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Australian partner visa requirements

See all articlesAustralian partner visa requirements
Partner & Family
Australian Migration Lawyer
February 12, 2024
minute read

If you're an Australian citizen or a permanent resident, and you're in a relationship with a non-Australian, you might be thinking about how to bring your partner to live with you in Australia. 

Unlike tourist or student visas, the Australian partner visa process is a permanent residency (PR) pathway and the assessment process is far more rigorous than temporary visa application processes. That is, because you can get permanent residency via the partner visa route without a skill or qualification, many people pretend to be in fake relationships, sometimes referred to in the movies as ‘sham marriages’’. Fraudsters coordinating fake relationships for visa purposes often go to great lengths to obtain evidence, including documents, to support their application. This means that it is difficult for the Australian Government to distinguish between your genuine relationship and someone trying to get permanent residency in Australia by way of a fake relationship. Unfortunately, this results in thousands of partner visas being refused. In recent years, as many as 42% of all partner visa applications were initially refused by the government. If your partner visa application is initially refused, you can appeal to Australia’s administrative review tribunal and each year more than 1,000 couples have their refusal overturned at the tribunal after proving their relationship is actually real. It is important to understand however that if your partner visa is refused, you may have to wait up to two years for Australia’s administrative review tribunal to schedule a tribunal hearing, hear your evidence and determine your appeal. This is why we recommend engaging an Australian Migration Lawyer to prepare a strong, decision-ready application in the first instance.

There are different partner visa options available in Australia. These visas include an initial Temporary partner visa, a Permanent partner visa and a Prospective Marriage visa.

At Australian Migration Lawyers, we can help take out the stress of the process and assist you with all types of partner visas.


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If you are interested in getting more information about a partner visa, get in touch with Australian Migration Lawyers for a free consultation


A quick overview of partner visas in Australia

There are several types of partner visas in Australia, each designed to suit different relationship situations (De facto relationships, people who are married and couples that are planning to get married). The Australian Government currently authorises: onshore partner visas (Subclass 820/801), offshore partner visas (Subclass 309/100), and the prospective marriage visa (Subclass 300). Let's break down each of these visas and what you need to qualify for them. All of these categories apply to both same and opposite sex couples. 

The onshore partner visa (Subclass 820/801)

This visa is for those who are in Australia and in a genuine relationship (spouse or de facto) with an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident. It's a two-step process, starting with the temporary partner visa (subclass 820), followed by the permanent partner visa (subclass 801). To learn more about the two-step process, click here.

To be eligible for the onshore partner visa, you need to:

1. Be in a genuine and continuing relationship or legally married to your Australian partner.

2. Be sponsored by your partner.

3. Meet health and character requirements.

4. Be in Australia when you lodge your visa application.

The offshore partner visa (Subclass 309/100)

This visa is similar to the onshore partner visa, but it's for those who are currently outside Australia. Similar to the onshore visa, it's a two-step process beginning with the provisional partner visa (subclass 309) and moving on to the permanent partner visa (subclass 100).

The requirements for the offshore partner visa are the same as the onshore visa, with one key difference: the applicant must be outside Australia when you lodge your application and when the provisional partner visa (subclass 309) is granted.

The prospective marriage visa (Subclass 300)

This visa is for those who plan to marry an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident. The main requirements are:

1. You must intend to marry your partner within 9 months of the visa being granted.

2. You must be sponsored by your partner.

3. You must meet health and character requirements.

4. You must be outside Australia when you lodge your application and when the visa is granted.

Taking the first steps in your partner visa Journey

Applying for a partner visa might seem like an overwhelming task, particularly given the risk of refusal.

So we’ve broken down the process into 3 phases listed below, just to make things a bit clearer for you.


Taking the first step: Preparation

The first step in your partner visa journey is preparation. Make sure you’ve covered all your bases in regards to what is going to be requested of you in the lodging phase.

Things you might include as evidence of your relationship are shared bills, correspondence, photos, social proof and the like. You'll also need your personal identification documents and character documents such as police clearances.

Remember, the stronger your evidence, the easier it will be for the Department of Home Affairs to process your application. A good way to ensure this is to create a checklist of all required documents. We know this sounds a bit over the top, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

Submitting your application: The lodging phase

Once you've gathered and prepared all your documents, you're ready to lodge your application. 

A well-prepared and complete application can potentially speed up your processing time. If there is missing or unclear information, your application might be delayed. As always throughout this process, be meticulous and triple-check everything.

Patience is a virtue: Waiting for your visa and understanding bridging visas

After lodging your application, it's all about patience. Processing times can vary greatly based on a number of factors, such as the number of applications in queue, the complexity of your case, and so forth.

While waiting, you might qualify for a bridging visa, which allows you to legally stay in Australia until your partner visa is processed. If you have a valid visa when you apply, it will remain effective until its expiry date.

To keep track of processing times and updates, you can visit the Department of Home Affairs' website here.

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