Including Dependents On Your Visa Application
The Australian Government has introduced far reaching changes to the definition of Member of the Family Unit (MoFU) for the purpose of most visa applications. There are now significant limitations on the class of persons that can be considered part of MoFU and hence be included in a visa application.
Character Assessment of Australian Sponsors of Partner Visa Applications
From 18 November 2016, Australian citizen and permanent resident Sponsors of Partner Visa and Prospective Marriage Visa applications (“a partner visa”), are subject to character testing. In line with current Australian Government strategies to reduce family violence in the Australian community, the new provisions have been introduced to prevent Australians who have committed a relevant offence from being able to sponsor someone for a partner visa.
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Spouse Migration

The application process for spouse or partner visas is usually in 2 stages.

The visa applicant is initially granted temporary residency. After two years, the Immigration Department asks for evidence that the relationship is still ongoing.

Permanent residency is then granted if the Immigration Department is satisfied that the visa applicant is still in a genuine relationship with an eligible sponsor.


Visa application process:

Spouse or Partner


 Stage 1

 Stage 2

Temporary visa allowing person to enter and/or remain in Australia 2 years from when the visa application is lodged Permanent visa if relationship is ongoing

It is possible for some applicants to obtain permanent residency:

  • Directly without having to obtain a temporary visa for a period of 2 years, e.g. where a couple can prove they have been in a spouse or de facto spouse relationship for at least 3 years, or for at least 2 years and they have a child or children together.
  • In less than 2 years from the grant of the temporary visa, e.g. where the relationship has broken down due to domestic violence, or the death of the Australian partner.

Key criteria for Stage 1 Spouse Visa Applicants

(subclasses 309 and 820)


 Eligibility  Summary of Key Requirements
Applicant must be in one of the following relationships with their eligible sponsor:
  • Be married (as recognised under Australian law); OR
  • In de facto relationship; OR
  • In a relationship that is registered
  • Applicant and partner have a commitment to a shared life as a couple - whether or not legally married – to the exclusion of all others
  • Relationship is genuine and continuing
  • Applicant and partner live together, or do not live separately on a permanent basis
  • If not married, applicant and partner are in an opposite sex or same sex relationship and:
    • They have registered their relationship under one of the State or Territory Relationship Registers, prior to their application; or
    • They have lived together in a de facto spouse or same sex or “interdependent” relationship for at least 12 months immediately prior to making the application (unless exceptional circumstances apply)
Sponsorship Applicant must be sponsored by an eligible sponsor
Health Applicant meets applicable health standards
Character Applicant meets applicable character standards

Prospective Marriage Migration (subclass 300)

The application process for prospective marriage couples is in 3 stages.

The overseas partner applies for a prospective marriage visa allowing them to enter Australia as the fiancé(e) of an eligible sponsor.

Once the visa is granted, the overseas partner has 9 months to enter Australia, marry their eligible sponsor, and apply for the temporary spouse visa.

Permanent residency is then granted if the Immigration Department is satisfied that the visa applicant is still in a genuine relationship with an eligible sponsor 2 years after the application for the temporary spouse visa is lodged.


Visa application process:

Prospective Marriage Migration



Stage 1

Overseas partner enters Australia


Stage 2 

2 years from application for provisional visa


Stage 3
Application for and issue of a prospective marriage visa allowing person to enter Australia

Marries within 9 months of visa grant

Application for and issue of a provisional visa allowing person to remain in Australia

Application for and grant of permanent visa

Key criteria for Prospective Marriage Migration
Applications (subclass 300)


 Eligibility (subclass 300) Key criteria 
Intent to marry  Genuine intention to marry intended spouse (fiancé) and live as husband and wife
Sponsorship  Sponsorship by an eligible sponsor, who is usually the applicant’s intended spouse
Age  Both applicant and intended spouse must be over 18, or over 16 with a court order allowing the marriage
Gender  Applicant must be of the opposite sex to their intended spouse
Relationship  Applicant must have met intended spouse in person and know him or her personally.
Health Applicant meets applicable health standards
Character Applicant meets applicable character standards