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Partner Visa Subclass 820/801

Start your new life in Australia with a Partner visa

An 820/801 Partner visa enables you to apply whilst in Australia to be with your partner; but the application process can be complex and confusing. At Australian Migration Lawyers, we provide you with valuable support, and guidance to make the process as straightforward as possible to obtaining a Partner visa.

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What is the Partner visa (subclass 820/801)?

If you are the spouse or de facto partner of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, you may be eligible to apply for a partner visa.

There are two types of partner visas and they are distinguished by their sets of subclasses. Subclass 820/801 partner visas can only be applied for by applicants who are already onshore, while subclass 309/100 partner visas are for offshore applicants. If you are offshore, please refer to the Partner visa 309/100 page.

Subclass 820 and subclass 801 are different types of visas in their own right. The subclass 820 visa is a temporary visa, while the subclass 801 is the permanent visa. If you satisfy all eligibility requirements for a Partner visa, you will typically be granted a subclass 820 visa first. This allows you to live, work, study and travel without restriction. In most instances, you can also access Medicare at this time. After two years on the subclass 820 visa, you will then become eligible to apply for the subclass 801 visa. Once the subclass 801 is granted, you can become an Australian permanent resident and enjoy the full range of benefits and entitlements available to permanent residents

Eligibility requirements for a subclass 820/801 Partner visa

Before you can make a valid application for a subclass 820/801 partner visa, Australian migration law requires the following:

  • You must be in Australia at the time of application
  • You must be in a genuine relationship with your sponsoring Australian partner (an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen)
  • Your sponsoring Australian partner must be either your spouse (married) or your de facto partner (cohabiting for at least 12 months or do not live apart on a permanent basis); some exceptions apply
  • You must be over the age of 18 (limited exemptions apply)
  • You must meet the health and character requirements

Same-sex partners are eligible to apply for this visa.

How to apply for a Partner visa for Australia

Benefits of a Partner visa

The principal benefit of a Partner visa is the stability it provides for you and your sponsoring Australian partner. It enables you to live together and continue building a life together in Australia without the anxieties that accompany a temporary visa status.

To facilitate stability and continuity, the Partner visa program grants a range of benefits even before permanent residency.

As a subclass 820 visa-holder, you can:

  • Work without restriction and be guaranteed minimum wage under Australian law
  • Study without restriction
  • Travel in and out of Australia
  • Access Medicare

As a subclass 801 visa-holder, in addition to the above, you can:

  • Enjoy full access to Medicare
  • Pay domestic student fees at Australian education institutions
  • Apply for citizenship after meeting residency requirements
  • Sponsor family to come to Australia under relevant programs

Subclass 820 Partner visa checklist

The Partner visa application process has many technical elements to consider and requires a significant amount of documentary evidence to satisfy the Australian government that you are in a genuine and continuing relationship with your sponsoring Australian partner.

Every year the Australian Government refuses thousands of partner visa applications on the basis of insufficient evidence that the relationship is genuine. To support you, we have developed a comprehensive checklist that includes all documents that you will need to demonstrate the genuineness of your relationship and to meet all other legislative requirements for the grant of a partner visa.  Here is a snapshot of the types of documents you will be asked to provide:

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Proof of name change (if applicable)
  • Divorce certificate (if applicable)
  • National identity card
  • Australian police certificate
  • Overseas police certificate(s)
  • Military service records (if applicable)
  • Military discharge papers (if applicable)
  • Nature of your household
  • Nature of your commitment
  • Financial aspect of your relationship
  • Social aspect of your relationship

How the subclass 820/801 Partner visas work

There are two stages to the onshore partner visa – the subclass 820 (temporary) stage and the subclass 801 (permanent stage).

Stage 1: Temporary partner visa (subclass 820)

To apply for the subclass 820 visa, you must provide evidence to demonstrate that your relationship is genuine and continuing. The threshold to satisfy the Australian government is high, so significant documentary evidence is required. Other personal documents will also be required, such as your identity documents and character documents.

If satisfied, the Australian government will grant you a subclass 820 visa, which allows you to live, work, study in Australia without restriction for two years until you are eligible to apply for the subclass 801 visa. You can also travel in and out of Australia without restriction and can access Medicare.

Stage 2: Permanent partner visa (subclass 801)

After two years, subclass 820 visa-holders become eligible to apply for the subclass 801 visa. This application process is similar to the subclass 820 visa application process, and requires you to satisfy the Australian government that your relationship is still ongoing from the time the subclass 820 visa was granted.

Double-grant of subclass 820 and 801 visas

Applicants in longstanding relationships spanning a number of years may be eligible for a double grant of the 820/801 visa. We can work with you to prepare a request for a double-grant if you satisfy the criteria.

Australian Migration Lawyers can help you prepare a thorough application so that you have the best chance of success.

Future visa pathways

Once you have been granted the subclass 801 visa, you are considered a permanent resident and can access the full range of benefits available to Australian permanent residents. You can choose to remain a permanent resident or you can choose to apply for citizenship after meeting the relevant residency requirements.

If you choose to remain a permanent resident, you will enjoy a 5-year travel facility on your subclass 801 visa. That is, you can travel in and out of Australia for up to 5 years on the subclass 801 visa. If you wish to continue doing international travel after 5 years, you will need to apply for a Resident Return Visa (subclass 155), and you must renew this visa every 5 years, thereafter. Our team of qualified Australian Migration Lawyers can assist you with any Citizenship or Resident Return applications to make it as straightforward as possible.

