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Same Sex Couple - Can We Apply For A Partner Visa In Australia

YES You Can!

Here at Visa Crew, we’re regularly asked about Australian partner visa options for defacto, married and same sex couples. If your partner is in Australia you require 820/801 Visa, some criteria and requirements are set out below. To help you further understand the process, we’ve put this blog together which hopefully answers some of the most frequently asked questions.

Same-sex partner visas

People in same-sex relationships are now entitled to apply for all partner visa or marriage visa in Australia. There is no longer a separate visa type or discrimination in the Australian Visa Program. Requirements are much the same for same sex & opposite sex couples when applying for any partner visas.

The Prospective Marriage Visa (subclass 300) now available to same sex & gay couples since the 'Yes' vote of December 2017, Keep this visa in mind as an option; when your partner is outside Australia this visa may be ideal if you plan to marry in the future!!

In order to apply for a partner visa, you must generally meet the criteria set out by the Department of Home Affairs. Criteria includes:

  • Be in a de facto relationship with your partner for the 12 months prior to applying or have registered your relationship (more info on this later)

  • Be over the age of 18

  • Meet health and character requirements

  • Demonstrate that your relationship is genuine and continuing

  • Show evidence of joint finances

  • Show evidence of your relationship in a ‘social context’

  • Demonstrate that you remained committed to each other even during periods of separation (if applicable)

With same-sex marriage and civil unions now recognised in Australia you as a married or defacto relationship couple now have visa options never before available.

Exceptions To The One Year Rule

There are some exceptions to the 12-month de facto relationship requirement. As we mentioned briefly, depending on where you’re based, it may be possible to formally register your relationship. The rules regarding relationship registrations vary between the states and territories. Relationship registration is not available in every state. In some states like NSW only one partner is required to reside there, the relationship can still be registered even if the 'other half' is residing abroad.

Applicants may also be able to demonstrate ‘compelling and compassionate circumstances’ whereby the 12-month rule may be waived. For example, if you and your partner share guardianship of a child. Or if the laws in your home country prohibit de facto relationships and it was not possible to live together prior to applying. These situations are assessed on a case by case basis.

Obviously, it is much more straight-forward if you meet the full 12-month defacto requirement, if your relationship can be registered or if the same sex couple are married.

Gay Visa Australia

Two-stage Visa Application - 820/801

In most cases, Australian partner visas are completed in two stages. The regulations allow for this, thus saving you time, money and much stress. A provisional partner visa is granted first - 820. Because the applicant is in Australia for this visa application a Bridging 'A' will generally be issued. This bridging visa has no travel rights. You should not make travel outside of Australia while this bridging visa is in effect. If you need to travel outside of Australia you can apply for a Bridging 'B' visa.

820 Visa To Permanent Residence

When 24 months has lapsed since your first application (subclass 820), you may be eligible to apply for the permanent stage - subclass 801 visa. Obviously, this is provided that the relationship is still ongoing and you have collected the necessary evidence to support the second visa application.

There is a common misconception regarding the 24-month waiting period. Many applicants mistakenly believe they must wait two years AFTER their initial temporary visa has been granted before they can proceed with the second part of their application. This is not the case; the subsequent application can be lodged 24 months after the first application was lodged, (not 24 months after it was granted). This can significantly speed up the road to Permanent Residence (PR) in Australia.

In some cases, you might be able to apply for the 801 visa straight away. For example, if you’ve lived together for a long period of time or have a child together. In the current climate however it is becoming increasingly difficult to get 801 visa granted unless your circumstances warrant this.

Our Registered Migration Agents can provide an assessment based on your individual circumstances.

Remember though, if your relationship breaks down whilst you’re on an 820 visa, you are required to immediately inform immigration dept and update your details.

If your relationship breaks down because of family violence, the applicant may still be eligible for visa grant - Call Us For More Details.

820/801 Partner Visa - In A Nutshell

Partner visas are complex and costly. Australian partner visa application fees increased significantly last year. Unfortunately, the cost of partner visa charges has been rising steadily for the last five years and things aren’t likely to change any time soon. The best thing to do in this situation is to do it once, and get it right first time.

If you’re unsure about your eligibility or even which visa to apply for, we highly recommend that you seek the assistance of a Registered Migration Agent.

December 2017 - UPDATE

Now that the Australian Senate have passed the Marriage equality bill, same sex coupes may now apply for Prospective Marriage Visa. This visa is designed for gay couples where the applicant/fiancé is offshore. The couple must marry within 9 months of visa grant...

Thanks for taking the time to read over this Blog

Visa Crew Team

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