The Importance of Satisfying Character Requirement for Partner Visa Sponsors

Character requirement is part of every Australian visa application process and significantly evolve around the applicant who is applying for the Australian visa. Since the end of 2016, the Department has made it extremely important that all Australian citizens or permanent residents who wish to sponsor their partner on a Partner visa or Prospective Marriage visa (PMV) satisfy the character test.

Why? The Department takes character requirements very seriously to protect not just the Australian community, but also to protect the visa applicant(s) as well.

This article outlines everything you need to know about character requirement and the difference between relevant offenses and significant offenses.

Where Do I Obtain a Police Clearance for my Partner Visa Application and When Do I Need It?

Whether you are applying for a Partner visa or Prospective Marriage visa (PMV), you will need to satisfy the character requirement.

Character requirement does not only apply to your partner who is the visa applicant, but it also applies to you as the sponsor. You must obtain a police certificate from Australia Federal Police (AFP), as well as police certificate(s) from any country you have lived in for 12 months or more in the last 10 years since turning 16.

IMPORTANT: Depending on the foreign country you had lived in the last 10 years, you may be required to obtain both the state and national police clearances.

Character requirement is an extremely important requirement you must meet in order for your sponsorship application for the partner visa to be approved. If you do not provide the AFP and/or foreign police certificate(s) from countries you had lived in the last 10 years, your Partner visa sponsorship application may be refused and therefore, will result in a refused Partner visa application.

What is Considered a Relevant Offence(s)?

A traffic fine (e.g. speeding fine) is not considered as an offence if you were not convicted. If you were convicted for any given crime or assault and had to present yourself at court, this may be considered as an offence and may appear on your AFP or your foreign police certificate (if it happened while you were living overseas).

In short, the Department considers relevant offences as the following:

  • violence, including murder, assault, sexual assault and the threat of violence
  • harassment, molestation, intimidation or stalking
  • the breach of an apprehended violence order, or a similar order
  • firearms or other dangerous weapons
  • people smuggling
  • human trafficking, slavery or slavery-like practices (including forced marriage), kidnapping or unlawful confinement
  • attempting to commit any of these offences
  • aiding, abetting, counseling or procuring such offences.

At Crux Migration, we will conduct a preliminary check and assess whether you will pass the character test based on what you tell us at the consultation. For example, your offence is considered less serious if you had a previous drink-driving offence which happened many years ago, compared to receiving a suspended sentence for domestic violence. This is because even if you had never physically spent time in prison, in the eyes of the Australian Migration Law, a suspended sentence is considered to be equal and same as if you have spent time in prison. In this situation, an AFP and an overseas police clearance certificate are not enough. We will need to write a submission retracing the offence(s) and outline factors such as why it had happened and what you had done since then to become a better person.

Your convictions will not be considered as relevant offences if it had been quashed, pardoned or otherwise nullified.

Will my Partner Visa Application Get Refused if I’ve Had Relevant Offences?

Relevant Offences will not result in a refused Partner visa application straight away unless it is considered to be a significant criminal record. The Department may request further information from you requiring you to provide submission explaining your previous relevant offences. The Department will also disclose your previous convictions to your partner allowing them to make an informed decision on whether they want to proceed with the Partner visa application with you.

The Department will consider you having a significant criminal record if you had been sentenced to the following:

  • death
  • imprisonment for life
  • a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more
  • 2 or more terms of imprisonment, where the total of those terms is 12 months or more.


The above is considered to be significant offences and your application will likely be refused if you had been sentenced to one of the above. There are grounds that the Department will take into consideration when deciding whether or not to refuse your application and these are, but not limited to:

  • how long it has been since you had completed your sentence(s) for the offence(s)
  • the best interest of your child or children or your partner’s child or children
  • the length of your relationship with your partner.

There has been a number of changes to the Partner visa since November 2016 and the importance of meeting character requirement for the sponsor is one these changes.

We cannot stress how important it is for all sponsors to meet character requirement. If you do not meet the character requirement or cannot provide an extensive submission to prove to the Department why you should be able to sponsor your partner, your Partner visa application may be refused.

How Can Crux Migration Help

We can help guide you through the entire Partner visa application process and help you prepare all documents involved, ensuring that documents meet requirements before we lodge your application. We can represent you from start and until a decision is made on your application.

You can book a consultation with our Immigration Lawyers at Agape Henry Crux (also known as Crux Migration). We can assess your eligibility and tailor your Partner visa application in accordance with your relationship circumstances.


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