Partner Migration to Australia is for people who are in a committed relationship with an Australian Citizen, Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen.

Married, de facto and same-sex couples can apply. Applications can be made in Australia or overseas.

Partner Migration is normally a two-stage process. Stage 1 is a provisional resident visa. Stage two is consideration of permanent resident status; this is normally done about 2 years later. Partners in long term relationships (longer than 3 years, or 2 years with children) enjoy a one-stage process.

The Australian Government requires you to prove that you are a partner in a real relationship with an Australian. To qualify for Partner Migration you must convince the Australian Government that you:

Married spouses must convince the Australian Government they:

  • are validly married
  • have a mutual commitment to a shared life as husband and wife to the exclusion of all others
  • are in a genuine and continuing relationship with each other; and
  • live together (or don’t live apart on a permanent basis)

De facto partners (including heterosexual and same-sex couples) must convince the Australian Government they:

  • Have been in a relationship that has subsisted at “partner level” for least 12 months (shorter periods can be accepted where the relationship is formally registered in Australia, or in exceptional circumstances)
  • are both over 18
  • are not in a married relationship with each other but:
  • have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others; and
  • are in a genuine and continuing relationship with each other; and
  • live together (or don’t live apart on a permanent basis); and
  • are not related by family because either is
    • the child or adopted child of the other; or
    • a descendant of the other (even if the relationship between them is traced through an adoptive parent)
    • they do not have a parent in common (who may be an adoptive parent of either or both of them)

Same-sex relationships and all kinds of LGBT relationships are categorized as de facto relationships (rules above).

  • Application can be made in Australia or overseas
    • In Australia – if you are permitted to apply in Australia, you will be allowed to stay (on a bridging visa) until a decision is made on your application and will have work rights on that bridging visa and access to Australia’s free health care system (Medicare)
    • Overseas – permission to visit your partner in Australia can often be obtained while awaiting grant of Partner Migration visa. Partner Migration visas are granted with full work rights and access to Australia’s free health care system (Medicare)
  • Get unlimited travel rights for the life of the visa
  • Providing enough evidence of relationship of the kind expected by the Australian Government
  • The two stage process, with a 2-year delay sometimes causes problems
  • Simple things can cause refusal of permanent residence, such as if you change address or contact details and do not inform the Australian Government.

The legal definition of spouse/partner is many pages long. The Australian Government’s policy manual (not disclosed to the public; we maintain a current copy) adds many more pages of expectations. Meeting all the requirements is essential. Many people who are not committed life partners have close personal relationships. Business partners share finances. Housemates live together. It is your task to provide the Australian Government with sufficient evidence to convince a skeptical onlooker (an immigration officer) that your relationship is a lifelong commitment to each other to the exclusion of all others. Cases where the partners have a difference of age, education level, religion or culture, or where they don’t both speak the same language fluently require special care. We can provide you with detailed case-specific guidance about your unique circumstances. 

We can assist you to prepare an application for a Spouse migration. Most cases can be tailored to fit into the Australian Government’s expectations. We know all of the Rules and Policies applied by the Australian Government when deciding these cases and can prepare your application so that it addresses all of these.

It can be difficult to be together for 12 months to qualify for Partner Migration on de facto grounds. We can often find an interim visa so you can be together.

Many people choose to apply themselves, believing the process to be simple. We regularly file appeals for such people and urge you to consider using our services disappointment, delay and costly appeals.

There are limits on sponsorships. Australians can sponsor a maximum of 2 people in their life to be their fiancé or partner. If they have sponsored someone previously, at least 5 years must pass before they are eligible to sponsor another person. If the Australian originally migrated to Australia because they were sponsored as a fiancé or spouse, they are not eligible to sponsor someone else as their new fiancé or partner until 5 years pass. Exceptions can be made in appropriately compelling circumstances.

If you are not married yet, do not get married before seeking legal advice. Marriage does not guarantee you a visa. In some cases getting married is the best choice, but in other cases a marriage only damages the case.

In some countries (including Australia) it is possible to register a de facto relationship. As with marriage, this does not guarantee you a visa. Seek legal advice first.