Seven steps for how to convert your Australian visitor visa to a partner visa
By Indah Melindasari
Founder of ONE derland Consulting & Registered Migration Agent
Deciding to get married is such an exciting time for couples. Often it’s something that they’ve been talking about for a long time, sometimes it happens spontaneously and there can also be other factors that lead them to decide to tie the knot.
As a migration agent, I have many clients that are foreigners that decide to move to Australia to be with their loved ones. It’s a big commitment to make as they are often leaving behind a job, family and friends and there’s always uncertainty about how things will work out, especially if they are not married to their partner.
Maybe the couple has lived together abroad, they’ve been in a long-distance relationship for some time or, as is the modern way, they’ve met online. Sometimes the foreign partner has visited Australia before but it can also be their first time visiting Australia.
Whatever the case, I often see foreign partners from a country like Indonesia, Thailand, and Phillipine arriving in Australia with an open mind about their future and very excited to see their Australian partner and to explore the country. Arriving in Australia as a tourist is a bit like dipping your toe in the water to see how it feels.
Alternatively, if marrying your partner is not something that you wish to do you may consider an alternative arrangement to be together. One of the visas that you may consider is a student visa, this visa will allow you to study, work part-time and be with your partner in Australia. We will discuss this option on this link.
So you decide the best option is to get married in Australia and the good news is that you can do this without having to leave the country. In this post, I will walk you through the process of how to convert your temporary visitor or commonly known tourist visa to a partner visa on the basis of marriage – it’s more simple and more straightforward than you might think.
Do you still have any questions? Book a consultation now and secure your plan to Australia.
The steps you need to extend the visitor visa to a partner (marriage) visa (subclass 820)
In most cases you’ll need to go through seven steps to go from being a visitor in Australia to being married and having a partner visa.
- Check if you have a ‘no further stay’ condition and extend your visitor visa.
- Have a wonderful wedding!
- Get ready to apply for your partner’s visa.
- Gather your supporting documents.
- Get your documents translated into English.
- Apply for your temporary partner visa.
- Wait for your new visa to be approved.
The first step in upgrading your visitor visa to a partner visa is understanding condition 8503 or No Further Stay Conditions – NFS. Australian visitor visas can be issued for up to 12 months but in most cases they’re granted for three months and in many cases there’s a ‘no further stay’ condition included. So be sure to check whether your current visitor’s visa has this and if it does, don’t worry as you can apply to have it waived or if you would prefer to have me do it for you, it’s no problem at all.
Even if you don’t need a lot of time to plan your wedding, you should play it safe and get your visitor visa extended because it always takes more time than people think to get their next visa application in order – the partner visa.
As a guideline, if you need more time to stay in Australia and your visitor visa doesn’t have a ‘no further stay condition’, you should apply for a 3 months visa extension. However, you would need to be careful as you need to show that you are a genuine visitor.
You can’t state that your intention is to apply for a partner visa. As that means you are not meeting genuine temporary entrance requirements. If you still have enough time to get married before your visitor visa expires, you can do this and register your marriage as soon as possible.
I’ve written about how to extend your visitor’s visa here.
With your visitor visa extension done, you can focus on what really matters – planning your special day. I hear so many wonderful stories from my clients about their wedding and even with the current restrictions on wedding sizes, I’m sure your stories will be amazing too.
At this point I should probably answer a common question: “can I get a partner visa without getting married?”. The answer is ‘yes’ but you have to have been living with your partner for a year so chances are you won’t meet this requirement if you have been in a long-distance relationship.
Okay, so you’re now married it’s time to focus on getting your partner visa. This is necessary to ensure you can stay lawfully in Australia, work or study as well as have access to healthcare.
The partner visa application is a two-stage process where you will first be granted a temporary visa. After that you will be able to apply for a permanent partner visa that entitles you to live in Australia indefinitely.
Before you apply for the temporary visa there is a list of important points that you need to make sure you comply with:
- You have not had an Australian visa cancelled or an application refused
- You and your partner must both be committed to a shared life together to the exclusion of all others
- Your relationship with your partner must be genuine and continuing
- You must live with your partner or not live apart on a permanent basis
- Your partner must be approved by the Department of Home Affairs as your sponsor
- You must meet the health and character requirements
If you are worried about any of these points and would like to discuss them with me, I’m always here to help.
I’ve made this a separate step because it’s the biggest challenge of the whole process. If you do a really good job of documenting your relationship, there’s a good chance that you won’t need to be interviewed and your application will be a smooth process but if you do a poor job, it will lead to many headaches down the line.
You’ll need to provide the Department of Home Affairs with documents for your identity, and any previous marriages, and you’ll need to get a police certificate from your home country. These documents may take some time to obtain, which is another reason why you should apply for a long extension of your visitor visa before you get married.
The real challenge though is creating a compelling picture of your relationship to prove to the Department of Home Affairs that it’s genuine and please don’t think that just having a marriage certificate is the answer. You will need to give as much detail as possible explaining all aspects of your relationship including:
- How, when and where you first met.
- How the relationship developed.
- When you moved in together, got engaged and married.
- What you do together and with others as a couple.
- The time you spent apart.
- Significant events in the relationship.
- Your plans for the future.
- How you share financial and domestic matters.
I don’t mean to cause panic here but it’s really important to think ahead to how you will evidence these things. Taking some actions like buying a joint insurance policy or having a joint bank account even before you get married will help a lot as well as taking lots of photos when you do activities together and with others.
If English is not the language of your home country, then any documents that you need to include in your application have to be translated into English. This can be done either in Australia or in your home country and remember that there will be a cost involved that you will have to budget for.
Now that you’ve done all the hard work, all that’s left to do is apply for your subclass 820 Partner Visa (Temporary). As with all visa applications, you must prove your identity and provide true information with your application.
You need to apply and pay the visa fee on the Department of Home Affairs’ ImmiAccount website and be sure to keep a record of your Transaction Reference Number as your Australian partner will need it for their sponsorship application. Your ImmiAccount is also where you’ll receive any requests for further information.
Once your application has been received, you’ll be given a bridging visa which will start when your current visitor’s visa expires. This will keep you lawful in Australia while you wait for your case to be decided.
You will be required to have a health check while your application is being processed and you may also be asked to provide biometrics.
After you have submitted your partner visa application, you will be issued with a bridging visa that gives you the right to work and study in Australia while you are waiting for your partner visa to be approved. The process to get your temporary partner visa is a long one and sometimes it takes more than two years but often it takes less.
Once you have lodged your application, you should keep uploading documents to show that your relationship is genuine and continuing. You can do this on a monthly basis to keep the Department of Home Affairs updated about your relationship.
Need advice about converting a visitor visa to a partner visa?
Our visa specialists at ONEderland Consulting will assist and give you complete suggestions whenever you need or decide to have assistance in converting your Visitor Visa to Partner Visa. We have a 98% success rate and are one of Australia’s most highly recommended migration agents. Read our 4.9* score customer reviews.
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