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Family Migration Visas

A relative of a permanent resident or citizen of Australia does not have an automatic entitlement to residence in Australia.

Nor does a spouse, a fiancée, a defacto spouse, or a dependent same-sex partner. Rather, the individual wishing to remain in Australia must apply for the relevant visa and must be sponsored by a person who is a permanent resident or citizen of Australia.

Certain categories of Family Visa also require an Assurance of Support from an Australian permanent resident or citizen – meaning that the assurer must:

  • Lodge a bond with The Commonwealth Bank of Australia
  • Pay a Migration Health Services Charge
  • Undertake to provide sufficient direct or indirect financial assistance

Partner Visas

This is actually a 2-stage visa, being a temporary visa initially that is subsequently changed to a permanent visa. The applicant files one form and pays one fee. Initially the applicant will be assessed for the temporary visa, which is valid for 2 years. A permanent visa will then be issued if the relationship is assessed as still being genuine and ongoing at the end of this 2 years.

Note that the spouse visa is also available where the applicant is in a de facto relationship.

Conditions that apply to the applicant:

  • Must be married to the Australian sponsor in a marriage that is valid under the law in Australia, or
  • Must be in a de facto relationship with the Australian sponsor, or
  • Must have physically known the Australian sponsor, and will be married to the sponsor in a marriage that is valid under Australian law by the time the visa is granted

Prospective Marriage (also known as the Fiancee Visa)
This visa is available to a person who is overseas who wants to come to Australia to marry a person who also agrees to be their sponsor. When granted the visa is valid for 9 months, during which time the applicant must marry the sponsor and apply for the spouse visa if he or she wishes to remain in Australia.

The applicant must:

  • Have physically met the Australian sponsor, and
  • Be engaged to be married to the Australian sponsor in Australia (details will usually be required to confirm arrangements, etc), and
  • Marry the Australian sponsor within 9 months of entering Australia, and
  • Intend to live with the sponsor after marriage in a genuine spousal relationship, and
  • Apply for the spouse visa within the period of the visa.

Note that this visa can only be applied for outside Australia, and that there are no provisions allowing an individual who is already in Australia on another category of visa to extend their stay in anticipation of marriage. Such a person would be required to marry their fiance(e) before their visa expired, and to apply for the spouse visa.

This category of visa is designed to cater for same-sex couples. The application criteria and procedures are as for the spouse visa whereby a temporary visa will be issued initially, followed by a permanent visa if the relationship is assessed as genuine and on-going after 2 years from the date of the application.

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Child Visas

Dependent Child
This category allows a natural child, adopted child, or stepchild of a sponsor to apply for a permanent residency visa.

A Dependent Child is defined as:

  • A child who is less than 18 years old, or
  • A person aged more than 18 and less than 25, and who is dependent on the parent, or who is incapacitated for work because of a physical or mental disability.

An adoption visa can only be applied for in respect of a child under the age of 18 from overseas, where the adoptive parent or prospective adoptive parent is an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen.

The child must:

  • Have been adopted under the laws of a country other than Australia, and the adoptive parent must have been living outside Australia for more than 12 months at the time of the application, or
  • Have been adopted under the Adoption Convention – meaning that an Australian State or Territory adoption authority supports the adoption (verified in writing), or
  • Be intending to come to Australia for the adoption to be completed. In this circumstance the parent must have been approved by the relevant State or Territory welfare authority as a suitable person to adopt the child, or
  • Have been allocated to a parent for adoption under the provisions of the Adoption Convention, or a bilateral adoption agreement between Australia and a prescribed country.

A child who has been adopted by Australian sponsors and who is already in Australia should apply for a permanent residency visa via the Dependent Child Visa.

Orphan Relative
An orphan relative is defined in the Migration Regulations 1994 as a person who:

  • Is aged less than 18, and
  • Does not have a spouse, and
  • Is a relative of an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen.

In addition, the visa applicant must be in a position where he or she cannot be looked after by either parent because both are dead, or permanently incapacitated, or of unknown whereabouts, and it will be in the best interests of the applicant if he or she settles with the relative in Australia.

Innocent Illegal
This category of visa is available to applicants who came to Australia as children with their parents or guardians, and who became unlawful as a result of the actions of their parents or guardians.

Conditions the applicant must satisfy:

  • Did not enter Australia on a Transit Visa, and
  • Now aged more than 18, and
  • Arrived in Australia before aged 18, and
  • Became unlawful when aged less than 18, and
  • Spent the greater part of his or her formative years before turning 18 in Australia, and
  • At the time of the visa decision the applicant had ceased to be a member of, nor was residing with, the family unit with which the applicant had first entered Australia

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Parent Visas

Parents of children who are living in Australia as permanent residents, Australian citizens, or as eligible New Zealand citizens may be able to apply for a Parent visa. Importantly, intending applicants must also pass what is called the “balance of family test” in which a parent must have at least half of their children living in Australia, or more children living in Australia than any other single country.

Note also that under the Family Migration Program a higher priority is given to Partner and Child visa applications, and so Parent Visa applications are processed more slowly. Also, the number of visas issued under the Parent visa categories are capped, which means that applicants can find themselves in a lengthy queue, with waiting times of several years.

4 new categories of Parent Visas have been introduced called Contributory Parent visas in an effort to alleviate the long queues, and in an effort to balance the relatively high costs to the Australian taxpayer of those who are parents there are fairly significant financial costs, as detailed below.

