There are different categories of family visas:
- Partner visas.
- Child visas.
- Parent visas.
The Importance of the Sponsorship Requirement for Family Visas
All Australian family visas require sponsorship from an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or an Eligible New Zealand Citizen (ENZC).
1 – Partner Visas – the distinction between Onshore and Offshore Partner Visas
Partner visas are divided on two categories: onshore and offshore partner visas. Onshore partner visas are visas that can be applied from Australia, whereas offshore partner visas are visas that must be applied from overseas.
In order to be eligible for a partner visa, the visa applicant must be either married with or the spouse of an Australian citizen, Permanent Resident, or ENZC.
It is very important to be aware that partner visas are processed in two stages: firstly the visa applicant is granted a provisional temporary) visa, and then a permanent residency visa. However, applications for these visas are applied at the same time. Generally, the permanent residency visa cannot be granted until at least two years have passed since lodgement of the temporary residency visa.
Offshore Partner Visas
Prospective Marriage Visa (Subclass 300)
- For a person wanting to marry an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or ENZC.
- Applicant must be overseas at the time of application.
- Visa is valid for 9 months and cannot be extended.
- This visa can lead to a permanent residency visa please see below for further information).
From a Prospective Marriage Visa to a Permanent Residency Visa
It is possible for a Prospective Marriage Visa holder to gain permanent residency through a subclass 820 visa and then a Permanent Partner Visa Subclass 801.
The application process is as follows:
Stage 1 – Prospective Marriage Visa Subclass 300.
Stage 2 – Temporary Partner Visa Subclass 820.
Stage 3 – Permanent Partner Visa Subclass 801.
Partner (Provisional) (Class UF) (Subclass 309) and Subclass 100 Partner – (Residence) Visa
- These visas are for an overseas spouse or de facto partner of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or ENZC.
- Subclass 309 is a temporary residency visa, whereas 100 is a permanent residency visa.
- The two visas are applied simultaneously but subclass 309 is granted first.
- It will generally take two years from the date of application for subclass 100 to be granted.
- For Subclass 309, the applicant must be outside Australia at the time of the visa’s grant.
Onshore Partner Visas – Subclass 820 and 801 Visas
- An eligible non-citizen spouse of de-facto partner of an Australian citizen, PR or ENZC who is in Australia may apply for a subclass 820 and 801 visas.
- It is generally necessary to prove that the couple are in a relationship that is on-going and genuine when the permanent visa application is considered.
2 – Child Visas
Child visas allow Australian citizens, or permanent residents, or Eligible New Zealand Citizens (ENZC) (an ENZC is a New Zealand Citizen who was living in Australia on 26 February 2001 or for at least one year in the two years immediately before 26 February 2001) to sponsor their biological, step or adopted children to remain in Australia as permanent residents. There are also visas available to orphan relatives of Australian citizens.
There are offshore and onshore child visas depending on where the child is at the time of visa application.
Visa options if the child is in Australia:
- Child (Permanent) (Subclass 802).
- Orphan Relative Permanent (Subclass 837).
Visa options if the child is outside Australia:
- Child (Permanent) (Subclass 101)
- Orphan Relative (Permanent) (Subclass 117)
- Adoption Visa (Permanent) (Subclass 102)
There is also a visa option for a child who is either in or outside Australia: Dependent Child Visa (Subclass 445).
3 – Parent Visas
Parent visas allow an Australian citizen, permanent resident or an ENZC to sponsor their parents to migrate to Australia either temporarily or permanently. There are offshore and onshore parent visas.
The Balance of Family Test (BFT):
In order to be eligible for a parent visa, the parent must meet the Balance of Family Test. The parent meets the Balance of Family Test if:
- The number of eligible children is greater or equal to the number of ineligible children; or
- The greatest number of ineligible children usually resident in a particular overseas country is less than the number of eligible children.
An eligible child is defined in Australian law as an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or ENZC, who is usually resident in Australia.
There are contributory and non-contributory parent visa options. Non-contributory visas are cheaper than contributory ones, but take much longer to process.
1 – Non-contributory parent visa options:
- Parent Visa (Subclass 103)
- Aged Parent (Subclass 804)
2 – Contributory parent visa options:
- Contributory Parent (Migrant) Subclass 143
- Contributory Parent (Temporary) Subclass 173
- Contributory Aged Parent (Residence) Subclass 864
- Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) Subclass 884