We are often asked by clients, what is the difference between a spouse visa and a partner visa? The easiest way for us to explain this is by telling them that there is in fact only one visa, and it is called a partner visa. A partner visa is available to the de facto and spouse partners of an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident. This visa allows them to reside permanently in Australia. After a qualifying period, an Australian permanent resident can apply to become an Australian citizen.
Although there is only one partner visa, depending upon where you apply from, will determine the specific partner visa you must apply for. If you apply outside of Australia, you must apply for the partner visa (subclass 309 and 100), whereas if you apply in Australia, you must apply for the partner visa (subclass 820 and 801).
What is a prospective marriage visa?
If you do not meet the partner visa criteria, you may want to consider a prospective marriage visa (subclass 300). This is for people that are not legally married or in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident but have a genuine intention to marry in the future. For this reason, it is often also referred to as an Australian fiancé visa.
What is the difference between spouse and de facto?
For partner visa purposes a spouse is someone that is legally married to another person, whereas de facto is someone that is not legally married to another person but meets the de facto relationship criteria provided for in the Migration Regulations. Common to both is that the relationship must be genuine and continuing, and to the exclusion of all others. All partner visa applications are thoroughly assessed by the Department to ensure that a partner visa is only granted to those that meet the stringent eligibility criteria provided for in the Migration Act and Regulations.
What is the difference between a temporary partner visa and a permanent partner visa?
Whether you apply for a partner visa offshore or in Australia, you will see that the visa includes two numbers. For example, what if your partner applied for a partner visa in Thailand, it will be the partner visa (subclass 309 and 100). The first number (309) relates to the temporary partner visa, whereas the second number (100) relates to the permanent partner visa. This is because when you apply for a partner visa you are actually be making a combined application for both the temporary and permanent partner visas. However, you will not be eligible for consideration for the grant of the permanent partner visa until two years have passed since you first applied.
Can the permanent partner visa be granted straight away?
In some circumstances, the Department may grant the permanent partner visa without the temporary partner visa. This can be where a relationship is a long term or there is a child or children born into the relationship. A long term relationship is considered to be 3 years immediately prior to the date of application and does not take into account any periods of dating. It should note that just because your relationship is long term or you have a child or children born into your relationship, that you will be automatically granted the permanent partner visa as this is a discretion that may be exercised by the Department and not something that they must do.