Although you are not obliged to become an Australian citizen, there are a number of benefits that come with Australian citizenship, including:

  • Consular services and support whilst overseas
  • Visa-free travel to over 100 countries on an Australian passport
  • Access to Australian government jobs
  • No issues relating to visa cancellations

Benefits of using Australian Migration Lawyers for your Partner visa

Data published by the Australian Government indicates that in just one year, more than 12,000 partner visas can be refused. At Australian Migration Lawyers, we provide valuable guidance and application support to make the entire process as seamless as possible. We high success rate for partner visa and other primary applications, and we do not shy away from complex cases.

At Australian Migration Lawyers, one of our key goals is to facilitate access to justice and we do this by representing those who entrust us with their Partner visa application.

  • Our team of qualified Australian lawyers draw on their knowledge of relevant legislation and case law in advising you on your Partner visa application and other migration options and strategies available to you
  • As lawyers, we have an obligation to ensure that your Partner visa application is compliant with all legislative requirements for the grant of a Partner visa, which naturally improves your chances of success
  • We assist you with preparing your application all the way through to the grant of your visa, including working with you to action any additional requests from the Department of Home Affairs

Subclass 820/801 Partner Visa Costs

There are two main costs associated with a subclass 820/801 Partner visa.

Professional fees payable to Australian Migration Lawyers to prepare your primary application

Our fees will vary depending on the circumstances of your application. Some applications will be more complex than others and our fees will be quoted accordingly. We work on a fixed-fee basis rather than billing hourly to provide our clients with certainty about what the total costs associated with their Partner visa application will be. We strive to be flexible, so we offer payment plans based on financial need.

Book a free consultation with one of our qualified lawyers to get a quote.

Department fees

The current fee for the Department of Home Affairs in relation to Partner visa applications is $8850 (cost payable at the time of lodgement). This fee must be paid upfront and the Department does not accept split payments. You can pay using debit/credit card, PayPal, UnionPay and BPAY.

Visa application process

Applying for a visa to Australia can be complex. With help from an Australian Migration Lawyer, we can untangle this complexity, and help you apply for the right visa.

1. Consultation and engagement

2. Preparation and support

3. Submission and communication

4. Representation and success

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Visa processing times

The processing times for subclass 820 Partner visas can take between three months and nine months. Processing times are subject to the complexity of your case, the completeness of your application and the caseload being processed by the Department. At Australian Migration Lawyers, our goal is to submit high-standard, comprehensive applications that are as complete as possible to help reduce delays and to seek a successful outcome.


Our legal team at Australian Migration Lawyers are skilled lawyers practising in Australian migration law.

As lawyers, we cannot issue guarantees that your Partner visa will be granted. The decision rests with the Department of Home Affairs, not any one representative, lawyer or migration agent. However, our sound understanding of the law means that we are able to put the best case forward to seek a successful outcome.

We strive to make ourselves as accessible as possible to you

  • Most initial consultations are free and recurring services will incur a fixed-fee that we will discuss with you
  • You can have a consultation with us from anywhere in Australia as our consultations are online
  • We can assist you regardless of where you are in the Partner visa process

Meet your Australian Migration Lawyer

We’re a diverse team of professionals with decades of experience. We care about your situation and will make sure you always get the support and advice you need.

Australia-wide services

We offer professional migration advice and support, no matter where you are based. Those located in Australia have the choice of meeting with us at one of our offices or online, and for those offshore, we are available to you online.

Frequently asked questions

Read our most commonly asked questions about the subclass 820/801 Partner visas

What happens if my relationship has ended before my Partner visa is granted?

If your relationship ends during the application period, you may still be eligible for the Partner visa (820/801) in the following circumstances:

  1. You have experienced domestic or family violence
  2. You have a child with your sponsor
  3. Your sponsor has passed away

If one or more of the above circumstances applies to you, please get in touch with one of our lawyers who will be able to advise you on your options.

Can I apply for the subclass 820/801 Partner visa if I have children?

Yes, if you have a dependent child (under 18 years of age), you can attach them to your permanent subclass 801 visa application. In the interim, your child must hold a Dependent Child visa, which allows your child to stay with you in Australia until you are ready to apply for your subclass 801 visa.

Please contact us to see how we can help ensure a smooth visa application process for your child.

What if my current visa expires before my subclass 820 is granted?

You will be granted an interim visa called a Bridging Visa A, which you will hold until your subclass 820 is granted. You can work, study and access Medicare on a Bridging Visa A. You are also eligible to apply for a Bridging Visa B, which allows you to travel in and out of Australia while your subclass 820 Partner visa is processing.

Once I have my subclass 820 Partner visa, do I have permanent residency?

No, the subclass 820 visa is a temporary visa. Once granted and the subsequent time has passed (usually two years), you will be eligible to apply for the subclass 801 Partner visa which, once granted, will make you an Australian permanent resident.

How long can you stay on the subclass 820 Partner visa?

The subclass 820 partner visa is a temporary visa that allows you to live and work in Australia until your subclass 801 Partner visa has been decided. Until then, you can legally remain in Australia as long as you continue to meet all visa conditions.

When can I access Medicare?

Subclass 820 holders are eligible to access Medicare in Australia, and 801 holders are eligible for full access. Upon receiving an 820/801 grant, please contact Medicare to confirm eligibility specific to your circumstances. Our team is also available to assist you with information.

Do Student visa holders who apply for a Partner visa have to continue to pay international student fees?

Yes, Student visa holders need to continue to pay fees and abide by the requirements of the Student visa conditions until that visa expires or the subclass 820 visa is granted, whichever comes first. If you have any questions, our experienced team can assist you.

About the content author

Perry Q Wood
Perry Q Wood
Partner - Principal Migration Lawyer

Perry Q Wood is National President of the Australian Institute of Administrative Law and one of Australia’s leading administrative and migration lawyers. To date, he has been involved in 1,000+ migration and refugee matters.

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