Australian Partner Visa Part 4; Same sex couple

For the spirit of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade last weekend, I would like to take this opportunity to blog about the Australian Partner Visa for the same sex couple.

Please note that as of today, the Australian law does not recognize the same sex marriage. Therefore, if the same sex couple registered their marriage from somewhere else, it cannot be used to apply for Australian Partner Visa.

There are 2 ways for same sex partner to apply for Australian Partner Visa.

De facto relationship: 
Same sex couple can apply for Australian Partner Visa if they have been in relationship and have shared a mutual life and commitment to one another for at least 12 months. As long as the same sex couple can demonstrate that their relationship is long-term, genuine and continuing, then they can apply for Australian Partner Visa.

Register of relationship:
Same sex couple can apply for Australian Partner Visa even if they have not live or have a shared mutual commitment to one another for at least 12 months. They can register their relationship and apply for Australian Partner Visa. Good things about register of relationship is that it they do not have to wait for the Register of Relationship Certificate to be sent home in order to apply for Australian Partner Visa. They can use the receipt from the authority to apply for Australian Partner Visa immediately.

However, things to note: 
  • Not all states or territories have facilities of "register of relationship". 
  • Each state and territory have different requirement of "register of relationship". 
I will leave the detail of "register of relationship" to another blog.

I hope that this blog will benefit to some. I hope that love will be in the air, both for same sex couple and different sex couple....

Good luck everyone... may the love be with you...

Australian Partner Visa; different stages

So far I have blogged about the differences between the Australian Partner Visa by "marriage" or "de facto" relationship. At the same time, I have also touched on the differences between applying "onshore" or "offshore" as well.

This blog will look into the stages of Australian Partner Visa. It has 2 stages; Temporary and Permanent.

The reason that Australian Partner Visa has 2 stages because both the visa applicant and the sponsor need to demonstrate that their relationship is:

  • long-term, 
  • genuine and
  • continuing.
Therefore, it needs time and different stages to proof that their relationship is long-term, genuine and continuing. It is a long and tedious process.

Stage 1; Temporary Resident:
This stage is the preliminary stage of the Australian Partner Visa. It doesn't matter if the visa application has been lodged onshore or offshore if the visa applicant and the sponsor can demonstrate that their relationship is long-term, genuine and continuing, then the visa can be granted. However, it will just a temporary visa. It is not a permanent visa yet. This visa allows the visa applicant to stay indefinitely in Australia until the final stage (stage 2) of this visa is finalized.

It also has multiple entry status, meaning that the visa holder could travel in and out of Australia as s/he, please.

If the visa applicant has lodged the onshore visa application, the applicant can wait for stage 1 onshore. However, if the visa applicant has lodged the offshore application, the applicant needs to be offshore "on the date" of the visa decision. 

Visa applicant, although lodge an offshore visa application, s/he can come to Australia on whatever visa (tourist visa, student visa...etc) and spend time in Australia with his/her love ones. However, on the date of the visa decision, s/he needs to be outside the country.

Stage 2; Permanent Resident:
2 years from the date of the visa application, then it is entering into the 2nd stage of the Australian Partner Visa.

Some may ask why is that it needs 2 years to gain permanent residency. The "relationship" is a sensitive issue. Many marriages, many relationships break down along the way. If that really happens, the Partner Visa will not be granted.

Having said that, the visa applicant and the sponsor should just live their normal life as usual. 2 years is not long if everyone just goes on with their lives as per normal.

The 2 years period is counted from the date of application lodgement, not from the date the TR is granted. 

When the 2 years period comes, the Department of Immigration will send an email or post to remind the visa applicant that it is time to lodge a stage 2 application. Therefore, it is important that the Department of Immigration has up-to-date information about the postal address and/or email address of the visa applicant.

In this 2nd stage, the visa applicant and the sponsor need to demonstrate that they are still in a relationship and it is still long-term, genuine and continuing.

That is means, another set of paperwork. Another set of document!!! 

Australian Partner Visa is one of the long and tedious processes. Both visa applicant and the sponsor need to be prepared mentally.

