How the Partner visa application works
Step 1 - Temporary Stage
When you apply for either partner visa stream, you’ll first be granted a temporary visa.
Onshore applicants get the 820 temporary visa and offshore applicants get the 309 temporary visa.
Your temporary visa will let you:
live, work and study anywhere in Australia indefinitely
travel to and from Australia as often as you want
attend free English language classes from the Adult Migrant English Program
Find out more in our blog around the limitations for Partner Visa Applicants and Sponsors
Step 2 - Permanent Stage
You can then apply for a permanent visa 2 years later (from when you first applied for your temporary visa).
Onshore applicants get the 801 permanent visa and offshore applicants get the 100 permanent visa.
Your temporary visa remains active until you get your permanent visa.
The one exception
However, you may get your permanent visa right away if you:
have been married or been in a de facto relationship for 3 or more years
have a child together
Types of Partner Visas
- For those in Australia when they apply - Stage 1 of the two-part application
- For those outside Australia when they apply - Stage 1 of the two-part application
- For those outside Australia when they apply - Stage 2 of the two-part application
There are 2 kinds of Partner visas:
1. 📍 Onshore partner visas (subclass 820/801)
THIS IS FOR - people who are in Australia when they apply
2. ✈ Offshore partner visas (subclass 309/100)
THIS IS FOR - people who are outside Australia when they apply
If you're wondering which Partner Visa to apply for, then check out our blogs to help you figure this out!
Visit our other blogs too, which have more valuable information around getting your partner visa's in Australia as well as the quickest way to get your onshore partner visa processed.
Australia Partner visa requirements
To be eligible for either Australian partner visa:
Your partner MUST be an eligible Australian citizen/permanent resident or an eligible NZ citizen when you apply
You must be able to provide evidence to prove your relationship is genuine. This evidence is evaluated across 4 factors (this forms the bulk of your visa application work)
You must have lived together for at least 12 months as a de facto couple [Exception: If you living in QLD, ACT, NSW or VIC, you can bypass the 12 month rule by registering your relationship]
You must pass the health assessment. Tests will include chest x-ray, HIV test etc. This helps ensure the Australian public health care system can support all residents. In some cases, we may be able to get you a health waiver.
You must provide police checks as part of the character test for every country that you have lived in for 12 months cumulatively in the last 10 years, check out our recommendations for getting a proper police check for your visa application.
Check out our blog around if you Can Apply for a Partner Visa While on a Visitor Visa as it delves into if visitors can apply for these partner visas as well as our expert tips around the 4 things you must include in your Partner Visa.
Have questions about your eligibility or application? Don't worry, we are here to help!
If your recent Partner Visa Application failed, find out why.
How to apply for Partner visa Australia
Step 1 - Before you apply
#1 – Decide when and how you’ll apply for your partner visa
Visa fees are (usually) non-refundable, so start by verifying that you’re eligible for the visa and meet all the requirements.
Next, decide which visa subclass (onshore or offshore) is the most suitable for your circumstances.
Then, decide when you should apply. Should you apply right now, or wait until you’ve been in a relationship longer? Should you get married first? Do you need to register your relationship? The timing can help strengthen your application, but it really does depend on your situation.
If you’re unsure about how to apply for your partner visa, a migration consultant can explain your options. At Skylark Migration we offer free initial consultations to help you check your eligibility.
#2 – Collect the evidence and documents you’ll need to apply for the partner visa
It is best to collect your evidence before you start the application. This way you won’t be stuck on a page, unable to progress because you’re still waiting for something.
The most important documents are those that prove that you are living together, so it's best to start there.
Unsure if your evidence is enough, or just not sure what are the right documents? Here at Skylark Migration we provide our clients with personalised comprehensive checklists, which clearly outline exactly which visa documents you need, as well ones that will really differentiate and strengthen your application.
#3 – Prepare your partner visa statements
You’ll need to submit:
1 x statement from you declaring your relationship with your partner
1 x similar relationship statement from your partner declaring his/her relationship with you
And 2 x witness statements from Australian citizens or permanent residents. The witness statements must be made directly on the Form 888.
You’ll need all 4 statements before you can lodge your visa application.
Step 2 - When you apply
#4 – Fill in the visa form through an IMMI Account
You’ll need to create an IMMI account to fill out your forms.
There are 2 forms -
The visa application form (for the visa applicant)
The sponsorship form (for the Australian partner)
Most questions are straightforward and easy to fill out. Then why do partner visa applications often get refused? Our secret behind our 100% Partner Visa success rate is knowing the importance of considering your case officer’s perspective.
How might a case officer interpret your evidence and information? What helps them see how well you meet the 4 factors? (More on these factors below) The stronger your application reflect the 4 factors, the better your chances of successfully getting the visa.
