Partner Visa

Australian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor their foreign partners for a permanent visa. This is usually a two (2) step process, consisting of a provisional visa, followed by a permanent visa, which may be granted no sooner than two (2) years from the date of the initial partner visa application.

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The precise subclass of visa will depend on the location of the visa applicant when said application is lodged.

  • Onshore Partner Visa (within Australia)
    Subclass 820 / 801
  • Offshore Partner Visa (Outside Australia)
    Subclass 309 / 100


Direct Permanent Residency

In exceptional cases, a provisional visa may be bypassed and permanent residency may be granted directly if the relationship has produced a child, or has been ongoing for at least 3 years. Nevertheless, this is highly discretionary on the part of the Department of Home Affairs.

Proving the genuineness of a relationship for the purpose of an Australian Partner Visa requires a great volume of quality evidence, which is certainly not an easy exercise. Merely marrying or registering a de facto relationship will never be enough to satisfy the criteria enforced by the Department of Home Affairs for the visa grant.


Prospective Marriage Visa

Some applicants may consider a Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visa on the basis of their genuine intention to marry their fiancé or fiancée. Such applicants must apply from outside Australia. Upon grant, Subclass 300 Visa holders must enter Australia, marry their partner sponsor within nine (9) months of entry and proceed with an onshore Subclass 820 Visa application. For more information on Prospective Marriage Visas, see our Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visa page.


No Family Relation

For the purpose of a partner visa, you cannot be related to your sponsor by blood. The rule of thumb is that you cannot marry an individual with whom you share a parent, whether biological or adoptive, or to whom you are linearly descended and vice versa.


Onshore Partner 820 Visa

820 Visa can be applied for whilst in Australia and a Bridging Visa will be issued upon its lodgement. If you hold a substantive visa at the time of your application, a Bridging Visa A will be issued, allowing you to switch to a Bridging Visa B to facilitate offshore travel. However, if you did not have a substantive visa at the time of application, a Bridging Visa C will alternatively be issued, where overseas travel is strictly limited.


Offshore Partner 309 Visa

309 Visa can be applied for whilst the applicant is overseas, meaning they are outside Australia. Whilst this application is being decided, the applicant may apply for a visitor visa on the ground of the pending 309 visa application and travel to Australia for purposes such as meeting your partner who is residing in Australia.


Partner Visa Fees

Unlike other visas, both Provisional and Permanent Visas are applied simultaneously under the Partner Visa Program. The below charges are payable upon lodging a Provisional Visa application.


  • Plus $4,430 per additional applicant who is at least 18 years old.
  • Plus $2,215 per additional applicant who is younger than 18 years old.


Partner Visa Guide

Q: Can I sponsor someone that I met and am dating online?

Parties are strictly required to have met their partner in person before applying for a partner visa, whether the 820 Visa or 309 Visa. There are no exceptions to this rule. In all circumstances, parties are expected to have met in person prior to lodging their visa application.

This meeting must have occurred when both people were at least 18 years of age. The same rule applies when parties are married by proxy or looking to undertake an arranged marriage. There are, again, no exceptions to this requirement.

Our advice is that, if you have never met in person, you should consider temporary visa options to facilitate your first meeting. As at the time of writing, there is no way to facilitate a partner visa without first having been in the physical presence of your partner.


Q: Does a Bridging Visa for the pending 820 Visa application give full working rights?

It depends on whether you held a substantive visa at the time of application. If the answer is yes, you will likely be issued a Bridging Visa A, on which you can work without restrictions. If not, you are not allowed to work unless an exemption is granted to your Bridging Visa C by the Department of Home Affairs.

Note that if you still hold a visa, your Bridging Visa A will be inactive until your current visa expires.


Q: How long does it take for a Partner Visa to be issued?

Provisional partner visas may take up to 28 months for Subclass 820 and 22 months for Subclass 309. For up-to-date information, please refer to the Department’s website.


Q: I am still married in the Philippines. Can I apply for a Partner Visa with my new Australian partner?

Under the Australian migration law, additional concessions exist for Filipino applicants as divorce is not permissible under the laws of the Philippines, and annulments are extremely limited in availability.

You will need to speak to our lawyers at Visa Plan to access the concession as this field is highly complex.


Q: I currently do not have a visa. Can I apply for an 820 Visa?

Bridging visa holders and unlawful residents may apply for a partner visa, but only under extremely limited circumstances. Generally speaking, such applications can only succeed where compassionate and compelling grounds exist for the grant.

If you are unlawful or on a bridging visa, it is strongly advised that you seek professional assistance before proceeding with an expensive onshore 820 partner visa application.


Q: I have previously been refused for a different visa. Can I apply for an 820 Visa?

If you have had a visa refused or cancelled whilst in Australia, you will be subject to a statutory bar, known as a “Section 48 Bar”, preventing lodgement of most other visa applications. Nevertheless, a partner visa is one of the few visas that can be validly applied for despite this bar.

Such an application can usually only succeed where compelling and compassionate circumstances exist. If you have had a visa refused or cancelled in Australia, we strongly recommend that you speak to a lawyer before parting from your Australian partner.


Q: I became a victim of domestic violence when holding a Partner Visa. What can I do now?

If you or your child have been subject to family violence by your Australian partner, you do not need to remain with the perpetrator to gain permanent residency. Get out of the damaging relationship and speak to our lawyers now to secure your partner visa.


Q: Does Australia recognize first cousin marriages?

The Australian marriage law prohibits marriage of a direct descendant to a direct ancestor, or between siblings. As such, marriages between mere cousins are acceptable for the purposes of a partner visa application.

However, it is crucial that both parties provide real consent to the marriage. Applications concerning marriages that have resulted from coercion will be refused.


Q: What is a family unit for a partner visa?

A person is your “family unit” if the person is:

  • Your spouse or de facto partner;
  • Your dependent child or step-child;
  • Dependent child or step-child of your spouse or de facto partner; or

The important consideration in determining whether a child is dependent on you is whether he or she:

  • Has not turned 18 years of age;
  • Is still financially dependent on you after 18 years but before 23 years of age; or
  • Is still dependent on you in broader aspects of life due to his or her mental or physical incapacitation, if after 23 years of age.


Q: Can I add my child after subclass 820 or 309 visas are granted?

Holders of subclass 820 or 309 partner visas, pending their permanent visas, may not have included their children in their application for various reasons. Regardless of the reasons, once you are granted the provisional 820 or 309 visa, you may still have your partner to sponsor your child on a Subclass 445 Dependent Child visa which must be applied prior to the permanent Subclass 801 or 100 visa being granted.


Q: Can I apply for a partner visa when I am not married to the Sponsor?

Yes, you can. Partner visas apply to married and de facto relationships. Depending the nature of your relationship, you will have to produce different documents as evidence, but if you can prove that your relationship is genuine, that you live together, have joint finances and attend social activities together, you may successfully apply for a partner visa.


Q: Would I or my partner have an interview with the Department of Immigration?

You may be scheduled to have an interview with a delegate of the Department, but only if there is a suspicion that your relationship is not genuine. These interviews are much less common these days. If you have a robust application, it is very unlikely that you will have to attend an interview.


Q: I am unlawful in Australia and I have an Australian partner. Can I apply for a partner visa?

If you are in this situation, we strongly recommend that you speak to our specialized lawyers immediately.


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