We hope that this blog has clear some doubts for some. If anyone still needs more information about Australian Partner Visa, please do not hesitate to contact us, either by email, phone or any social media means of communication.

Types and categories of Australian Partner Visa

In the previous blog I have written about the different types and categories of Australian Partner Visa; Partner Visa by Marriage versus Partner Visa by De facto relationship. This blog I would like to focus more on the differences between applying for Australian Partner Visa Onshore versus Offshore application. 

As mentions in my previous post that both marriage couple and the de facto couple can apply for Australian Partner Visa, either by onshore or offshore. This applies for both the same-sex couple and different-sex couple.

Partner Visa Onshore:
That is means the visa applicant lodge his/her visa application onshore, in Australia. Upon the lodgement of Australian Partner, this is what will happen:

  • Visa applicant will automatically be granted a Bridging Visa A.
  • Have access to Medicare.
  • Be able to work.
  • Be able to stay in Australia with your love one and wait for the visa to be granted.
  • If the visa is refused, the visa applicant can appeal and continue holding Bridging Visa A during the appeal process.

Partner Visa Offshore:
That is means the visa applicant has to lodge his/her visa application from outside Australia. It doesn't matter which country. Some visa applicants who reside in Australia but have the 8503 or 8534 conditions that prohibit them from lodging the Partner Visa application onshore, they easily can lodge Partner Visa offshore by fly to overseas; New Zealand, Fiji, Bali (or a few other near-by destinations) just for a few days and lodge the visa application and then fly back. 

Things that people need to know about applying for Australian Partner Visa offshore:
  • Visa applicant needs to be offshore on the date of the decision. During the visa process, the visa applicant can be in Australia under whatever visa (Tourist Visa, Student Visa...etc), but s/he needs to be outside of the country when the visa about to finalized (either grant or refuse).
  • If the visa is refused, the sponsor can appeal on the visa applicant's behalf.
I think that should sum up the difference between Onshore and Offshore application for Australian Partner Visa.

Personally, I encourage people to lodge visa application onshore if s/he doesn't have 8503 or 8534 on his/her visa condition. So that the visa applicant can stay and wait for his/her visa with his/her love one. Even if the visa is refused, s/he can still stay in Australia with his/her love one during the appeal process. A long-distance doesn't do any good to the relationship!!!!

Types and categories of Australian Partner Visa

Many people confuse Australian Partner Visa. How it's work and so on. Usually when you have an overseas partner and sometimes there is some miscommunication about this. Usually, when you have a language barrier, that will even make things harder.

Australian Partner Visa is for the couple who shared mutual life and commitment. Be it, same-sex or opposite sex. 

Australian Partner Visa, there are 2 ways to approach this:

  • Partner Visa by marriage, and
  • Partner Visa by de facto relationship.
Here is some important information that I really want everyone to know. Usually when the sponsor needs to sponsor your love one from overseas.

Partner Visa by marriage:
This is very straight forward. The name said it all; Partner Visa by marriage. That means one can sponsor his or her marriage spouse to Australia under this category. As long as the couple is married couple and the marriage has been recognized by the Australian government.

Please note that the Australian government does not recognize:
  • same sex marriage
  • incest marriage
  • polygamy marriage.
The marriage needs to be recognized by the Australian government. Please also note that you need to register your marriage in just 1 country. If you marriage overseas, you don't need to re-register your marriage in Australia. 

Partner Visa by de facto relationship:
People can share a mutual commitment and life without marriage. That is just a personal choice or some time it is circumstances that they are facing, for example, same sex couple cannot legally marry in Australia.

The couple who can demonstrate that they have shared mutual commitment and shared life together for more than 12 months. That is considered a "de facto" couple from an immigration perspective. This is applied for both same sex couple and opposite sex couple.

For some couple who have shared mutual commitment and shared life together but less than 12 months, they still can apply for Partner Visa under de facto relationship stream, if and only if their relationship is "registered". This is applied for both same sex couple and opposite sex couple.

In order to get your relationship registered, it can be done ONLY in some states and territories. Each state and territory has its own requirement. I will write more about the register of relationship in a later post.

