My partner has a child from a previous marriage. Can the child be included in his/her partner visa application?
The visa type will dictate who can be included as a secondary applicant. Generally, it is restricted to dependent members of the applicant’s immediate family unit – which in most cases will be children from a previous relationship or perhaps even children from the current relationship between the applicant and sponsor.
The applicant is always referred to as the primary applicant, and the other applicants who can be included in the application, known as a combined application, are known as the secondary applicants.
Combined applications are very common to fiancé and partner (spouse/marriage/de-facto) visa applications and it is not uncommon to include one or two children as secondary applicants.
All applicants, whether primary or secondary will have their own criteria that needs to be satisfied to be granted a visa including custody requirements.
Many issues arise however when children are included in a partner (spouse/marriage/de-facto) or fiancé visa application and they are not the biological children of the sponsor.
- Safety and Welfare of the children
The Australian Government’s primary concern is the safety and welfare of the children included in a visa application. So, when the decision maker at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is assessing an application, he will need to be sure that the sponsor has not had any convictions for child sex offenses which may indicate a significant risk to the child. Therefore, if you are sponsoring an applicant with a child included as a secondary applicant – you will need to provide relevant police checks as part of the assessment of your sponsorship.
- Parental Consent
DIAC needs to be satisfied that those who have the legal responsibility to determine where a child lives gives consent to the child migrating to Australia permanently. It is presumed that both of the child’s natural parents have the joint responsibility in determining where a child can live.
In the absence of a court order granting the applicant the sole responsibility for the child, a letter should be obtained from the child’s other parent which clearly states that he agrees to the child migrating to Australia permanently. If the other parent is deceased, then a certified copy of the death certificate should be included.
There are a number of ways in which the applicant can satisfy DIBP: it might be through a court order, or via an authorised letter or other official document. The appropriate course of action in each case will depend on the circumstances of family unit.
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