What are some of the limits of sponsoring a partner into Australia?

by The FindLaw Team

Australian citizens, permanent residents, and eligible citizens from New Zealand have the option to sponsor a partner to Australia if they meet a number of requirements which this piece will touch upon. Additionally, this article will also outline the limits associated with sponsoring a partner into Australia as well.

Who can qualify for a partner visa?

In order for a person to qualify for a partner visa, both the applicant and the spouse must meet the following criteria:

  • be at least 18 years of age with certain exceptions;
  • have a genuine, continuing, and exclusive relationship;
  • if already married in Australia or their country of origin;
  • if they are in a de facto relationship, have the relationship registered in the Relationships Register in the relevant State or Territory, or have been living together in a genuine relationship from 12 months before submitting an application, unless other compelling reasons can be provided to grant the visa.

Generally speaking, those in same sex relationships may also qualify for a partner visa if they meet the aforementioned criteria.

What are the limitations in relation to sponsoring a partner?

A person for the most part only has two opportunities to sponsor a spouse, fiancé, or interdependent partner, and sponsorship must be at least five years apart – except in compelling circumstances.

For those who were sponsored as a partner, they too must wait at least five years before being able to sponsor another partner, unless they are able to provide compelling reasons.

Any person who is in a prohibited relationship, which can include relationships with a parent or sibling for example, will not be accepted for either a spouse or interdependency visa.

Women at risk

For any women who came to Australia holding an at risk visa, they may not be able to sponsor a fiancé within five years from the date of the application if:

  • she was separated or divorced from the visa applicant at the time; or
  • the relationship was still ongoing at the time she came into the country, but was not declared to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (the Department).

An applicant may be able to sponsor her fiancé if at the time that she came into Australia, her fiancé was either missing or presumed dead, and that the relevant information was included within the application.

What happens if the relationship comes to an end?

If a relationship breaks down while the person is holding a provisional visa, the person may not be eligible for a permanent visa unless;

  • their partner has died and the applicant has close ties to Australia;
  • the applicant is a victim of family violence inflicted from the sponsor.


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