There are 2 categories of “old” Parent visas, the Parent visa and the Aged Parent visa:

Parent Visa
The Parent Visa is available to a person who is not old enough to be granted an old age pension – contact us for details of when you qualify for an Australian Age Pension.

The conditions that apply are as follows:

  • The applicant must be the working age parent of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand resident
  • The applicant’s child must have been settled in Australia for at least 2 years
  • The applicant must be outside Australia when the visa is applied for
  • The applicant must pass the “balance of family test” (as described above)
  • The applicant must be sponsored by a his or her child and there must be an Assurance of Support in place

Aged Parent Visa 
This visa is similar to the Parent Visa, although this visa category is available to a person who is old enough to be granted an Australian Age Pension – contact us for details of when you qualify.

In addition, this visa may be applied for inside or outside Australia.

There are 4 categories of Contributory Parent visas, as follows:

  • Contributory Parent (Migrant) visa
  • Contributory Parent (Temporary) visa
  • Contributory Aged Parent (Migrant) visa
  • Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) visa

The requirements for the Contributory Parent and Contributory Aged Parent visas are the same as for the Parent and Aged Parent visas above – the main difference is in terms of the visa application fees, as already noted above.

Please note that visa application fees may alter at any time, typically on the 1st of July each year.

Please contact us for more information about Parent and Contributory Parent visas.

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Other Family Visas

Aged Dependent Relative
Available for a single, divorced or formally separated aged person who is dependent on a close relative living in Australia. The relative must be at least 18 years old, and an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen.

The applicant must be aged (meaning old enough to be granted an age pension – contact us for details), and have been dependent on the relative for at least 3 years before the application is submitted.

Remaining Relative
This visa allows an applicant with all other relatives settled in Australia to migrate to live with his or her family. The applicant must be the brother, sister, or child (or step-relative) of an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen, who must also be more than 18 years old. Where the applicant has a spouse, all the spouse’s remaining relatives must also be settled in Australia.

This is the category of visa that is available to a person who is willing and able to provide substantial and continuing assistance to a relative who is an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen, where the relative has a severe medical condition impairing his or her ability to attend to the practical aspects of daily life, and where the need for assistance is likely to continue for at least 2 years.

Marriage Visas – offshore (Subclass 300)

When gaining this visa, you may enter Australia and marry your intended fiancé/spouse. This is strictly within a 9 month validation period.

Disclosure: The fiancé you are marrying must be an Australian citizen, an eligible New Zealand citizen, or an Australian permanent resident to be eligible for this visa.

Who is eligible for this visa?

The central reason for obtaining this visa is so you may come to Australia to marry your anticipated spouse and can live as husband and wife. It is required that you intend to marry your fiancé once in the country. You must also live together as husband and wife.

Moreover, in order to attain this visa you must be sponsored by an eligible sponsor. A person who is an eligible sponsor has to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen. The sponsor must take the required sponsorship obligations and must be 18 or older.

Other requirements for a Marriage visa

In order to marry your intended spouse, you must be able to legally wed under Australian law. This states that you must be over 18 years of age. However, if you are between 16 and 18 years of age, you must obtain a court order to permit the upcoming marriage of you and your intended spouse.

Your intended spouse can be under the age of 18, except they must obtain a court order to allow them to marry you. In this situation, their parent or guardian must be your sponsor, and they need to be an Australian citizen, a permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen. The parent or guardian must be aged 18 years or older.

You must have met your intended spouse and know them personally. Even in the circumstance of an arranged marriage, you and your spouse met as minors and the marriage was arranged before you turned 18 years of age – or you both met on the internet (to exchange photos online does not show evidence of having met face-to-face).

Benefits of the Marriage visa

In accordance with the visa conditions, you must enter Australia before marrying your intended spouse. You also may leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you see fit before the visa expires (which is 9 months after the visa was granted). You can work in Australia, apply for a spouse visa in Australia after marrying your fiancé and study, but will not be allowed any government funding. You may use Australia’s medical expenses and hospital care assistance scheme, Medicare, but only if you’re in Australia and have applied for a spouse visa.

Remaining Relative Visa (Subclass 115)

The central condition of this visa is that you are sponsored by an eligible relative (or your relative’s eligible partner). This is within Australia.

In addition, you must have a parent, brother, sister (or step equivalents) who are settled in and meet at least one of these requirements:

  • An Australian citizen
  • An Australian permanent resident
  • An eligible New Zealand citizen

Other requirements for Remaining Relative visa

You and your partner must not have any other sisters, brothers, parents (or step equivalent), or non-dependent children besides the ones who are normally living in Australia, and are Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents, or suitable New Zealand citizens.

To obtain the visa you will need an eligible sponsor. Therefore, your sponsor needs to be your sister, brother, parent (or step-equivalent) or their spouse, who is settled in in Australia and meets at least one of the requirements:

  • An Australian citizen
  • An Australian permanent resident
  • An eligible New Zealand citizen

To be provided with an Assurance of Support, you need the commitment of a person or organisation that is prepared to do so.

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The contents of this page are necessarily an abbreviated overview of a very detailed subject. The situation may change as the law can alter quickly and we therefore strongly recommend that you take professional advice about your personal circumstances before placing any reliance on the contents of the website.

Choice Migration Australia Pty Ltd can be contacted by email on, by telephone in Australia on 07 5571 0456 (ask for Mofid Bebawy), or by writing to us at PO Box 2121, Southport BC, QLD, 4215 Australia.