Partner Visas (Onshore and Offshore)

This visa allows the spouse or de facto partner of an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australia.

Who could get this visa

The applicant must be sponsored and married or in a de facto relationship with:

  • an Australian citizen
  • an Australian permanent resident
  • an eligible New Zealand citizen.

The relationship must be genuine and ongoing. The applicant and the partner must live together, if they do not, any separation must be only temporary and both parties must freely consent to the relationship.

The applicant must also be older than 18 years of age and not be related to the partner by family. This means the applicant cannot be an ancestor or descendant of the partner, or have a parent in common.

Married applicants

The marriage must be valid under Australian law. Same-sex couples can apply for this visa only based on their de facto relationship.

De facto applicants

Usually the de facto relationship must have existed for at least 12 months immediately before the applicant applies for this visa. However, the applicant can be granted a visa without having been in a de facto relationship for 12 months if:

  • s/he can demonstrate compelling and compassionate circumstances, such as having dependent children
  • the de facto relationship has been registered in Australia (this is not available in all states and territories).
Who can sponsor

The sponsor must:

  • be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen
  • be in a married or de facto relationship with the applicant
  • be older than 18 years of age.
Limitations on sponsorship

The sponsorship might not be approved if the sponsor:

  • was sponsored for a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa within the past five years
  • has successfully sponsored two people for migration to Australia on a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa
  • has successfully sponsored another person for migration to Australia on a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa within the past five years.
  • If the prospective sponsor was granted a Contributory Parent category visa after 30 June 2009, s/he cannot sponsor a partner for five years from the date the visa was granted if they were in relationship before the visa was granted. There are some exceptions to this limitation.
Visa application process

The application is processed in two stages, about two years apart. The first stage grants a temporary visa and the second stage grant a permanent visa. However, a single application is lodged for both the temporary and permanent visas, and a single application fee is charged. Based on the location of the applicant there are two types of Partner visas.

  1. For onshore applicants: Temporary Partner visa (subclass 820) and Permanent Partner visa (subclass 801)
  2. For offshore applicants: Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309) and Partner (Migrant) visa (subclass 100)

The temporary Partner visa (subclass 820 or 309) is the first stage towards a permanent Partner visa (subclass 801 or 100 respectively). For Temporary Partner visa, the applicant(s) must be onshore when the outcome of the visa application is decided. Similarly, for Partner (Provisional) visa, the applicant(s) must be offshore when the outcome of the visa application is decided. However, the applicant can be in or outside Australia when the outcome of Permanent Partner/ Partner (Migrant) visa is decided.

In most cases, permanent residence cannot be granted less than two years from the day the initial application is lodge.

Other requirements
  1. Health

    Visa applicant(s) must meet the health requirements. Visa applicant(s) might need to undergo health examinations as part of the visa application process and can choose to undertake them prior to lodging the visa application.

  2. Character

    Visa applicant(s) must meet certain character requirements. Visa applicant(s) must provide a police certificate from each country s/he has lived in for 12 months or more during the past 10 years after turning 16 years of age.

Including family in your application

The main applicant can include dependent children in the same visa application. The dependent children must also be able to show that they meet Australia’s healthand character requirements. It should be noted that onshore and offshore applicant(s) cannot be included in the same application in this visa.

Visa entitlements

The partner temporary/provisional visa lets the visa holder to:

  • enter Australia and stay here until a decision is made regarding the permanent Partner visa
  • work and study in Australia
  • enrol in Medicare, Australia's scheme for health-related care and expenses.

If the applicant is later granted a permanent visa, s/he can:

  • stay in Australia indefinitely
  • work and study in Australia
  • apply for Australian citizenship (if eligible)
  • sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence
  • receive some social security payments
  • travel to and from Australia for five years from the date the visa is granted

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Does the applicant need to apply for temporary and partner visa separately?

No, the applicant will lodge only one application for both temporary and permanent visas and pay one application charge only. However, the visa application is processed in two stages, about two years apart.

Q. Is someone without a substantive visa eligible to apply this visa in Australia?

Yes, a person without a substantive visa might be eligible to apply for this visa in Australia if they meet some additional criteria in order to make a valid application in Australia.

Q. What options are there for an applicant with less than 12 months of de facto relationship to lodge this visa?

An applicant can apply and could be granted a partner visa without having been in a de facto relationship for 12 months if:

  • the applicant can demonstrate compelling and compassionate circumstances, such as having dependent children
  • the applicant’s de facto relationship has been registered in Australia
Q. Can an applicant be granted permanent partner visa before the usual waiting period?

An applicant could be granted a permanent visa without having to fulfil the usual two-year waiting period if:

  • the relationship breaks down and there is a child from the relationship.
  • the partner dies and the applicant can show that the relationship would have continued if the partner had lived and s/he has some business, cultural or personal ties in Australia
  • the relationship breaks down and the applicant or members of family unit have suffered family violence
  • at the time of application, the applicant has been in a relationship with the partner for three years or more, or two years or more if applicant and the partner have a dependent child from the relationship.
Q. Till when is the partner (provisional) visa valid for?

Applicant’s temporary visa is generally valid till one of the below event occurs:

  • a decision is made about the permanent visa
  • the applicant is granted another type of visa
  • the applicant’s provisional Partner (Provisional) visa is cancelled
  • the applicant withdraws the application for a Permanent Partner visa.
Q. When can one expect the letter for the permanent partner visa?

An applicant’s permanent partner visa will be processed as below:

  • About two years after lodgment for this visa, the applicant will be assessed for a permanent Partner visa.
  • About three months before the applicant is assessed, DIBP will send a letter asking to provide more information.
  • Whether the applicant applied for the temporary partner visa using a paper form or online, s/he can provide information online for this stage.

In case two years have passed since the lodgment of the partner visa application and if one has not yet received the letter from DIBP, s/he should contact the nearest Australian office of the DIBP.

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