If you have applied for a prospective marriage visa, but before your visa is granted you marry your partner, Is it possible to change from a prospective marriage visa to a partner visa? The answer is yes, and it is a common pathway that many of our clients do. All visas have certain criteria that must be satisfied at both times of application and time of decision. For a partner visa, at time of application, you must either be legally married or in a de-facto relationship with your partner who is an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident. Your relationship must also be one that is genuine and mutually exclusive. For those that do not meet the criteria for a partner visa, a prospective marriage visa may be a suitable option.
The criteria for a prospective marriage visa at the time of application is that the applicant and sponsor have met in person as adults, are known to each other personally, and have a genuine intention to marry in the future. At the time of the decision, there must be no legal impediment to your marriage taking place. If either the applicant or sponsor is still legally married to another person, not only can the prospective marriage visa not be granted, it can be refused. Although the no legal impediment is a time of decision criteria, we strongly recommend against applying for a prospective marriage visa until any divorce has been finalized.
My prospective marriage visa has not been granted, but I have now married my partner. What do I need to do?
If you marry at any time before your prospective marriage visa is granted, you must notify the Department of Home Affairs in writing that you have now married. Upon notification of your marriage has taken place, you will be deemed to have applied for a partner visa, and your application will then be assessed against the criteria for the grant of a partner visa. You will be taken to have made an offshore partner visa application (subclass 309 and 100) on the date that the Department of immigration receives notification of your marriage taken place. Like the prospective marriage visa, you must also be outside of Australia at the time of decision.
Although it is permitted to change from a prospective marriage visa to partner visa before your application is decided, once your prospective marriage visa has been granted, you must comply with the conditions attached to that visa. One of those conditions is that you must no marry before making your first entry into Australia as the holder of a prospective marriage visa. If you do marry after the grant of your visa and before entering Australia, you will have breached a condition of your prospective marriage visa.
Can I marry outside of Australia after my prospective marriage visa has been granted?
As we have said, once your prospective marriage visa is granted, you must make an initial first entry to Australia prior to marriage. However, you can then marry either in Australia or offshore. We have many clients who have been granted a prospective marriage visa who then choose to marry in Thailand. After the marriage has taken place they then travel to Australia where the onshore partner visa application has to be made within the 9-month visa validity period. Just remember that you must comply with the condition not to marry before first entry into Australia.