Adding a Partner or De Facto to Student Visa

We receive many enquiries about adding a partner or de facto to a current student visa. We decided to write this article to answer all the frequently asked questions related to this topic.

Can I add my spouse/ de facto partner to my current student visa?

The short answer is YES. You can add your spouse or de facto partner to your current student visa as a secondary applicant. However, there is a set of requirements that you and your partner need to meet.

Noticeably, you must declare your partner in your previous student visa application if your relationship was before the date you applied for your student visa. If you made an error and failed to include a family member in your application at that time, the family member cannot be added to the student’ current application as a family member applicant.

The criteria to being eligible to add your De Facto, Partner or Spouse to your student visa you must fall under one of the following:

  • married,
  • show you have been in a de facto relationship with your partner for at least 12 months or
  • show you live with your partner and willing to register your relationship in the State or Territory government Relationship Registers
What document should I submit to prove my relationship with my partner?

You can prove your spousal/ de facto relation by providing the following documents:

  • Marriage certificate or de facto relationship registration.

Financial aspects of the relationship:

  • any joint ownership of real estate or other major assets.
  • any joint liabilities.
  • the extent of any pooling of financial resources, especially in relation to major financial commitments.
  • the basis of any sharing of day-to-day household expenses.

The nature of the household:

  • any joint responsibility for the care and support of children.
  • the living arrangements of the persons – household bill
  • any sharing of the responsibility for housework.

The social aspects of the relationship:

  • whether the persons represent themselves to other people as being in a de facto relationship with each other; and
  • the opinion of the persons’ friends and acquaintances about the nature of the relationship; and
  • any basis on which the persons plan and undertake joint social activities; and

The nature of the persons’ commitment to each other:

  • the duration of the relationship.
  • the length of time during which the persons have lived together.
  • the degree of companionship and emotional support that the persons draw from each other.
Can my partner work as a secondary applicant?

We have written an article about the work rights of students and their dependants. You can read the article here.

Basically, your partner’s work rights will be the same as yours. However, spouse or partner of students who are studying master’s degree (by course work or research) or Doctoral degree are allowed to work more than 40 hours per fortnight.

Does my partner need to prove financial ability when applying as a subsequent entrant?

Your partner’s visa application will be assessed based on the assessment level of you, regardless of where your partner is coming from. If you, as a primary student, comes from a country that falls into assessment level 2 or 3, then your partner will need to submit financial evidence.

As of 2021, your partner will need to prove that he/she has:

  • At least AUD 21,041, if he/she intends to stay in Australia for a period of 12 months or more; and
  • Sufficient funds are available to meet course fees for any component of the primary student visa holder’s course of study which will be completed while he/ she is in Australia, up to an amount equivalent to fees for 12 months of the course of study, minus any amount already paid.
Does my partner need to continue his/ her study after the subsequent entrant visa is granted?

If your partner was on a student visa when he/she made the application for a student visa as a secondary applicant, he/she will not have to continue his/her study after the secondary student visa is granted.

Please note that he/she will need to continue his/her study until the subsequent visa is granted, otherwise his/her current student visa might be cancelled, and your partner will become unlawful.

Where should my partner be when he/she makes the application?

Your partner can be onshore or offshore to apply for a student visa as a subsequent entrant. However, if he/she is onshore, he/she must not have “no further stay” condition attached to his/her current visa in order to make a valid student visa application.

How much is the visa application charge?

The current (2021) visa application charge for student visa subsequent entrant application is AUD 620.

Related: More savings required, changes to concurrent COEs for international Students

What happens if I and my partner break up after his/her visa is granted?

If your relationship ends after the visa is granted, you and your partner need to inform the Department of Home Affairs immediately. In this scenario, the spousal/ de facto relationship no longer exists and therefore, he/she may be cancelled the visa, and may need to depart Australia or apply for another visa should he/she be eligible.

What are some potential difficulties when adding my partner to my student visa?

When applying for a student visa as a secondary applicant, your partner also has to prove that he/she is a genuine temporary entrant. The following are some cases that extra scrutiny may be required from the Department of Home Affairs:

  • The applicant is applying for a student visa as the member of the family unit, one to two months prior to the cessation of their own student visa and may be using the visa primarily to maintain ongoing residence.
  • The relationship does not follow cultural norms, for example adding a de facto partner to the visa application in circumstances where this type of relationship hardly ever exists in that culture.
  • Limited information is provided with the application to substantiate the relationship.
  • Either the student or the subsequent dependant have been previously married.
  • The student has a poor study record in Australia.

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