As you know Australian borders opened on 21st February this year.
Almost everyone (even tourists) can now come to Australia as long as they're fully vaccinated. But there are still some rules and concessions in place.
So what does this mean if you want to apply for a Partner visa in 2022?
If you’re not in Australia right now and want a Partner Visa?
We recommend you come to Australia (on any temporary visa) and apply for the onshore Partner visa (Subclass 820/801).
This way you won’t have to live apart during the processing period, which can be as long as 28 months
Plus, living together in Australia strengthens the evidence for your Partner visa application.
Any temporary visa - including a tourist visa - will work fine. If you're from Europe, North America, or East Asia, you may also be able to get ETAs and e-Visitor visas easily.
If you cannot come to Australia
If you cannot easily get a visitor visa to come to Australia, you can apply for the offshore Partner visa (Subclass 309).
If you are engaged, you can also consider the Prospective Marriage visa (Subclass 300). This is a good option if you do not meet the criteria of a "de facto" relationship. But you will need to get married within 9 months of getting your visa.
If you’re in Australia on a temporary (non-bridging) visa
You can apply for the onshore Partner visa (subclass 820) - same as always.
Apply before your current visa runs out, and you'll automatically get a bridging visa. That means you can keep living in Australia while your application is processed.
Confused about anything, or need some help applying? Just schedule a free consultation and we’ll be happy to help.
If you’re in Australia on a Bridging visa
You usually need a “substantive” visa to qualify for the 820/801 application.
If you're on a Bridging visa, you must meet the Schedule 3 requirements (or get them waived) to get your Partner visa.
That means if you’ve: ….
applied for another visa, and are waiting to hear from immigration about it
had a visa application refused, and are waiting for Tribunal review of their decision
… then it would be very difficult for you to get the 820 visa.
The Schedule 3 requirements of the Migration Regulations 1994 are notoriously hard to meet.
In this case, you have 2 options:
1. If you meet the Schedule 3 requirements
You can apply for the 820 visa if you have a compelling reason why you couldn’t apply from overseas.
We typically see Schedule 3 waivers being granted when:
The applicants had a child together (and the child was a natural Australian): Going abroad would affect the Australian child’s well being.
The Australian partner was dependent on the visa applicant because of severe medical reasons: Leaving would severely affect the Australian citizen.
The visa applicant had a serious injury and was unable to leave the country: The applicant cannot leave due to circumstances outside of their control.
Even in these situations, you'll need strong evidence to get the Schedule 3 requirements waived.
2. If you do not meet Schedule 3 requirements
You can still apply for the Partner Visa, but you’ll need to take some extra steps.
Next, leave Australia for any country (doesn't have to be your home country), and apply for the offshore Partner visa (Subclass 309/100).
Then use your Bridging Visa B to return to Australia and wait for your application to be processed.
This way you can get your Partner visa without living apart from your partner.
Before COVID, offshore Partner visas would only be granted if the applicant was offshore. However, offshore Partner visas can now be granted in Australia. This is thanks to a recent concession, meant to reduce unnecessary travel.
If this concession is still in place when your offshore Partner visa is ready to be granted, you won't need to leave Australia at all!
However we don't know how long this concession will remain active, so we urge you to apply quickly.
Not sure what to do?
We love helping. Schedule a free call with us below and we’ll figure out the best way for you to get your Partner visa in Australia.
Book a free consultation so we can help you explore your options 👇