If you are a citizen or permanent resident of Australia, or an eligible New Zealand citizen permanently residing in Australia, it may be possible to obtain a visa for your foreign fiancee to come to Australia for the purpose of getting married. There are a number of visa options for a foreign national to come to Australia, and it can be difficult to determine which visa your loved one should attempt to pursue. Depending on your specific circumstances, you may choose to apply for a prospective marriage visa, spousal visa or unmarried partner (de facto) visa which is specifically designed for common law partners.
If your fiancee resides in another country and you want to bring him or her to Australia for the purpose of getting married within a reasonable time frame, a subclass 300 prospective marriage visa is most likely your best choice. This visa category allows an individual to live, work, and study in Australia for up to nine months. It should be noted that the prospective marriage visa is not a permanent migrant visa. It is a temporary visa that allows the foreign fiancee to enter Australia for a limited time and purpose: to marry his or her Australian sponsor. After the marriage, the foreign spouse can apply immediately for a subclass 820 provisional spousal visa onshore, which grants the holder conditional permanent resident status and allows them to remain in the country initially for two years.
Visitor visas and other temporary visas
Some couples hoping to avoid the time-consuming fiancee visa application process attempt to obtain non-immigrant (temporary) visas that would allow the foreign fiancee, partner or spouse to come to Australia as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, applying for a visitor, tourist, or student visa often proves to be a waste of time and money due to the high refusal rate. Generally, Australian temporary visas are difficult to obtain, particularly if the applicant’s country of residence has a low standard of living. To qualify for a tourist visa or a non-migrant visa of any other type, applicants must prove that they do not intend to migrate to Australia, and that they do not wish to remain in the country on a long-term basis.
Your foreign fiancee or partner will have to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the examining DIBP (formerly DIAC) officials that she intends to stay in Australia only for a short period of time, after which she plans to return to her home country. If there is an ongoing romantic relationship between the applicant and a prospective Australian spouse who could later sponsor the applicant for a migrant family-class spousal or partner visa to stay in Australia, it may be difficult for the foreign fiancee to qualify for a visitor visa. In such situations, Australian immigration officials often assume that the foreign applicant plans to marry her prospective spouse and obtain an Australian spousal visa by lodging an application onshore, which will grant her the right to remain in Australia on a permanent basis. Thus, the key factor in evaluating an applicant for a temporary visa is the applicant’s “ties to the community” outside Australia, which must give the DIBP examiner a high degree of confidence that the applicant would return home before the expiration of the visa. On balance, taking your personal circumstances, the examining migration officer may suspect that there is a real likelihood that your loved one may be unwilling to return to her home country at the end of any period of stay granted to her. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to overcome this presumption in most cases, unless the applicant has strong social, economic and family ties in the country of residence.
You may have a better chance of success if you request a visitor visa after lodging a fiancee or partner visa application, as any pending application for permanent migration to Australia will help you convince the examiner that your loved one has reasons to go back (subclass 300 prospective marriage visa can only be granted offshore, which is an important consideration. It is unlikely you would want to keep your loved one in Australia on a visitor visa after paying thousands of dollars for her visa – DIBP officials understand this dynamic and normally grant a visitor visa to those who have already applied for the fiancee visa offshore).
Subclass 300 visa prospective marriage visa
For these reasons, if you wish to bring a foreign national to Australia for marriage, it is advisable to apply for a subclass 300 prospective marriage visa. If the fiancee visa requirements are met and the application is prepared accurately and completely, chances are good that the application process to obtain a fiancee visa for Australia will ultimately result in approval.
Other migration categories: