If you are married to an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, or have been in a defacto relationship (common law) with one for at least 12 months, you may be eligible for immigration by obtaining a Spouse Visa to Australia. Your spouse may sponsor you for a period of two years. After this, if the relationship is still genuine and continuing, you may be eligible for permanent residence.
In order to be eligible for a spouse visa to Australia, you must fulfill the following requirements:
- You and your spouse have a commitment to a shared life as husband and wife, whether or not you are legally married, to the exclusion of all others.
- Your relationship is genuine and continuing.
- You and your spouse live together, or don't live separately and apart on a permanent basis.
- Unless you are legally married, you must have been in a spouse relationship for the last 12 months, which usually involves showing that you have lived together during this period
- Generally, you both need to be aged 18 or over.
- You must pass health and character criteria.
Rules and procedure
You may either be in Australia or overseas when applying for a spouse visa for Australia, although there are advantages to applying from within Australia. Please contact us for advice on obtaining a spouse visa.
Once your initial application is granted, you will be issued with an Extended Eligibility Temporary Visa. This will allow you to stay in Australia for two years and you will have full work rights during this period.
In some circumstances, it is not necessary to wait the two-year period before applying for permanent residence. This may happen if:
- You have been in the relationship with your spouse for five years or more at the time of application.
- You have been in the relationship for two years where there are dependent children of the relationship.
- Your spouse was granted a permanent visa under the humanitarian program or was granted a protection visa and was in the relationship with you before the visa was granted and this relationship was declared to Australian immigration officials at the time.
After the two-year period, you will be entitled to apply for permanent residence in Australia provided that your relationship still continues.
In some circumstances, you may be eligible for permanent residence even if the relationship has broken up before the end of the two-year period. These circumstances include:
- If your spouse has died during this period.
- If you and your Australian spouse have children under 18 years of age.
- If you or your dependents have been subject to domestic violence during this period.