Evidentiary requirements reduced for permanent Australian Partner visa applicants

Australian partner visa legislation
was changed on 23 March, 2010

There's been some good news for Australian Partner visa applicants who do not have children with their Australian partner sponsor, as the amount of cohabitation evidence required for them to receive a Permanent (subclass 100) visa has been reduced from 5 years to 3 years as of 27 March, 2010.

You can read the official legislation change update notification here. To provide some explanation though, applicants for an Australian Partner visa don't get to choose whether they are applying for a Permanent (subclass 100) or a Temporary (subclass 309) visa. Instead, this decision is made by the Australian High Commission once the application enters processing, with whether the applicant has had any children with the Australian partner sponsor and the amount of cohabitation evidence supplied all key factors in determining the High Commission's decision.

Cohabitation evidence is anything that demonstrates the length of time that the applicant and their Australian partner sponsor have lived together and shared financial committments, with the best regarded evidence typically being evidence of joint ownership of real estate, evidence of shared finances and evidence of shared bills / expenses etc.

While an Australian Partner visa applicant who is married to an Australian but doesn't have any children with them can be put forward for the Temporary (subclass 309) visa without providing any substantial cohabitation evidence, to be considered eligible for the Permanent (subclass 100) visa, they would be required to submit at least 5 years cohabitation evidence under the previous rules. 

However, these evidentiary requirements have now been reduced, making it possible now for Australian Partner visa applicants to be considered eligible for the Permanent (subclass 100) visa by demonstrating only 3 years cohabitation evidence.

The rules remain the same for Australian Partner visa applicants who DO have children (i.e. they will still need to provide 2 years cohabitation evidence to receive the Permanent (subclass 100) visa) and unmarried / de facto Australian Partner visa applicants without children (i.e. they will still need to provide 12 months cohabitation evidence and will only be eligible for the Temporary (subclass 309) visa).

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manage for the Australian Visa Bureau.