Subclasses 309 & 100:
Offshore Partner Visa

Australian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor their spouse or de facto partner for permanent residency through a two-step process which consists of a Subclass (Provisional) 309 visa for which the application is lodged outside Australia, followed by a Subclass 100 (Permanent) visa.



Satisfying the evidentiary threshold in proving genuineness of a relationship is not low. Therefore, simply marrying or registering a de facto relationship does not guarantee the partner visa is issued. Relationships that only exist online without in-person interaction would heavily be scrutinized.



It should be noted that the visa applicant may qualify for direct permanent residency if he or she has a child, or have been in a married or de facto relationship for at least 3 years, with the sponsoring partner.



The comparative advantages of the offshore applications to the onshore include the marginally faster processing time. Moreover, the pending applications may increase chances of obtaining a Subclass 600 Visitor visa for an increased duration.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, the visa applicant must:
  • Be a spouse or de facto partner of an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen; and

  • His or her partner is not prohibited from sponsoring for partner visas; and
  • His or her application for sponsorship is not refused by the Department.

Eligible NZ Citizen

The term, eligible New Zealand citizen, means a New Zealand citizen who is a holder of a Subclass 444 Special Category Visa whose social security payment was protected.

Acceptable Forms of Relationships

  • Legal marriage registered and recognised by the Government in a country in which the couple is residing (cultural marriages are not generally accepted);
  • Registered de facto relationship (registered in Australia or a recognized jurisdiction);
  • Unregistered de facto relationship that commenced at least 12 months prior to the Subclass 309 visa application being submitted to the Department.
  • Requisite Documents

    Whilst the legal status of the relationship is important, a considerable volume of evidence should must be submitted to establish that the relationship is genuine and continuing. Relevant factors include: ​
  • Social aspects in how the couple appears to their friends, family and the world at large;
  • Financial aspects in which the finances are maintained jointly;
  • Household aspects which often include fair assumption of domestic chores;
  • Mutual commitment to maintaining a joint life to one another.
  • If either has previously been married or in a de facto relationship, they need to prove cessation of the prior relationship. For this end, a divorce certificate or a sworn statement should be submitted. Additional concessions are made for Filipino applicants as divorce is not allowed.

    Prohibited Sponsors

    Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens are not allowed to sponsor their partners on these visa subclasses if they have:
  • Sponsored two people previously;
  • Sponsored a person within the last 5 years, where the period is calculated between the dates on which the 2 visa applications were submitted;
  • Been sponsored for a partner visa themselves within the last 5 years – the period is calculated between the dates on which the 2 visa applications are lodged;
  • Where the sponsor has been sponsored for a contributory parent visa within the last 5 years – the period is calculated between the dates on which the 2 visa applications were lodged.
  • Exemptions may nevertheless apply on compelling and compassionate grounds, though they are not readily exercised. The common grounds include where:
  • The applicant and sponsor have a dependent child together;
  • A previous partner has died;
  • A previous partner has abandoned the sponsor with a dependent child;
  • The new relationship is long-lasting.
  • Sponsorship Refusal

    The sponsorship application is likely refused in cases where the sponsoring partner has a significant criminal history in relation to specified types of offences. Mandatory refusals apply to perpetrators of child sex offences.

    Relevant Public Interest Criteria:

    4001, 4002, 4003, 4004, 4007, 4009, 4020, 4021, 4019 (if applicable), 4017 and 4018 (if applicable).

    Visa Conditions

    Primary visa holders may be subject to the following condition:

    8502: The holder of the visa must not enter Australia before the entry to Australia of a person specified in the Australia visa.

    Secondary visa holders may be subject to the following conditions:

    8502: The holder of the visa must not enter Australia before the entry to Australia of a person specified in the visa.

    8515: The holder of the visa must not marry or enter into a de facto relationship before entering Australia.

    Application Fee

    Both Subclasses 309 and 100 are applied for simultaneously. The below charges are payable upon lodging a Subclass 309 visa application.
  • Base application charge: $7,715
  • Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is at least 18: $3,860
  • Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is less than 18: $1,935
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