Married or genuine partners of Australian citizens or permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens* are eligible to apply for Australian Spouse visa. The applicants can be partners of either same opposite or same-sex. This visa is issued on a temporary basis, for a period of 2 years, after which, the relationship is reexamined. If it is considered as genuine then the applicant is issued a permanent visa. Applicants living in Australia or outside the country can apply for this visa.
Australian Spouse Visa Basic Requirements
In order to be eligible for Spouse Visa, applicants should have sponsoring partners of at least 18 years of age. Partners should be either Australian citizen or permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizens. Essentially, applicants and their partners should be either legally married (as per Australian law) to in a de facto relationship. In case of De facto relationship, partners can be opposite and same-sex couples.
They should have been in the relationship for at least 12 months and should be able to express genuine commitment to their partner.
If applicants fall under the category of Onshore Spouse, then they are required to hold a legitimate visa and be in Australia while the visa is being issued. However, if applicants come under the Offshore Spouse visa category, they have to be outside Australia, at the time visa is being issued. Applicants should additionally satisfy health and character requirements.
Australian Spouse Visa Entitlements
A valid Australian Spouse visa is processed through two stages. First stage is when the visa is issued after all the mandatory verifications for a period of 2 years. The second stage is when the relationship of applicants and sponsors is reassessed after 2 years and deemed genuine. After this, a permanent spouse visa is issued. Applicant and their partners should be in continual relationship during this period.
Once approved, the permanent visa holders become permanent residents of Australia, who are then permitted to live, study and work in Australia. They are also eligible to avail the additional benefits that include access to government-subsidized healthcare (Medicare), certain social security benefits and the opportunity to apply for Australian citizenship.
*Eligible New Zealand citizens are those who are allowed to enter and/or remain in Australia.