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Who can sponsor

Partner visa applications

To sponsor someone for this visa, you must be:

  • an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen
  • at least 18 years of age.

Australian permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens are expected to be living in Australia. Eligible New Zealand citizens might need to have a health examination or character check. We will tell you if you need these checks.

If you have been granted a Woman at Risk visa (subclass 204) in the last five years, you cannot sponsor: 

·  someone who was your partner when you were granted a Woman at Risk visa

·  a previous partner that you did not tell us about when you were granted your Woman at Risk visa.

Limitations on sponsorship

You cannot be a sponsor if you:

  • were sponsored for a Partner or Prospective Spouse visa within the past five years
  • have previously sponsored two people for migration to Australia and they were granted a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa
  • have sponsored another person for migration to Australia within the past five years and they were granted a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa.

Your sponsorship could still be approved if there are compelling circumstances affecting you. These include:

  • your previous partner has died or abandoned the relationship, leaving you with young children
  • you have been in a relationship with your fiancé for more than two years
  • you and your fiancé have dependent children from your relationship.

Contributory parent visa holders

If you were granted a Contributory Parent visa after 30 June 2009, you cannot sponsor your partner for this visa for five years from the date your visa was granted if you were in a relationship with that person before your Contributory Parent visa was granted.

There are some exceptions to this limitation.

Best interests of the child

Usually, this visa will not be granted if it is not in the best interests of a child younger than 18 years of age.

Family violence protection measures

If your partner's visa application was lodged on or after 18 November 2016, you will be required to:

  • provide police checks to the department when requested and
  • consent to the department disclosing any conviction for a relevant offence to the applicant(s) you are sponsoring.

Your sponsorship will not be approved if you have a conviction for a relevant offence and a substantial criminal history.  A relevant offence includes, but is not limited to offences involving violence, intimidation, breaching a protection order, people smuggling, human trafficking and weapons.  More information about family violence protection measures is available.

New sponsor requirements for Partner and Prospective Marriage visa applications

To help keep visa applicants safe, we have introduced new requirements for Partner and Prospective Marriage visas. From 18 November 2016, sponsors of these visa applications will need to:

  • provide Australian and/or foreign police checks when requested
  • consent to us disclosing their convictions for relevant offences to the visa applicant(s).

If the sponsor does not provide this consent, the visa application will be refused. We could also refuse an application if the sponsor does not provide the police checks within a reasonable time. Sponsors can apply for a police check using the application form available from the Australian Federal Police.

relevant offence is an offence against a law, either in Australia or overseas, involving:

  • violence, including murder, assault, sexual assault and the threat of violence
  • harassment, molestation, intimidation or stalking
  • the breach of an apprehended violence order, or a similar order
  • firearms or other dangerous weapons
  • people smuggling
  • human trafficking, slavery or slavery-like practices (including forced marriage), kidnapping or unlawful confinement
  • attempting to commit any of these offences
  • aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring such offences.

This does not include convictions for relevant offences that have been quashed or otherwise nullified or pardoned.

We will not refuse a visa application if a sponsor has convictions for a relevant offence but does not have a significant criminal record. We will, however, disclose the convictions for relevant offences to the visa applicant(s) to help them make an informed decision about continuing with their application.

A sponsor is considered to have a significant criminal record if they have been sentenced to:

  • death
  • imprisonment for life
  • a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more
  • 2 or more terms of imprisonment, where the total of those terms is 12 months or more.

If a sponsor has convictions for a relevant offence and a significant criminal record, we must refuse the visa unless we assess that it is reasonable not to. When making this assessment, we will consider all the circumstances of the application. This could include, but is not limited to:

  • the length of time since the sponsor completed the sentence(s) for the relevant offence(s)
  • the best interest of any children of the sponsor or primary visa applicant
  • the length of the relationship between the sponsor and primary visa applicant.

If we refuse a visa application, the visa application charge will not be refunded.

We urge you to consider carefully what effect, if any, these changes might have before you lodge an application.

Applications lodged before 18 November 2016

The changes do not affect visa applications lodged before 18 November 2016, even if your sponsor lodges their sponsorship form on or after 18 November.

If you already hold a Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309) or Partner (subclass 820) visa on 18 November 2016 and are waiting for a decision on a Partner (Migrant) visa (subclass 100) or Partner (subclass 801) visa, these changes will not affect you.

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