Applying for Spouse/Partner Visa in Australia?

You can lodge spouse/partner visa in permanent visa category while in Australia. The spouse/partner visa category is little different than other visas. In spouse/partner visa, you lodge combined application for both temporary SC 820 and permanent SC 801 visa at the same time. 

The following are the basic concepts and theories in spouse/partner visa:

  1. Relationship Requirement
  2. Sponsor Requirement
  3. Eligible Visa
  4. Application Process
  5. Unlawful Applicant
  6. Visa Grant

1. Relationship Requirement

A. If your application is based on a marriage:

  • You must be legally married to an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.

B. When a de facto relationship and relationship certificate is the foundation of your application:

  • In the absence of compassionate and compelling circumstances, you should have been in a de facto partnership or relationship with an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or qualified New Zealand member for at least 12 months before you submitted your application.
  • You and your companion must also both be at least 18 years old and not have been closely related to each other.

In both cases:

  • You and your spouse/partner must be in a mutually exclusive relationship.
  • Your relationship must be genuine and continuing.
  • You and your spouse/partner must reside together permanently. In rare cases, temporary absence is accepted.

2. Sponsor Requirement

  • Be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.
  • Not have sponsored under spouse/partner visa category to Australia in the last five years.
  • Not have been sponsored by Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen in the previous five years under spouse/partner visa category.
  • Must provide police clearance certificates to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).
  • You can only sponsor twice in lifetime unless compassionate and compelling circumstances.

3. Eligible Visa

You need to have valid substantive visa when you lodge your SC 820/801 visa. The substantive visa is any visa other than bridging visas.

In case you do not have substantive visa, you may be able to lodge SC 820/801 visa. But you need to meet Schedule 3 criteria. The threshold for Schedule 3 criteria is very high.  It is known as compassionate and compelling ground for the grant of SC 820/801 visa.

The process for subclass 820 visa takes between twenty-three to twenty-seven months on average. But the time may vary depending upon individual circumstances and whether you have provided all necessary documents.

4. Application Process

The application and sponsorship must be lodged at the same time. It is important that the application is lodged Decision Ready. The Decision Ready application means that all supporting documents have been attached with the application form and Department is ready to make decision without the request for further information or document. It is not possible to do medical test at the time of application as you require HAP ID to undertake medical. The police clearance must be submitted at the time of application. In rare case, some countries require letter form Department to conduct police clearance making it impossible to submit police clearance at the time of lodgment.

It is also natural for Department to request you and your spouse/partner appear for an interview. It is also possible that the Department may visit your home and/or carry out further inspections to confirm your relationship.

The processing times for SC 801 is from 3 months to 21 months while SC 820 is 6 months to 33 months based on information provided by the Department.

A spouse/partner visa application might be prioritized where you can demonstrate compelling and compassionate circumstances. You will need to make a request for priority processing with the visa office where your application is being processed and provide evidence to support your claims.

There is no guarantee that your application will be given a higher priority as other applicants might have equally or more compelling and compassionate circumstances.

5. Unlawful Applicant

The Department deters applicant lodging spouse/partner visa while unlawful. The main reasons are not to encourage overstaying by visa holders and provide fairness to overseas applicants who would be waiting for the visa grant overseas.

It is still possible to lodge application while unlawful. You need to meet Schedule 3 criteria which has very high threshold. You must also include 2 signed Form 888 by Australian citizen or permanent resident which must be less than 6 months old.

6. Visa Grant

You must be in Australia both at the time your application is lodged, and when your visa is granted.

Usually, SC 820 is granted then SC 801 visa which permanent residence. But due to processing times, both visas can be granted at the same time. This is because the 2 years processing time for a permanent partner SC 801 visa starts from the date of SC 820/801 visa lodged.

Next Step

The above explanations are only brief overview of the SC 820/801 visa. It is not a legal advice. You need to consult lawyer before you take any decision on lodging your visa.

This spouse/partner visa is very complex visa even though it may seem simple in face value. You need to gather significant number of documents to establish genuine and continuing relationship. You need to properly present your case to the Department.

Now you know the brief overview of the spouse/partner visa, do you want to get the ball rolling on your visa application?  If yes, plan your appointment right now.