Subclasses 820 & 801: Onshore Partner Visas
Australian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor their spouse or de facto partner for permanent residency. This is a two-step process consisting of a provisional Subclass 820 visa for which the application is lodged within Australia, followed by a permanent Subclass 801 visa.
Proving genuineness of a relationship requires a great deal of evidence. Simply marrying or registering a de facto relationship will not be enough to satisfy the Department for the visa grant. It is difficult to prove genuineness if the visa applicant and sponsor have not met in person, and thus relationships which have only ever existed online would unlikely be sufficient for any partner visa subclass.
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 basic eligibility criteria to the visa applicant for the grant include:
- Being a spouse or de facto partner of an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen; and
- The partner is not prohibited from sponsoring for partner visas; and
- The partner’s application for sponsorship is not refused by the Department.
An application may be accepted and the visa may be granted in limited circumstances where the relationship breaks down.
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 either a foreign or Australian Government (cultural marriages are not generally accepted);
- Registered de facto relationship (registered in an Australian State or Territory or in a recognised jurisdiction);
Unregistered de facto relationship that commenced at least 12 months prior to the application being lodged.
Whilst the legal status of the relationship is important, a considerable volume of evidence 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 reasonable division 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 demonstrate that the previous relationship had ended. This may be proven via a divorce certificate or a sworn statement. Additional concessions are made for Filipino applicants as divorce is not permissible.
Not all Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens are permitted to sponsor their partners on these visa subclasses. Some common disqualifications include:
- Having successfully sponsored two people previously;
- Having sponsored a person within the last 5 years – the period is calculated between the dates on which the 2 visa applications were lodged;
- Having been sponsored for a partner visa within the last 5 years – the period is calculated between the dates on which the 2 visa applications were 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.
Nevertheless, the above disqualifications can be waived if compelling and compassionate circumstances exist in relation to the sponsor. Such waivers are not invoked lightly. Common grounds for waiver include:
- Where the applicant and sponsor have a dependent child together;
- Where a previous partner has died;
- Where a previous partner has abandoned the sponsor with a dependent child;
- Where the new relationship is long-standing.
The Department may decline the sponsorship application 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).
There are no conditions associated with this subclass.
Both Subclasses 820 and 801 are applied for simultaneously. The below charges are payable upon lodging a Subclass 820 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
In certain circumstances, applicants may be eligible for concessional fees. For example, Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage visa holders are not required to pay the full application charge for their Subclass 820/ 801 applications.