An Australian spouse visa can be applied if a person is married to an Australian citizen, a permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen or have been in a defacto relationship (common law) with one for at least 12 months.
The spouse visa may be sponsored by the spouse (who is in Australia) for a period of two years. After two years, if the relationship is still genuine and continuing, the spouse may be eligible for permanent residence.
There are numerous eligibility criteria to obtain a spouse visa:
- The applicant and the spouse have a commitment to a shared life as husband and wife, whether or not both are legally married, to the exclusion of all others.
- The relationship between the applicant and the spouse is genuine and continuing and both live together.
- If they are not legally married, they should be living together for 12 months
- Both should be eighteen years of age or above and must pass health and character criteria.
There are also many rules and regulations governing the visas:
- The applicant can be within the country or overseas when applying.
- After the initial application is granted, the applicant is issued extended eligibility temporary visa which allows 2 years of stay with full work opportunity in Australia.
The 2 year wait in period can be waived off in certain cases like
- If the applicant is in the relation for three years or more
- In the relation for at last 2 years where there are dependent children(other than step children)
- Spouse is granted permanent visa or protection visa
- Both were in the relation before immigration to Australia
After 2 years the applicant is entitled to permanent residency if:
- The relation continues
- Death of spouse within 2 years
- Have children under the age of 18
- Dependents subject to domestic violence during the period.
If the marital relationship ends before the grant of the permanent visa, that visa will be refused (limited exceptions apply).
De Facto Spouses Applicants are required to meet the same requirements as other spouses, subject to an additional requirement that the relationship has existed for a period of at least 12 months immediately before application.