Marriage knows no boundaries, and the world is a small place. These are certainly some of the most important considerations for you, as you have recently fallen in love with an Australian citizen, who is far, far away! You both want to consider marriage and know that there are a number of legal steps ahead, if you want to make this happen. First and foremost, what type of visa do you need to apply for?
The Prospective Marriage Visa
The Australian government believes in love as well and has created what is known as a "prospective marriage visa" to allow foreign nationals to enter the country. This visa lasts for a period of nine months and gives you permission to enter Australia so that you can get married to a citizen or permanent resident.
What Are the Restrictions?
Before you proceed, be aware of the main restrictions. The person that you plan to marry in Australia has to personally sponsor you for the application, and (most importantly) you must have actually met them in person. You have to fully intend to live in Australia after the marriage and have to pass a number of different background and health checks before you can be eligible.
What Is Allowed?
You will be able to enter the country multiple times over the nine-month period once this visa is approved. Sometimes, you may be eligible to work while you are there, and you can also enroll in higher education, should you wish. You won't be able to apply for any type of grant from the government to help you out, however.
After the marriage ceremony, you have to swap out this visa (which is only intended to be temporary) for a partner visa. Ultimately, this can be converted to permanent residency.
What Is Required of the Sponsor?
You should both discuss this very carefully before proceeding, as the sponsor has to take legal responsibility for your financial situation while you are in Australia. In addition, they will also take responsibility for your compliance with any employment conditions and with any stipulations set out in the prospective marriage visa documentation.
How to Do This
If you are sure that you want to proceed, you need to start gathering the information. Get a certified copy of your passport and have two photographs taken. Make sure that your certified birth certificate has the names of both parents.
Then, you need to gather evidence that you have formally met in person and that you intend to marry within nine months of getting the visa. It's best if you can show a timeline that illustrates how your relationship has progressed from the day that you met, up until now. Have a word with your local police authority to get a background check certificate.
Do You Need Help?
To ensure that this all goes smoothly and without any problems, it's always advisable to get help from a visa consultant.