Many Australians find overseas partners who they wish to spend the rest of their life with, and there is a pathway to obtain a permanent visa based on a genuine relationship with an Australian citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or Eligible NZ citizen.
Most partner visas can be lodged in or out of Australia, except for Prospective Partner visas, which must be lodged when the overseas partner is offshore. To lodge any partner visa, the applicants must show that their relationship is genuine and mutually exclusive.
This visa can be based on marriage, a de-facto relationship of living together for 12 months under the same roof, or de-facto of less than 12 months of living together and registering their relationship with the Registry Office of their State/Territory in Australia. Please note that not all States and Territories have a facility for relationship registration. As an example, WA and NT do not allow for relationship registration. In the case of these two states, you and your partner need to either be living together for 12 months under the same roof or get married prior to lodging your partner visa. Please also note that if you are going to lodge on basis of being married, the marriage needs to have taken place prior to lodgement.
A partner visa is a two-stage application. In the first stage, once positively assessed, a provisional visa is granted. After two years from lodgement of the provisional visa, the provisional visa holder can apply for a permanent visa.
It is important to check if your overseas partner does not have an 8503 condition (no further stay) on their visa from which they are going to lodge a partner visa, as this condition would prevent them from lodging another visa onshore. A no further stay condition is (8503) is typically, but not always, placed on some visitor visas, especially 600 visas and family-sponsored visitor visas.