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Transitioning from a Tourist visa to a Partner visa

See all articlesTransitioning from a tourist visa to a partner visa
Partner & Family
Australian Legal Executive
October 20, 2023
minute read

Looking to apply for a partner visa while on a visitor visa in Australia? We can help

Applying for a Partner visa can be both an exciting and stressful time for couples. The prospect of being able to live together in Australia undoubtedly represents a significant milestone in your relationship. However, it can also be a source of uncertainty when it comes to the application process and documentation requirements..

You’re not alone. The process is tricky and it is for this reason that people are refused visas down the line. As migration lawyers, we help reduce the stress and uncertainty of our clients by working with you to make it as straightforward and high quality application as possible. 

One question our clients ask is if they are eligible to apply for a Partner visa while you are on a Visitor visa and what is involved? 

Step 1: Understanding Partner visa types and checking your eligibility

As the name suggests, a Visitor visa is a temporary visa type and will expire after 3 or 12 months depending on your circumstances. The advantage of applying for a Partner visa while on a Visitor visa in Australia is that you will be onshore, and will have the opportunity to remain in Australia with your partner throughout the waiting period for the visa outcome. The reason for this is that once you have applied for a subclass 820, in most instances you will be provided a Bridging visa that will allow you to stay in Australia until the Department of Home Affairs makes a decision on your application. 

However, it is crucial to understand that there is certain eligibility criteria for Onshore Partner visa (subclass 820) which include:

  1. Being in a genuine and continuing relationship with or legally married to your Australian partner
  2. Being sponsored by your partner
  3. Meet health and character requirements 

If your partner is offshore, you may wish to consider other Partner visas such as a Prospective Marriage or Offshore Partner visa. Please speak to the Australian Migration Lawyers team about what is best suited to your circumstances. 

Confused? That’s ok. Examples vary from case to case. We recommend you get in touch with us at Australian Migration Lawyers so that we can help provide you with clarity on your specific situation.

Step 2: Check your Visitor visa conditions

If you are already in Australia on a Visitor visa that has a “No Further Stay” condition, you cannot apply for an Onshore partner visa (subclass 820). This condition can only be waived in some very limited circumstances. If you have this condition, you may need to leave Australia and apply for an Offshore Partner visa (subclass 309 or 300).

Overcoming this condition can be tricky. Therefore, if you are unsure about your Visitor visa conditions, we are available to assist you. 

Step 3: Prepare documents for your visa application

You will be required to supply necessary documents to support your Partner visa application. We recommend you start gathering these as soon as possible. Typical documents we suggest collating are ones that provide evidence of your genuine relationship such as photographs, joint financial commitments, communication history, and statutory declarations from friends and family. When you start working with the team at Australian Migration Lawyers we will provide you with a checklist of evidence and documents make it easier for you. 

Step 4: Apply Online

Your migration lawyer will help collate all the evidence and submission on your behalf for the application to the Australian Department of Home Affairs. We will submit on your behalf to take the stress out of the process for you. 

We will be the direct contact point for the Department of Home Affairs and if they request further documents or information, we will work with you to take action and respond to them.


Free consultation

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


Step 5: Biometrics and Health Examination

Depending on your circumstances, you may need to attend a biometrics appointment and undergo a health examination as part of the application process.

Our lawyers will advise you on what to expect and how this process works. 

Step 6: Bridging visa and wait for processing

It is important to check your Bridging visa conditions and make sure you comply with them. Any violation to your Bridging visa conditions could result in refusal of your partner visa application.

Keep in mind, partner visa processing times can vary based on various factors such as the complexity of the case or the number of applications in queue.

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