If you are in a relationship with a New Zealand citizen living in Australia, you may be eligible for a New Zealand Family Relationship (Temporary) Visa, known as the 461 visa.
You and your partner will either need to be married or prove you have lived together for at least six months at the time of application. Unlike some partner visas, registering your relationship, in a state or territory that allows this, does not waive the cohabitation requirement for the 461 visa.
Other eligible family members of the New Zealand citizen can also be included. This includes children aged 18 and over, provided the children are single and have not been in a de facto relationship.
Generally, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:
– Have been in a relationship with an eligible New Zealand citizen for over six months. Your partner must hold the subclass 444 special category visa which New Zealand citizens are granted upon entry to Australia, or they must be eligible for the 444 upon arrival, if you’re applying offshore*
– You’re the New Zealand citizen’s child or their partner’s dependent child
– Be the New Zealand citizen or partner’s relative who is windowed, divorced, separated or has never entered a de facto partnership; is usually resident in the New Zealand citizen’s household; is dependent on the New Zealand citizen
– You’re the child of a dependent child of either the New Zealand citizen or citizen’s partner
– Meet health and character requirements
– Have no outstanding debts to the Australian Government. You must have paid, or have an arrangement to pay, before this visa can be granted
-You may need to purchase a health insurance policy that covers you in Australia if you’re from a country which does not have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia
Applicants can be inside or outside Australia to apply for a 461 visa. If you are in Australia, you’ll need to make sure that your current visa does not have an ‘8503 – NO FURTHER STAY’ condition.
If you lodge a 461 visa whilst in Australia, you will go onto a bridging visa at the end of your current visa. The conditions of this bridging visa will vary depending on the visa held at the time of lodgement. You may or may not get work rights, and if you do get work rights, there may be restrictions as to the employer you can work for.
If your New Zealand partner is living in Australia, they will hold a 444 visa. You need to confirm what date your partner arrived in Australia. If they were in Australia on 26 February 2001 (or lived there for at least 12 months before), they are likely to be an ‘eligible New Zealander’. This means that they hold Australian permanent residency. In this case, they can sponsor you on an 820/801 partner visa, not on a 461 visa. If you lodge a 461 visa in these circumstances, it cannot be approved.
The 461 visa provides full work and study rights. However, you won’t be entitled to fee support.
You can leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you wish.
The 461 visa does not in itself lead to permanent residency. It is granted for five years and can be renewed for a further five years, and so on.
If your New Zealand partner (444 visa holder) arrived in Australia between 26 February 2001 and 26 February 2016, they may be eligible for permanent residency in their own right through the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream. Your partner must have lived in Australia for the past five years and be able to show annual earnings of at least $53,900 for the past four years. In this case, you may be eligible to be included in their 189 NZ application as a dependent, and would also get PR on grant of the 189 visa. You could register the relationship in this circumstance, waiving the requirement to show 12 months evidence of living together.
You may also be eligible for other skilled visa types or employer-sponsorship.
If your relationship with your New Zealand partner breaks down, you can still apply for a further five year 461, provided you are not in a new relationship. If you are in a new relationship with an Australian permanent resident or citizen, or eligible New Zealand citizen, you may be eligible to lodge an 820/801 visa.
If you’re not in a new relationship and decide to renew the visa, you must continue to meet health and character requirements, have maintained residency in Australia (two out of the last five years).
You can find out more by completing our online assessment form.
Working with an Australian migration agency means that you’ll be guided through the whole application process. True Blue Migration has helped hundreds of partners successfully obtain visa grants.
The truth is, the smallest mistake can derail your application. That’s why we ensure that all documents supplied to the Department of Home Affairs are correct, complete and assessed by a Registered Migration Agent prior to lodgement. You do not need to use a Registered Migration Agent to lodge your application, but many people find it helps.
Given that the 461 visa processing time is over 24 months, it’s a long time to waste if your application does not meet the Department’s strict requirements.