Learn about the various Australian visas for spouses, relatives and carers.
The Australian government has many different visas available for overseas family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents. There are specific visa types for different situations and relationships:
- Spouses and partners - Applicants can join their partners in Australia, if their partners are permanent residents of citizens of Australia.
- Children and adoptees - A visa for parents to bring a child to Australia, such as bringing their child to Australia or adopting from overseas.
- Parents - A visa for parents to join their children in Australia.
- Carers - A visa for an eligible relative to come to Australia in order to care for someone with a long-term or permanent medical condition.
- Relatives - For relatives to join their families in Australia if they meet specific conditions
Some visa types allow for temporary visits while others offer a pathway to permanent residency. Applying for a family and partner visa can be a complicated process, requiring sponsorship by an Australian citizen or resident, signed statements by people who know you and possibly an interview with department of immigration staff. If you need a family or partner visa, consider the services of a professional migration agent to guide you through the application process.
This guide will outline the key details of the main family visa types.
Who is eligible?
Partner visas are for the following people:
- Spouses of Australian citizens or permanent residents
- De facto partners of Australian citizens or permanent residents
- Fiancés of Australian citizens or permanent residents
What are the different categories of partner visa and which one fits my situation?
The Australian government maintains two separate classes of partner visa depending on where you are living at the time of your application. For each class of visa, applicants are first granted a temporary visa and then a permanent visa (if their visa application is successful). A third category exists for partners living outside Australia who wish to travel to Australia and marry, but this is only a temporary visa.
|Situation||Temporary visa||Permanent visa|
|Applying outside Australia, already married (or intending to marry before the visa is granted) or in a de facto relationship.||Subclass 309 Partner (Provisional) visa||Subclass 100 Partner (Migrant) visa|
|Applying inside Australia, already married or in a de facto relationship.||Subclass 820 Partner (Provisional) visa||Subclass 801 Partner (Migrant) visa|
|Applying outside Australia, intending to marry.||Subclass 300||Applicants must travel to Australia and then apply for a Subclass 820 Partner visa to begin the process of getting a permanent visa.|
Although a partner visa involves both a temporary and permanent visa, the entire process is considered a single application and there is only one fee.
How long do applications normally take?
Every individual case is different. The average processing time for partner visas varies from between 11 and 17 months for temporary visas and a further 16 to 22 months for the permanent visa.
Child and adoption visas
There are multiple visas available for the biological and adopted children of Australian citizens and permanent residents. Separate visa classes exist for applications made inside and outside Australia. The child must be sponsored by an Australian citizen or permanent resident and there must be a relationship established biologically or through adoption. In some cases, stepchildren are also eligible for child visas.
What is the Australian government’s definition of a child?
For the purposes of a child visa, the applicant must generally be under 18 years of age. However, an applicant under 25 years of age may be eligible for certain visas if they are full-time students or financially dependent on the parent who sponsors them.
If you have a child who is an Australian resident or citizen, you may be eligible for a parent visa. These visas can be temporary or permanent. To be eligible for a parent visa, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be sponsored by an Australian citizen or permanent resident
- Be the parent of a child who has been living in Australia legally for two years
- Satisfy the balance of family test (this test evaluates your family connections to Australia)
- Satisfy health and character criteria
There are different visas for applicants living inside Australia at the time of application and applicants living overseas. Parent visas can have processing times lasting many years and the department of immigration may limit the number of visas granted in a given year.
To help bring families together despite these obstacles, the a temporary parent visa was proposed on 5 May 2017. Subject to the passage of legislation, this visa will let children temporarily bring their parents into Australia for 3 or 5 year periods.
Carer visas are for people who need to visit Australia to provide care or household support to a seriously ill relative. People applying for carer visas should consider the following:
- Relative in need of care. You must be caring for a close relative who is suffering from a long term or permanent medical condition. The relative must not be able to care for themselves, must not be able to get the care they need from health services in Australia, and there must not be anyone already living in Australia who is able to care for them.
- Medical assessment. A specified health provider must evaluate your relative’s medical condition.
- Sponsorship. The relative requiring care (or their spouse) must sponsor your visa application.
- Relative eligibility. To come to Australia or stay in Australia on a carer visa, the carer must be the partner, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or nephew, or step-equivalent, of the person requiring care.
The immigration department may cap the number of carer visas that are granted in any given year.
These are for relatives to join their family members in Australia if:
- The overseas relatives are aged and financially dependent on the relatives living in Australia (aged dependents visa subclass 114)
- The Australian residents are their only remaining relatives (remaining relative visa subclass 115)
The requirements are very specific, and vary depending on which reason is being used.
Subclass 114 aged dependent visas
For aged and financially dependent relatives to join their family members in Australia, on a 114 visa, they must:
- Be sponsored by the relative or the relative's partner
- Not be married or in a de facto relationship
- Meet dependency requirements, in that the Australian relative has been supporting them for at least 3 years
- Be over 65 years old, and meet health, character and values requirements
Subclass 115 remaining relative visas
For applicants to join their remaining relatives in Australia, on a 115 visa:
- Them and their partner's only near relatives must live in Australia, and must sponsor them
- The near relative must be 18 or older, and settled in Australia as a citizen or permanent resident
- Applicants must meet health, character and values requirements
Confused about family visas? Find a migration agent and get professional guidance
Navigating Australia’s visa application process can be a daunting task. If you need help, consider the services of a registered migration agent.
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