Defacto Partner Visa Applications in 2024

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding Partner Visas
  3. Two-Stage Approval Process
  4. Bridging Visa
  5. Alternate Names
  6. De Facto Partner Relationships
  7. Dependent Applicants
  8. Not Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents?
  9. Consider Subclass 461 Visa
  10. De Facto Partner Visa Terms
  11. Visa Subclasses
  12. What is a De Facto Partner Visa?
  13. Requirements for De Facto Visa Approval
  14. De Facto Visa Documentation
  15. Quality Over Quantity
  16. Credibility is Crucial
  17. Addressing Missing Information
  18. Common Questions
  19. Sponsorship Limitations
  20. Health Waiver and Appeals
  21. Handling Criminal Records
  22. Registering Your Relationship
  23. Share Your Questions

1. Introduction

If you're seeking insights into De Facto Partner visas in Australia, you've come to the right place. I'm Nilesh Nandan, an immigration lawyer, and I specialize in providing advice on visa applications for de facto partners.

2. Understanding Partner Visas

A partner visa is your ticket to lawful presence in Australia if you're not an Australian passport holder. It's granted based on your spousal relationship with a sponsor. A sponsor can be an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen, who was ordinarily resident in Australia in 2001.

3. Two-Stage Approval Process

The partner visa approval process involves two stages. Initially, you'll receive a provisional visa, allowing you to live and work in Australia. The second stage leads to a permanent residence visa, enabling you to stay in Australia indefinitely.

4. Bridging Visa

When applying from within Australia, you'll typically be granted a bridging visa, ensuring lawful presence until the provisional visa is granted.

5. Alternate Names

Partner visas go by various names, including spouse visa, spousal visa, or marriage visa.

6. De Facto Partner Relationships

This guide is especially helpful if your situation falls into one of these categories:

  1. You're a sponsor, and your de facto partner needs a visa.
  2. You need an Australian visa, and your de facto partner can sponsor you.

7. Dependent Applicants

In cases where neither you nor your partner can be a sponsor, one partner can be included as a dependent applicant in the other's visa application. This often happens with student visas and work visas, where the primary applicant meets the criteria, and the dependent partner gains permission based on their de facto relationship.

8. Not Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents?

If neither you nor your partner is an Australian citizen or permanent resident, this guide may not apply. Instead, you'll need to understand how de facto partners can be added to or combined with another Australian visa application. This commonly occurs when an international student or overseas worker in Australia seeks a visa for their de facto partner without Australian citizenship or permanent residency.

9. Consider Subclass 461 Visa

The Subclass 461 New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa is designed for couples where one partner is a New Zealand citizen, and the other is not an Australian citizen or permanent resident but wishes to be in Australia with their New Zealand citizen partner.

10. De Facto Partner Visa Terms

Here are some key terms related to partner visas in Australia:

  • Partner visa can also be called a de facto visa or spouse visa.
  • Marriage visa is another term used for spouse or partner visas.

11. Visa Subclasses

Understanding the visa subclasses:

  • Subclass 820: A de facto visa lodged in Australia.
  • Subclass 309: A partner visa lodged when the applicant is outside Australia.
  • Permanent de facto Partner visas: Subclasses 820 and 309 lead to permanent residence in Australia, with subclasses 801 and 100 respectively.

12. What is a De Facto Partner Visa?

In Australia, a de facto partner visa is granted by immigration authorities to permit the de facto partner of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen to be lawfully present in Australia, either provisionally or permanently.

13. Requirements for De Facto Visa Approval

Basic eligibility criteria for a de facto visa include:

  • A de facto relationship of at least 12 months before applying.
  • Registration of the de facto relationship before or shortly after application.
  • One partner being an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen.
  • Demonstrating a genuine, shared life as partners.

14. De Facto Visa Documentation

De facto visa applications require various documents to support your case. These include personal information, relationship details, previous relationships, immigration history, health, and character. Check the Department's partner visa checklist for guidance.

15. Quality Over Quantity

Contrary to common belief, the quantity of documents isn't the key to success. It's the value and credibility of the provided material that matters. Rushing into actions like opening joint bank accounts or executing wills solely for the visa application can backfire.

16. Credibility is Crucial

In de facto partner visa cases, credibility is paramount. Case officers want to approve applications, but they need credible information to do so. The two critical questions are whether your relationship met the required criteria when you applied and whether it continues to exist when the decision is made.

17. Addressing Missing Information

If some aspects of your relationship are not well-documented, explain why. You can provide separate personal statements for the missing information, along with reasons, using Commonwealth statutory declarations.

18. Common Questions

  • Is the visa guaranteed? No, but following the right approach increases your chances.
  • What does a de facto visa cost? Filing fees are around $7850, plus immigration lawyer fees.
  • What are my chances? Credible applications are likely to be granted even with limited evidence.
  • Processing times: About 2 years for provisional visas, with bridging visas allowing work and study.
  • The 12-month rule exceptions: Compelling circumstances, humanitarian visa holders, or registered relationships.
  • Is divorce necessary? No, you can be in a de facto relationship while still legally married.

19. Sponsorship Limitations

You can typically sponsor a partner for a permanent visa twice in your lifetime, with a five-year gap between sponsorships. Some exceptions apply.

20. Health Waiver and Appeals

If you or your partner have a medical condition, you may seek a health waiver for your de facto partner visa, depending on the visa type. Appeals for visa refusals are possible, with costs involved.

21. Handling Criminal Records

Criminal records can impact your application, but not necessarily fatally. Your character matters, and it's essential to explain any past issues honestly.

22. Registering Your Relationship

Registration of your de facto relationship can be advantageous. Some states and territories offer relationship registration, while others do not.

23. Share Your Questions

Feel free to share your de facto partner visa questions and experiences. This forum helps others find answers to their visa queries.

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