Unsure? Don't worry. Explaining relationships to case officers is our specialty. We can take care of your application for you, or review your draft before you lodge it. So you can rest easy knowing you did everything to maximise your chances.
# 5 – Lodge/submit your application and other required forms
Remember you’ll need to lodge both your application and your partner’s sponsorship form
# 6 - Upload your documents and evidence
You should have these ready from steps 2 & 3 already.
But if you’re unsure about the evidence you’ve collected, our migration agents can help review your application and documents.
# 7 – Apply for your police checks and undergo health examination
Overseas police checks can take a long time to come through
All police checks and health examinations are only valid for 12 months
Visa processing times can be as long as 24 months
So we suggest you time your health and police checks, as you don’t want them arriving:
too soon, because if they expire you’d have to do them again
OR too late, and slowing down your visa processing
Most applicants organise these a few months after lodging their application.
Step 3 - After you apply
#8 – Wait to hear back from the Department
Once you've lodged, the wait begins. You'll need to be patient, average processing time is usually between 18 - 28 months. COVID update: At the moment, we are finding our applications here at Skylark are currently being picked up in as quickly as 6 months or less!
During that time, you may receive an email from your case officer requesting more information.
In the meantime, depending on the strength of your application and evidence, in some cases it may help to keep uploading new evidence to strengthen your application.
Step 9 – Congratulations!
Your 820/309 has been granted!
It can take up to 24 months for you to get your visa, but many of our customers are able to get their visas sooner.
Here's more information on how long it takes to get an Australian Partner Visa.
Step 10 - Apply for a permanent visa
You can apply for a permanent Australian visa (801/100 visa) 2 years after you initially lodged your 820/309 application.
You’ll need to provide updated evidence from the grant of your 820/309 onwards. The process is much simpler this time though, and there aren’t any more fees.
If you need more information on the fee's involved with these visa's check out our blog around all the costs involved in getting an australian partner visa
Feeling a bit overwhelmed?
It's okay, we can help take care of all your concerns for you. We have a proven track record of 100% success rate with Partner visas!
How to make your Partner Visa Application Strong(er)
The most common application mistake people make
In 2015/2016, 53.8% of all partner visa applications were refused (2018 FOI Request).
Here at Skylark, we handle hundreds of partner visa applications every year. And the most common visa application mistake we see people make is not realising that there are specific things case officers look for! Some applicants upload all the documents they have, without thinking over how the case officer might interpret them. For example, 50+ couple photos is not as strong as a plain lease document showing both of your names.
Check out more myths around the Partner Visa's in Australia.
Making your application strong(er)
To make your application stronger you need to include evidence that helps the case officer see how strong your relationship is.
Here’s a summary of the 4 Factors - the 4 things case officers look for assessing application:
#1. Financial aspects
Proof that you share expenses or pool finances to support each other
Joint bank accounts, home loans and credit cards are good evidence of this
#2. Social aspects
Proof that your friends and family are aware of your relationship, and they regularly interact with the both of you as a couple
Couple invitations, group and family photos, etc. are good evidence of this
#3. Nature of Household
Proof that you live together in the same household and share responsibilities
Bills to the same address, both names on the lease, etc. are good evidence of this
#4. Nature of Commitment
Proof you depend on each other for long-term companionship and emotional support
Photos of you together, messages between you, etc. are good evidence of this
Why You Should Use A Migration Agent from Skylark Migration
How migration agents can help
It is your job (as the applicant) to convince the case officer that your relationship is genuine.
Reviewing hundreds of applications every year can often make case officers skeptical.
They expect you to be able to provide certain documents (e.g. lease agreements, joint bank accounts, utility bills, statements)...because everyone else has been able to!
Experienced migration agents can increase your chances of a successful application, because they:
Handle visa applications on a daily basis, and know what case officers are looking for
Know how to present the evidence in the best way, so it's easier for the case officer to review and approve your application
Know how to avoid the red flags that invite further scrutiny
Know how to make up for areas of weaknesses in applications
Why Skylark Migration?
#1 - We’re more than just migration experts. We have former Immigration case officers on the team. They know how case officers think, what they're looking for and what their red flags are
#2 - Our numbers speak for themselves: We have a 100% success rate with Partner visas. Every single Partner visa application of ours since 2015 has been successfully granted.
#3 - ...Which is why we are confident enough to offer you 100% Money Back Guarantee - We get you your visa, or you get your money back*
#4 - Our fees are competitive and all-inclusive: We believe in helping more people. We are fiercely against charging exorbitant fees.
#5 - That’s why our customers love us: You can read about their experiences in the 100s of testimonials and 5-star reviews they’ve left us.
Choosing a migration agent is a serious decision and we want you to have the best help possible.
Ready to apply for your visa?
Book in a free consultation with our partner visa experts 👇 We’ll show you where you stand, assess your eligibility and give you tips on how to make your application stronger!