Australian residents, Australian permanent residents, and NZ residents can sponsor close family members for permanent residence or migration to Australia. Partner Visas Australian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor partners for migration to Australia. To sponsor a partner, you must either be married, in a defacto relationship, have a registered relationship, or be engaged.

Parent Visas

Parents with at least half their children living permanently in Australia may be eligible for a parent visa which gives them permanent residence in Australia. Parents over a certain age may be eligible to apply for an onshore ‘aged parent’ visa which allows them to remain in Australia on a bridging visa during processing.

Visitor Visas for ParentsParents with Australian citizen or permanent resident children may be eligible for longer-stay visitor visas – this can be a low-cost alternative to parent visas.

Aged Dependent Relative Visas

Australian permanent residents can sponsor relatives they have been supporting financially for the last 2 years, provided the relative is aged 65 or over.

Remaining Relative Visas

Remaining relative visas require you to have all of your close relatives living lawfully and permanently in Australia. You would need to be sponsored by a relative who is a settled permanent resident or citizen.

Carer Visas

Carer visas allow Australian citizens and permanent residents with a medical condition or disability to sponsor a relative to live in Australia to take care of them.

Investor Retirement Visas

This option is for people aged 55 or overlooking to retire in Australia. Significant assets and income must be shown, and investment in Australian state or territory bonds is also required.

General Skilled Migration

If you are a skilled worker, then if you have relatives in Australia, they may be able to sponsor you for a general skilled visa. This would make it easier for you to meet the relevant pass mark for the application.

Partner Migration

Visa Options

If you are married to, engaged to, or living in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, your partner may sponsor you for migration to Australia.

Approved Within 6 Weeks

I first approached Truemigration Immigration for advice by email on a de-facto spouse visa and was impressed by the speed of reply as well as the quality, including a documents checklist. Further queries were also quickly responded to which led to my engaging Truemigration to act on my behalf on my arrival in Australia. My application, which was not without complications, was subsequently approved within 6 weeks of lodging thanks to good information-sharing and excellent follow-up by Truemigration principal, Mark Webster, and his staff. Furthermore, I was able to move onto full Permanent Residency status immediately rather than the 2-year temporary visa, which was an absolute bonus.

I would recommend Truemigration Immigration’s services to any prospective client, whether applying from overseas or within Australia.

The main partner visa options are as follows:

Partner Visa

Partner visas are for people who are married or in a defacto relationship with an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible NZ citizen. This leads to permanent residence, usually over a period of 2 years.

You may be eligible for a partner visa if you are in a relationship with an Australian citizen, Permanent Resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen.

You must either be married or in have lived together in a de-facto relationship.

Partner & Family Visa Conditions and Duration

Once your initial partner application is granted, you will in most cases be issued with a Temporary Partner Visa. This will allow you to stay in Australia with have full work and travel rights, as well as access to Medicare.

After the two year period, the Department of Immigration will look to grant you a Permanent Partner Visa. At this stage, you will be asked for current evidence of your relationship.

In some circumstances, a waiver is available for the 2 year period before applying for permanent residence:

  • if you have been in the relationship with your partner for three years or more at the time of application; or
  • if you have been in the relationship for two years where there are dependent children of the relationship; or
  • if your partner was granted a permanent visa under the humanitarian program or was granted a protection visa and was in a relationship with you before the visa was granted and this relationship was declared to the Department of Immigration at the time.

In some circumstances, you may be eligible for permanent residence even if the relationship has broken up before the end of the 2 year period. These circumstances include:

  • If your partner has died during this period; or
  • If you and your Australian partner have children under 18 years of age; or
  • If you or your dependents have been subject to domestic violence during this period

Visa Criteria

In order to be eligible for a partner visa, you must meet the following criteria:

Genuine Relationship

You will need to show that you and your partner have a commitment to a shared life together, to the exclusion of all others. You and your partner must live together, or at least not live apart on a permanent basis.

The Department of Immigration will look at a number of aspects of your relationship, including:

  • Cohabitation: Usually evidenced through showing correspondence addressed to both of you at the same address
  • Financial Interdependence: For example, joint bank accounts, joint ownership of property, joint financial commitment such as leases, mortgages, insurance policies.
  • Social aspects of the relationship: Joint travel, joint social activities, joint participation in cultural or sporting activities.

Defacto Relationship – 12 Months Cohabitation

A de facto relationship would require evidence that you have lived with your partner for the last 12 months. The Department of Immigration requires documentary evidence that you have lived together (for example, a joint lease or correspondence sent to you at the same address).

It is possible to get a waiver of the 12-month requirement in cases where you are unable to live together due to exceptional circumstances.

If you are married, you do not need to show 12 months of cohabitation but will need to show that you are currently living together. If you have had your relationship registered in an Australian state or territory, you would be similarly exempt from the 12-month cohabitation requirement.

Health & Character

You will need to provide full health and police checks. If you do have a medical condition, a waiver of the usual health requirements is possible where the cost to the Australian community of treating the condition is not undue.

Please book an immigration consultation for advice on obtaining a partner visa.

Finance (Prospective Spouse) visa

The fiance or prospective spouse visa is a 9-month temporary visa which allows applicants to travel to Australia to marry their Australian partner. Once married in Australia, you would look at applying for a partner visa to obtain your permanent residence.