Bridging Visa E

Bridging Visa E is for those unlawful non-citizen people to legalize their immigration status. Those who are unlawful, when the time comes and they want to go home, they can get this Bridging Visa E that allow them to organize themselves with packing and buy airticket to fly home.

Bridging Visa E can be applied by post or in person at any DIBP office. It is free of charge.

If you are unlawful on-citizen, it is important to get Bridging Visa E before you fly out of Australia. Otherwise, you will be stopped and interview at the custom. That can cause the delay and you might miss your flight!!

Bridging Visa E also can be used in the case of visa applicants that apply for other substantive visa, having Bridging Visa A but it does not come into effect yet because current substantive visa still has not expired yet. For whatever reason, if visa applicants breach the conditions of that substantive visa, their substantive visa can be cancelled, hence the Bridging Visa A will be ceased as well. If they choose not to appeal (because they know that they won't win, or because they confident that their substantive visa that they are applying will be granted soon), then they can let the visa lapsed for a few days then apply for Bridging Visa E and wait for their substantive visa to be finalized.

Lots of students have been making a full use of Bridging Visa E in such a way that:

  • they come here on student visa (long student visa)
  • they meet their partner
  • they apply for Partner Visa and then decided not to go school due to the tuition fee is expensive
  • their student visas have been canceled
  • they apply for Bridging Visa E and wait for the result of Partner Visa
  • ... problems solved....
That is just 1 example of how to make a full use of Bridging Visa E. There are many ways to make a full use of Bridging Visa E. You just need to know how...

Bridging Visa C

It might be unfortunate for some that one becomes unlawful non-citizen (illegally stay), for whatever reasons. Once one becomes unlawful non-citizen, there will be some limitation on which visa subclass one can apply.

Once one apply for whatever visa that one allowed to apply, instead of getting Bridging Visa A as mentioned before, one will get Bridging Visa C instead. It will be granted automatically at no cost once unlawful non-citizen applies for another substantive visa. 

This is one of the ways that unlawful non-citizen people can legalize their migration status in Australia. However, there is a no travel right, just like Bridging Visa A. One thing that Bridging Visa C is different from Bridging Visa A is that Bridging Visa A is allowed the visa holder to apply for Bridging Visa B to travel out of the country. Bridging Visa C does not allow the visa holder to apply for Bridging Visa B, therefore the visa holder is stuck here. Cannot travel out until the outcome of the substantive visa has been finalized.

I would guess that travel out of the country is not really a big deal for unlawful non-citizen that some of them have been "underground" for long long time. They can wait for their substantive visa and holding Bridging Visa C for a while!!!

Bridging Visa B

As mentioned previously that Bridging Visa A is FREE of charge and it allowed the visa holder (or applicant) to stay indefinitely in Australia while s/he waiting for the outcome of the substantive visa.

However, Bridging Visa A doesn't have the travel right. It means that the visa holder is not allowed to travel out of Australia under Bridging Visa A. If the visa holder travel out of Australia under Bridging Visa A, s/he will not be able to come back under Bridging Visa A because the Bridging Visa A is automatically ceased once the visa holder passed through the custom at the airport or port.

So, what happen if the visa holder want to travel out of Australia, for whatever reasons??

Bridging Visa B is the answer. Those who want to travel out of Australia needs to apply for Bridging Visa B (form 1006). It comes with small fee of $140 (as of today). 

Visa applicant can apply for Bridging Visa B at any DIBP (Department of Immigration and Border Protection) office or apply by post. Sadly Bridging Visa B cannot apply online just yet (as of today).

Bridging Visa B usually can be granted within 1 day.

The maximum stay that Bridging Visa B allows the visa holder to stay out of Australia is 3 months. Therefore, it is important that the visa holder travel back to Australia before Bridging Visa B expires. Otherwise, s/he need to apply for another visa to come back to Australia. Usually people apply for Tourist Visa when they forgot to come back because of Bridging Visa B expires (too much fun overseas).

Bridging Visa A holder can apply for Bridging Visa B as many times as they like. However, it is important to remember to come back before 3 months period run out.