Are you in a relationship with an Australian citizen and looking to move to Australia with them? This article might be worth reading if you are thinking of applying for the Australia spouse visa.
First step – check your eligibility
There are a number of factors to consider when you are looking to apply for an Australian Partner Visa. First you should always keep in mind that the authorities will favour only those applicants that they see as being truly committed and in a continuous relationship with their partner. This partner can be an eligible New Zealand national as well as an Australian Citizen or a holder of an Australian permanent visa.
Once the government can see that this is a genuine long-term partner relationship which has at least one year’s duration before applying, the application will be considered. However, it must be well beyond the ‘dating’ stage and the couple must be able to demonstrate joint activities and responsibilities in the management of the household in which they have lived together.
If you have been together less than 3 years (or 2 years with children) then you may be granted a Temporary visa which will then lead to full residency following two more years successful temporary stay.
However, if you can show that you have a relationship of at least 3 years, (or 2 years with children) you might be able to obtain permanent residency.
There are naturally some hurdles to overcome and your Australian Migration agent will be able to assist and smooth the path for you. These include a character test and health test to show the authorities that you do not have a police record and that you don’t have any serious medical problems.
Potential applicants might ask – what if we have not yet lived together and are engaged looking to start a new life in Australia? Well, there is an option for you – you could apply for the Fiancée visa however with this alternative, you have to marry you partner within nine months – the duration of this visa – and apply for the
Australian spouse visa before the nine month period is up.
Due to the complexities, it is important to enlist the help of an Australian Immigration agent who will look at your unique case and provide the correct advice to ensure the process runs smoothly and that you are not penalised for getting any technicalities wrong.
What type of fees are involved?
Using an agent is important because the fees are significant for the Prospective Marriage and Australian Partner Visas. The great attraction of life in Australia means that there is a lot of competition for places and the fees are some of the most expensive in the world.
For instance, at the time of writing in July 2020 you could expect to pay $7,715 with an additional $1,935 for children under 18 or $3,860 for those over 18. Police checks are up to $100 for those over 16, so for larger families this is a considerable sum and you want to make sure the application is successful. Moreover, the medical examinations must be made by an approved doctor on a clinic panel and this can range from $200-$400, excluding additional medical screening for doctors and nurses or health care workers.
In some cases, you might have such documents that the Government requires in a foreign language – it will be necessary to translate these using an accredited individual or company which will be an additional cost. These are all good reasons to bring on board guidance and expertise from an Australian immigration lawyer for the Australian Spouse visa application. Of course, this will incur some additional costs too.
How long can I expect to wait?
As this is a long process you need to plan well in advance for The Australian Spouse visa. Make sure you know how long the processing times will be, especially given the current Covid-19 Pandemic situation.
Currently, Australian Spouse applications applied for outside Australia is estimated to be from 16 months to 23 months, but there is no set rule and these change on a continuous basis. It also depends where you live and where your application is lodged.
For instance, applicants for The Australian partner visa applying from within Australia, could witness eighteen to twenty-four months before the Visa is granted.
However, the Bridging visa is expected to cover you during this time while you wait. Please note that specific situations you may incur can affect the time the
Australian Partner Visa takes to process – for instance if you are travelling overseas or are pregnant.
When should I use an Australian Migration Agent?
In all cases this is advised, but if you have any special circumstances such as a police record or medical condition, it is definitely advised to use an experienced agent to look after you and guide you through the pitfalls.
What happens once I am granted the visa?
On approval, you will receive a grant notification letter outlining the deadline date by which you will need to travel. Typically, this will be 12 months. Please note that if you have been granted Permanent Residency you will have to stay two out of every five years in Australia if you want to ensure the status remains valid.
You can remain in Australia as a permanent resident or apply for Australian passport once you have lived in the country for at least 4 years (*current rules).
Under the existing regulations you can stay in Australia as a permanent resident and, after a minimum of four years, you can apply for an Australian passport.