Character Requirements for Partner Visa

For an Australian Partner visa, both the applicant and sponsor need to meet certain Character requirements. We have summarised these requirements below:


In an effort to reduce violence in the Australian community, the government introduced laws which allow the department to refuse a sponsorship applications for a Partner Visa if the sponsor has a ‘significant criminal record’ in relation to ‘relevant offences’.

Relevant offences include the following:

  • Violence against a person, including (without limitation) murder, assault, sexual assault and the threat of violence
  • The harassment, molestation, intimidation or stalking of a person
  • The breach of an apprehended violence order
  • Firearms or other dangerous weapons
  • People smuggling
  • Human trafficking
  • Attempting to commit an offence involving any of the matters mentioned above or below
  • Aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring these offences.

Significant criminal record is defined as:

If a person has been sentenced to:

  • Death;
  • Imprisonment for life;
  • A term of imprisonment of 12 months or more, or
  • 2 or more terms of imprisonment, where the total of those terms is 12 months or more.

If a person is sentenced to serve the 2 or more prison terms concurrently, where the total period is 12 months or more, it is a significant criminal record.

Conviction that has been quashed or pardoned would be disregarded.

Possible Exemptions

However, despite the above, a sponsorship application may be approved if it is reasonable to do so having regard to the following:

  • The length of time since the sponsor completed the sentence for the relevant offence
  • The best interests of any children of the sponsor/and or any children of the visa applicant
  • The length of the relationship between the sponsor and the primary visa applicant

A partner visa application may be refused if the applicant fails to meet the character requirements.

A person would not pass the test if:

  • The applicant has a substantial criminal record (same definition as for the Sponsor)
  • The applicant has been convicted of crimes while in immigration detention
  • The applicant is a member of group or association that has been involved in criminal conduct
  • The applicant is suspected to have been involved in
    • people smuggling
    • human trafficking
    • Genocide
    • Crimes against humanity
    • War crimes
    • Torture or slavery
    • Or a crime that is otherwise of serious international concern
  • Having regard to the applicant past and present criminal and general conduct, the applicant is not of a good character
  • There is a risk that the applicant engages in
    • criminal conduct
    • harass, molest, intimidate or stalk another person in Australia
    • vilify a segment of the Australian community
    • incite discord in the Australian community
    • represent a danger to the Australian community
  • The applicant is convicted of sexually based offences involving a child
  • The applicant is charged with:
    • crime of genocide
    • crime against humanity
    • war crime
    • crime involving torture or slavery
    • crime of that is otherwise of serious international concern
  • The applicant is assessed by ASIO to be directly or indirectly a risk to Australian security
  • The applicant is subject to Interpol notice, and there is a risk to the Australian community.

However, in some circumstances the application may still be granted, having regard to:

  • The protection of the Australian community from criminal or other serious conduct
  • The best interest of minor children in Australia
  • Expectations of the Australian Community

Other considerations include:

  • International non-refoulment obligations
  • Impact on family members
  • Impact on victims
  • Impact on Australian business interests

Recent News

Australian borders opening for workers, students and graduates from 1 Dec 2021

Australia and Singapore Travel Bubble

Work Experience on 407 visa towards 482 and 190 visa requirements

New Visa Pathways to Permanent Residency in Australia for Hong Kong Nationals

Section 48 bar