Unlike the married and de facto visas which are two step visas, starting with the temporary visa and then progressing to a permanent visa, the fiancé visa has a ‘preliminary’ step.
This visa is tailor-made for applicants who may come from countries and cultures where living together before marriage is not acceptable or otherwise where parties living apart may not be able to marry overseas or be able to establish a de facto relationship.
Parties who are not married but intending to do so, and one of the parties is one of the following; an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or an Eligible New Zealand citizen (NZ citizens resident in Australia prior to the 26 February 2001), are able to apply for a sponsored temporary 9 month ‘fiance’ visa, in order for their fiance to travel to Australia to get married.
After grant of the temporary 9 month fiance visa, the sponsor and the visa holder must marry and lodge an application for temporary on-shore sub-class 820 visa. Similar to the other partner visas, two years after lodgement, DIAC will commence processing of the permanent partner visa (sub-class 801) – subject to parties continuing to meet the genuine and continuing relationship criteria.
Off-shore visa only
The fiance visa can only be applied for outside Australia. Fees and charges are split between the first stage fiancé and the provisional on-shore partner visas. If the marriage does not occur within the 9 month period then the visa holder must return home.
The DIAC website and most other information sources refer to a fiance visa being granted to allow a visa applicant to come to Australia on the sub-class 300 visa to get married and then to apply on -shore for the subclass 820/801 visa. This is the usual scenario, but the regulations do not preclude a couple getting married overseas after the grant of the Sub-class 300 visa, as long as they travel to Australia first – effectively to activate that visa. They then are free to go off-shore to marry – as long as that marriage is recognised in Australia – and then return to Australia to lodge their on-shore visa within the 9 month visa allowance.
The required ‘intention to marry’ evidence required at application time will depend upon the country of marriage, but most often an authoritative letter from the person who will conduct the marriage, setting out the parties’ details, date and venue or equivalent will suffice. Marriage in the applicant’s country is often preferred to allow family to attend the ceremony.