Documents Needed for Australian Partner Visa Application, Processing Times & Cost
Planning a move to a new country can be exhilarating and nerve-wracking in equal measure. While you will undoubtedly be excited about the new experiences, culture, lifestyle, and sunny weather (depending on where you have chosen to live of course), there is often a great deal to do until you can finally ‘put your feet up and relax’ in your newly adopted part of the world. For many people, one of the countries high on the list of options for a new life in Australia. Indeed, each year, over 200,000 migrants from around the world make Australia their new home. With its high standard of living, excellent job opportunities, the unbeatable outdoor lifestyle, and sublime weather, it is easy to see why. If Australia is top of your list, you will first need to explore the immigration options. For those with Australian partners, the most obvious immigration route is the partner visa. In this article, we will discuss the documents needed for the Australian partner visa (subclasses 309 and 100), including the likely processing times and the cost of applying.
Who Can Apply For The Australian Partner Visa?
You can apply for an Australian partner visa if you are married or in a ‘de facto’ relationship to an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or New Zealand citizen. This means that your partner doesn’t need to have been born in Australia, they may have gained permanent residency and citizenship as a migrant themselves.
As part of the application process, the Australian Department of Internal Affairs will look to ensure that your relationship is genuine. This means if you are married, your relationship is ongoing, you live together, and you are “committed to a shared life together to the exclusion of all others”. If you are not married (i.e. if you are in a de-facto relationship), you must have been in your relationship for at least one year (there are some exceptions which mean the one-year requirement may not apply).
What Documents Will I Need To Provide To Support My Partner Visa Application?
The number and range of documents you will need to gather to support your partner visa application should not be underestimated. By providing all of the documents requested, in the correct format, with translations where needed, you will ensure you have the best chance of a successful outcome. We recommend that you start the process of gathering the documents you will need as early as possible, and you collate them carefully in a folder for ease of reference. The following is a list of documents you may need to provide:
Most applicants will need to provide a birth certificate showing the names of both parents. In addition, you will need your current passport, a national identity card (if you have one), and proof of a change of name (if applicable).
Providing strong evidence of a genuine and ongoing relationship is key to securing a positive decision, as the immigration authorities will be looking to ensure that yours is genuine and ongoing. This means that they will look for any signs of a ‘sham’ marriage or relationship (i.e. a relationship which is not genuine and is purely for the intention of acquiring a partner visa). In order to avoid any such suspicion, you need to demonstrate that:
- you are mutually committed to your spouse or de facto partner to the exclusion of all others
- your relationship is genuine and continuing
- you either live together or don't live permanently apart
- you are not related by family
To prove these points, you should explain the following in writing:
- how, when and where you first met
- how the relationship developed
- when you moved in together, got engaged or married
- what you do together
- the time you spent apart
- significant events in the relationship
- your plans for the future
You will need to provide documents which you have shared financial interests, such as:
- joint mortgage or rental/lease documents
- joint loan documents for major assets like homes, cars or major appliances
- joint bank account statements
- household bills in both names
Documents will also need to be provided which show you have shared responsibility for household and domestic matters, such as:
- a statement about how you share housework
- household bills in both names
- mail or emails addressed to you both
- documents that show joint responsibility for children
- documents that prove your living arrangements
Another key aspect of demonstrating the genuineness of your relationship is the extent of your shared social life. The Australian Department of Internal Affairs will want to see evidence of this, such as:
- joint invitations or evidence you go out together
- proof you have friends in common (e.g. photos)
- proof you have told the government, public or commercial bodies about your relationship
- proof you do joint sporting, cultural or social activities together
- proof you travel together
As evidence of your shared social life, you can ask your family members, relatives and friends, to provide statutory declarations about how they see the genuineness of your relationship.
And finally, you may need to provide additional evidence of your ongoing commitment to each other. This may take the form of proof that you have combined your personal matters, your wills, and evidence that you stay in touch when apart.
Beyond the identity and relationship documents required, you will also need to provide proof relating to your previous relationships (e.g. divorce certificates), police certificates (to prove the suitability of your character), and documents for your dependants included in the application (e.g. their passport, birth certificates, character documents, and proof of their dependency on you if they are over 18).
Processing Times And Fees For The Australian Partner Visa
The processing times and fees for the Australian partner visa are unfortunately both on the high side. The processing time is currently one year and five months (for 75% of applications), and the fee is AUD$7,715. While there are technically two visas you will apply for, a provisional one (subclass 309) and a permanent one (subclass 100), the fee covers both. It cannot be overstated how important seeking legal advice from an immigration lawyer is in reducing the overall timeframe for this visa. By providing a robust set of evidence upfront which meets all of the criteria of the Australian immigration authorities, it is possible to significantly compress the overall processing time. Given the high costs and demands of this visa, professional guidance is key to the best possible outcome.