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Understanding the Australian Partner Visa

Thinking of Applying for a Partner Visa in Australia? Here's What You Need to Know

Happy couple with Australian partner visa

Are you considering starting a new chapter of your life in Australia with your partner? The Australian Partner Visa could be the gateway to your dreams. Whether you're married, in a de facto relationship, or planning to tie the knot soon, this visa opens up opportunities for partners of Australian citizens, permanent residents, or eligible New Zealand citizens to live together in Australia. Let's dive into the essential information you need to know before applying for this visa.

In this article, we'll delve into the intricacies of both onshore (subclass 820 and 801 visa) and offshore partner visas (subclass 309 and 100 visa) as well as prospective marriage visa (subclass 300 visa).

Eligibility & Criteria

The Australian Partner Visa and Prospective Marriage visa are designed for individuals who are in a genuine and committed relationship with an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen.

  • Who can apply for an Australian partner visa?

  • Must be married to or in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen.

  • The relationship must be genuine and ongoing.

  • Meet health and character requirements.

De facto relationship

When applying for a Partner Visa as a de facto couple, you usually need to have lived together for 12 months. However, you can avoid this requirement by registering your relationship with some state governments (NSW, VIC, TAS, ACT and QLD).

However, your time living together is still highly relevant because the 'genuineness' of your relationship is still being assessed under these four legislative criteria. See below to understand more about the four legislative criteria.

  • Partner Visa 4 Criteria

  • #1: Financial aspects: You will need to show that you and your partner share financial commitments and responsibilities.

  • #2: Nature of household: You will need to show that you and your partner have established a joint household.

  • #3: Social context: You will need to show that your relationship with your partner is socially accepted by your friends and family.

  • #4: Nature of commitment: You will need to show that you depend on each other for long-term companionship and emotional support.

  • Who can apply for a prospective marriage visa (subclass 300 visa)

If you find it challenging to demonstrate the aforementioned four criteria, there's still an option available. The Prospective Marriage Visa (Subclass 300), commonly referred to as the 'fiancé visa' or 'engagement visa,' caters to individuals planning to marry their partner in Australia (with marriage being a pivotal part of your plan). Despite not having lived together, this visa can be granted successfully provided you have met your partner in person at least once.

2-step process to PR

When lodging your partner visa application, a combined application for 2 subclasses visas (for Onshore partner visa – 820 & 801, for Offshore partner visa – 309 & 100) is to be lodged. And applicant will be granted with a temporary visa (for Onshore partner visa – 820 visa, for Offshore partner visa – 309 visa) first. After two years from the initial lodgement, the applicant becomes eligible for granting permanent residency (for Onshore partner visa – 801 visa, for Offshore partner visa – 100 visa). At this stage, you will need to prove your relationship is still continuous and genuine in order to obtain your permanent residency partner visa.

In some cases, temporary and permanent partner visas can be granted together (double grant). If you have been living together for more than 3 years, you might get your temporary and permanent partner visa granted together.

Would you like to know more about how you can expedite your application? Read more about partner visa processing time and tips to expedite your visa application here.

Onshore Partner Visa (820 & 801)

If an applicant is holding or can get any temporary visa to come to Australia (e.g. tourist visa, working holiday visa, etc.), it is possible to apply for an onshore partner visa before that temporary visa expires.

Additional requirement for onshore partner visa applicants:

Note: Onshore partner visa applicants must hold a substantive visa. If an applicant is not holding a substantive (e.g. Bridging visa), you will need meet schedule 3 criteria, unless there are compelling reasons for exemption.

Not holding a substantive visa but want to apply for a partner visa onshore?

Failure to submit a valid application within 28 days after the cessation of your substantive visa may result in refusal of this visa. If you do not currently hold a substantive visa, you may also be required to demonstrate the following:

  • Circumstances leading to your visa status were beyond your control.

  • Compelling reasons exist for visa consideration.

  • Substantial compliance with previous visa conditions.

Should you fail to meet the aforementioned criteria, there remains a possibility of visa approval if you can justify 'compelling reasons' for non-compliance.

According to the Department's policy, compelling circumstances may arise if your visa status is beyond your control, such as severe illness. However, no definitive list exists for what constitutes a 'compelling reason' for waiving requirements. Other examples that may warrant consideration include:

  • Having Australian citizen children from your relationship.

  • Significant adverse effects on your sponsor's health or welfare upon your departure.

  • Unsafe conditions in your home country due to war or violence.

Ultimately, the Department determines whether your circumstances warrant a waiver. They consider all factors leading up to the decision. A refusal may impact your eligibility for other visas, making it essential to seek legal advice before proceeding with your application.

8503 'No further stay' condition

If you have held a visa with a "no further stay" condition since your last entry into Australia, you are ineligible to apply for this visa within Australia. However, Condition 8503 may be waived under certain circumstances.

It is highly recommended to seek professional advice if you are not holding a substantive visa or your current visa has 8503 condition, but wish to apply for an onshore partner visa.

Bridging visa: 

For onshore partner visa applicant, a bridging visa will be automatically granted immediately after lodging 820/801 visa application. This will allow your partner to stay, work and/or study in Australia while waiting for the 820 visa outcome. Onshore partner visa applicant can be in or outside of Australia when 820 visa is granted.

Offshore Partner Visa (309 & 100)

An applicant who is in a married or de facto relationship with an Australian partner but cannot obtain any temporary visa to come to Australia, or is not currently in a position to relocate to Australia, may consider the offshore partner visa as an option. An applicant needs to lodge 309/100 visa application outside Australia. However, an applicant can be in or outside Australia when 309 visa is granted (Read more about your location at the time of grant here).

Prospective Marriage Visa (300)

For engaged couples not yet established a de facto relationship. An applicant for 300 visa needs to be outside Australia at the time of application and visa grant. You will normally have 9 months to stay in Australia on a prospective marriage visa. You need to get married to your partner during this period and lodge an onshore partner visa application before your prospective marriage visa expires.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

If you're ready to embark on this journey or have questions about your eligibility and application process, don't hesitate to reach out to our experienced migration experts.

For unparalleled service and affordable rates in Australian migration assistance, choose Skylark Migration. We're here to support you on your journey to making your Australian migration dreams a reality!



Why Choose Skylark Migration?

At Skylark Migration, we specialize in simplifying complex immigration pathways. Our team's expertise in handling partner visas means we can provide personalised advice, ensuring your application is comprehensive and meets all criteria. Our free partner visa consultation will ensure you're on the right path for your visa journey!

Former-Department of Immigration  With a former Immigration officer on our team, we have unique insight into what a strong application looks like and red flags you should avoid.

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