Before the visa application is made, couples must show they have been in a de facto relationship for at least twelve (12) months. To satisfy migration visa requirements, a person is in a de facto relationship with another person if they:
- Are not legally married to one other
- Are both committed to a shared life, excluding other relationships
- Are in a genuine, committed and ongoing relationship to one another
- Live together in the same home, not separately or apart on a permanent arrangement
- Are not related to one another by family
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) will require evidence that you have lived together for twelve (12) months. An example of this evidence is a jointly signed rental lease.
De facto couples who register their relationship as a Civil Union or Partnership (as recognised in Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Victoria or Tasmania) may be granted a visa without meeting the requirement of being in a de facto relationship for twelve (12) months.
What is Required to Demonstrate a Genuine Relationship?
Every Partner Visa application is assessed on the basis of the genuineness of the relationship. Applicants must provide documentation to show they are in a long term, committed and genuine relationship with their sponsor. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will assess your application based on the following criteria:
- Relationship finances. The DIBP require information that demonstrates that you and your partner share financial burdens and commitments.
- Household and living arrangements. For example, information about your living arrangements and how housework is shared between the two of you.
- Social aspects. How is the relationship viewed by friends and family?
- Your commitment to one other. For example, can you demonstrate knowledge of one another’s personal situation?