This visa is for people who are sponsored by their spouse or de facto partner who is an Australian citizen, or an Australian permanent resident in Australia. The applicant must demonstrate that they are in a genuine and continuing relationship with their partner. Spouses must be in a marriage that is recognized under Australian law. De facto partners must have lived together for the entire 12 months immediately preceding the application. Same sex couples are also recognized as de facto partners under the same conditions. Same sex marriages will be processed as de facto partnerships.
Once the application has been approved in principle, the spouse/partner will be issued a temporary visa pending the final outcome of the permanent residence application, usually two years later. A permanent visa will be issued after this period, if the partners are still living in a relationship.
In the following cases, a spouse/partner may be granted a permanent visa without having to wait:
- At the time of the visa application, partners have been married or in a de facto relationship for three years or more.
- At the time of the visa application, partners have been married or in a de facto relationship for two years or more, and have a dependent child from this relationship.
The partner in Australia must also make a commitment to provide accommodation and, if necessary, cover basic living expenses for the first two years in Australia.