If you intend to marry an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you may be eligible for a fiance or prospective spouse visa.

Visa Conditions and Duration

A fiance visa lasts 9 months, during which you are expected marry your sponsor. You will be entitled to full work rights for the duration of the fiance visa. Once you are married, you will be eligible to apply for permanent residence through a partner visa.

Visa Criteria

In order to be eligible for a fiance visa, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be engaged to an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.
  • Intend to get married within Australia, then live in a spouse relationship together
  • You and your fiance have met and are personally known to each other
  • Both you and your fiance must, in general, be aged 18 years or over

For a fiance visa, you must be outside Australia both at the time of application and time of decision.

Please book an immigration consultation for advice on obtaining a fiance visa.

Proving a De Facto Relationship when Applying for a Partner Visa

If you are in a de facto relationship with an Australian permanent resident or citizen, it is possible to apply for a partner visa on this basis.

Many applicants fail in their applications because they do not understand how to prove that they are in a de facto relationship.

This article explains some of the finer details in evidencing a de facto relationship.

What is a De Facto Relationship?

A de facto relationship is where you are living together in an exclusive relationship with your partner, but are not formally married. Same-sex couples can also be recognized as de facto relationships under Australian Immigration law.

If you show that you are in a de facto relationship, you may be able to apply for a partner visa or include your partner in your visa application.

How Long Do I Need to Be in a Relationship?

In general, you would need to show that you have lived with your partner, or at least not apart on a permanent basis, for the last 12 months to apply for a partner visa.

This requirement must be met as of the date you make your application. Even if you can show that you have lived together for 364 days when you apply, your application would not normally succeed unless you can prove a full year of living together before the application is lodged.

The 12-month rule applies to most permanent and provisional Australian visas. For temporary visas, it is possible to apply with less time living together.

Are there Exemptions to the 12 Month Cohabitation Requirement?

You may be able to show that you are in a de facto relationship in some circumstances, even if you have not lived together for the full 12 months. These would include:

  • Where you have registered your relationship with an Australian state or territory government; or
  • There is a dependent child of the relationship; or
  • You are not permitted by law in your home country to live with your partner

How Do I Prove that I am Living With My Partner?

The most common way to prove that you are living with your partner is to provide evidence that you share the same residential address – this is referred to as “cohabitation”.

Usual evidence to establish this would include:

  • Property Lease
  • Property ownership – eg title deed, rates notice, mortgage documents
  • Postal correspondence addressed to either or both of you at the same address

Can I Use Time Spent Travelling with my Partner as Cohabitation?

If you have traveled with your partner for an extended period, this can in some circumstances be used as evidence of cohabitation.

However, it is important to show that you have moved in with your partner prior to the travel taking place and have established a joint household.

What if We Spent Time Apart?

To prove a de facto relationship, you must show that you live together, or at least not apart on a permanent basis.

If you have started living together, but then one partner moves temporarily due to external circumstances, it may still be possible to make a successful application.

External circumstances which may be acceptable include study, work or visa issues. It is important to show that you maintain close contact even though you are apart.

Is Showing that we Share the Same Address Sufficient?

Cohabitation is only one of the factors the Department of Immigration considers in proving a defacto relationship. You would also generally need to show:

  • Social Interdependence: that you are recognized by friends and relatives as a couple; and
  • Financial Interdependence: you have pooled your financial resources to some extent

What if I am Still Married to Someone Else?

If you are married, but have separated and are living with a new partner, it is possible to show that you are in a de facto relationship with your new partner.

In this case, it is important to show that your relationship is exclusive – ie that your previous relationship has ceased.


Establishing a de facto relationship can be highly beneficial in making your application for an Australian visa if done correctly.

If you would like advice on how to prove a de facto relationship, please book a consultation with one of our advisors and they can give you more information on the requirements.

Relationship Register for Partners

To apply for a partner visa on defacto grounds, you would generally need to show you have lived with your partner for 12 months. The 12-month cohabitation requirement also applies when including a spouse for the following types of visa:

  • Permanent visas
  • Business Skills (Provisional)
  • Student visas
  • Partner visas
  • General Skilled Migration visas

However, you would be exempt from the 12-month requirement if you register your relationship in an Australian state or territory. You would need to show that you are living together and provide the usual evidence of relationship factors, but not necessarily for 12 months.

Registration provides legal recognition as a couple under the state law and as well as being beneficial for immigration purposes. Usual requirements include:

  • Both partners must be 18 years old or over
  • Must not be in a relationship as a couple with another person – in particular, they must not be married, in a de facto relationship or in a registered relationship
  • Must not be related by family.
  • Same-sex and different-sex couples can register their relationship.

Registration is available in NSW, QLD, and Victoria.

True Migration’s Expertise

It is clearly of the utmost importance that family members can join you in Australia as quickly as possible. True Migration Immigration Australia has extensive experience with Family Migration cases and we can assist you with:

  • Selecting the most appropriate visa option for you
  • Lodgement and processing of the visa application on your behalf
  • Complications with meeting the sponsorship or assurance of support requirements

Please book an immigration consultation if you would like advice about sponsoring family members.

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