An increasing number of couples who met online during the covid lockdowns are now searching for a way to be together in Australia. While every circumstance is different, there are a couple of key pathways for couples to reunite – or meet in person for the first time!
Visitor Visa (subclass 600)
Also known as a tourist visa, this visa allows people to come to Australia for a short visit to see family and friends. A visitor visa can last up 12 months but may be granted for a smaller time period depending on circumstances.
90% of these visas are processed within 37 days, so this visa may be a good fit for couples who want a quick visit after such a long time apart and just want to see each other again now.
A potential downside is that this visa does not contain any working rights, so it may not be the right choice for a long-term option. However, for couples who want to visit each other before exploring more permanent pathways, this is a great choice.
Partner Visa (subclass 820/309)
This visa has two pathways depending if your partner is onshore or offshore. For partners who are married or in a de facto relationship, this pathway leads to a permanent resident visa in its second stage. This visa is a great option for couples who want to live in Australia permanently together.
The Partner Visa does require that the couple meet relationship requirements which vary depending on married or de facto status. Marriage requirements include:
- you and your spouse must both be committed to a shared life together to the exclusion of all others
- your relationship with your spouse must be genuine and continuing
- you must live with your spouse or do not live apart on a permanent basis
- your marriage must be valid under Australian law
De facto requirements include:
- you are not married to each other
- you are committed to a shared life to the exclusion of all others
- your relationship is genuine and continuing
- you live together or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis
- you are not related by family
Usually, your de facto relationship must have existed for at least 12 months immediately before you apply for the visa. Time spent dating or in an online relationship might not count as being in a de facto relationship.
Partner visas require a large commitment of time and money. 75% of applications are reported as taking up to 20 months to process and Department fees start at $7,850 AUD. However, if you and your partner intend to live in Australia permanently, this can be a great option.
Prospective Marriage (Fiancée) Visa (subclass 300)
For couples who met online during covid lockdowns, it can be difficult to establish a de facto relationship since the borders were closed and you likely were not able to live together. A prospective marriage visa can be a good fit for these situations where you have a committed relationship and plan to get married in the future.
Upon approval, this visa allows you to enter Australia with working rights for a period of between 9-15 months. A 300 visa has Department fees from $7,850 AUD.
You must marry your partner before the expiration of your visa, and then lodge an 820 application for a partner visa. In this case, the 820 visa fee is reduced to $1,310 AUD.
This is a good option if you are in a committed relationship and want to live together for a few months prior to marriage, while retaining working rights. However, with a steeper price cost than a Visitor Visa, the goal of marrying and remaining in Australia permanently should be clear from the beginning.
Other Partner Visa options
There are dozens of other visas that may fit your specific circumstance from working holiday visas, to employment-based options, to state-sponsored visas. Everyone’s situation is different. We would love to help you determine what pathway is right for you.
Contact our team of immigration lawyers and registered migration agents to organise a consultation today.
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