Sponsorship Limitations and Character requirements
A sponsor who has previously sponsored a partner or prospective marriage visa applicant cannot sponsor another partner or prospective marriage visa applicant until at least five years have passed since the first application was made.
A person who themselves were granted a partner or prospective marriage visa is also prevented from sponsoring a partner or prospective marriage visa applicant until at least five years have passed since they made their own visa application.
A person may sponsor two partner or prospective marriage visa applicants in total.
The sponsorship limitations referred to above may be waived if the sponsor has compelling circumstances affecting them. These include but are not limited to situations where:
- the previous fiancé or partner has died or left the relationship, leaving young children
- a new relationship is formed that is long-standing or involves dependent children of the relationship.
Current and previous contributory parent category visa-holders
A person who has been granted a contributory parent category visa on or after 1 July 2009 is unable to sponsor a partner or prospective marriage visa applicant until at least five years have passed since they were granted their visa, if they were in a married or de facto relationship with that person on or before the date they were granted the last contributory parent category visa. There are some exceptions to this limitation in compelling circumstances.
Character requirements and police clearances
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.
A 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:
- 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.
Sponsorship undertakings & obligations
As part of his or her sponsorship of a partner visa application, the Australian citizen or permanent resident sponsor (or eligible New Zealand citizen) undertakes the following obligations:
- Responsible for all financial obligations which are owed to the Australian government which you may incur while in Australia
- Provide you with reasonable accommodation and financial assistance while you are the holder of a temporary partner visa
- Provide you with financial and other forms of support (e.g. childcare) that are required to allow you to attend any English classes that you need
- Help you settle into Australia by providing information and advice, including help with finding a job
- Immediately notify the Department if your relationship ends or if your sponsor withdraws his or her sponsorship for your application
You would need to demonstrate that at the time you lodged your application, if you had been with your partner for either:
- three years or more
- two years or more and you and your partner have a dependent child of your relationship.
You will need to provide documents that show you have been in your relationship for this length of time and if applicable, that you have a dependent child.
This is a time of application requirement, which means that you cannot satisfy this requirement after visa lodgement during the Department’s processing time.