Offshore partner visa is a two-stage visa process that allows the partner or spouse of an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australia with their spouse. The applicant must be outside of Australia at the time of lodging the application, and also outside Australia when the visa is being granted after processing.
The first stage is partner visa 309 which is temporary and lets an offshore applicant live in Australia for a specific period of time. And the second stage which is partner visa 100 is the natural step towards gaining permanent residence with your partner in Australia.
The visa fee is paid at once when you apply for the first stage (temporary partner visa 309), and there will be no visa application fee for the second stage.
The visa fee is AUD7,850.
The first stage: offshore partner visa (subclass 309)
Partner visa 309 is the first stage which is temporary and lets an offshore applicant live in Australia for a specific period of time and usually, after 24 months you may be eligible for the second stage which is permanent partner visa (subclass 100) which is the natural step towards gaining permanent residence with your partner in Australia.
What can I do with partner visa 309?
In the first stage of the partner visa 309 (temporary), you can:
- Live, work and study in Australia while the department examines your application
- Travel anywhere in Australia with no limitations
- Attend Adult Migrant English Program’s classes
Requirements for the first stage (subclass 309):
In order to be eligible for the first stage, which is a temporary partner visa (309), there are certain requirements that the applicant and the sponsor must meet:
- They must be 18 or older when they apply for the visa
- The applicant must not be in Australia when they apply for the visa
- The applicant must be married or in a long-term or de facto relationship with their prospective sponsor who is either an Australian citizen or permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen
- They must pass the department’s health and character test
- They must not have any debts to the Australian government
- There are no limitations in sexuality. Meaning that you can be in a relationship with a partner of the same or different sex.
- There is a chance that you will still be eligible for the visa even if your relationship ends or your partner dies while the Department is inspecting your application.
The second stage: offshore partner visa (subclass 100)
24 months after the grant of offshore partner visa 309, you may be eligible for the second stage which is permanent partner visa (subclass 100) which is the natural step towards gaining permanent residence with your partner in Australia.
What can I do with partner visa 100?
With the second stage, which is partner visa (subclass 100) (permanent), you can:
- Live, work and study in Australia indefinitely
- Sponsor eligible family members to come to Australia
- Apply for Australian citizenship if eligible
Requirements for the second stage (subclass 100):
For the second stage of the offshore partner visa, which is the permanent partner visa, there are also certain requirements and they are as follows:
- The applicant must hold a temporary partner visa (subclass 309) or Dependent Child Visa (subclass 445)
- Most of the time, 2 years must have passed since the applicant first applied for the 309 and 100 visas for them to be considered for the permanent visa.
- The applicant and the sponsor must provide written documents that prove the sincerity and seriousness of their relationship
- If you and your partner were in a long-term relationship or your sponsor held a specific visa before you lodged, you will probably be granted the permanent visa within less than 2 years.
- In most cases, it’s best to be married or be in a de facto relationship with your sponsor (You might still be eligible for the permanent visa if your relationship ends or if your sponsor dies)
What is considered “Married”?
To convince the department that your marriage is sincere:
- The applicant and the sponsor must be committed to each other and have shared their life together
- The relationship must be serious
- The applicant and the sponsor must have lived together or they must not have been apart permanently
- The marriage must be valid under Australian law
What is considered “De facto”?
If all the following points apply, the relationship will be considered de facto:
- The applicant and the sponsor are not married
- They are committed to each other and their relationship is exclusive
- Their relationship is genuine and continuing
- They live together or have not lived separately and apart for long
- They are not related by family
The department usually requires at least 12 months of a sincere and de facto relationship before applying for the partner visa. Although, under certain conditions, it can be less than 12 months.
The 12-month requirement will not apply if you can show compelling circumstances exist that convince the department to give you the partner visa 309.
The 12-month requirement also will not be applicable if:
- The applicant holds or has held a permanent humanitarian visa
- The applicant and the sponsor were in a de facto relationship before the department issued the visa
- They told the Department about the relationship before they held their visa
It also will not apply if they:
- Are in a de facto relationship with someone who has applied for a permanent humanitarian visa
- They have showcased documents regarding their relationship with an Australian authority such as a registry of births, deaths and marriages
- You might still be granted a temporary visa if your relationship has broken down (there has been domestic violence or such) or if your sponsor died.
- Being in an online relationship will rule out any chance that you might pass as a couple in a de facto relationship
What is considered a “Long-term relationship”?
A relationship can be considered “long-term” if at the time of application:
- The applicant and the sponsor have lived together for 3 years or more
- They have been living with their partner for 2 years and have a child
After passing all the points mentioned above, your permanent partner visa (100) may be issued immediately after the grant of the temporary partner visa 309.
Get a free consultation now if you would like to know more about this visa or need immigration advice. Contact us, if you need more help.