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Partner Visas (Onshore and Offshore)

May 27, 2024
By MaxiMax

Considering a move to Australia with your partner? The Partner Visa program offers four visa subclasses to suit your situation. Whether you're married or in a de facto relationship, these visas allow you to live, work, and even study in Australia. There are two key options:

  • Applying from overseas: Two subclasses cater to couples applying for entry from outside Australia.
  • Applying onshore: The other two subclasses are for couples already in Australia.

In both cases, the application process involves obtaining both a temporary and permanent visa simultaneously. Keep reading to learn more about Australian Partner Visas and find the right path for you.

Different Types of Partner Visas

1. Onshore Partner Visa in Australia

a. Partner Visa Subclass 820

Taking the first step towards permanent residency in Australia? The Partner Visa (subclass 820) allows the spouse or de facto partner of an eligible Australian resident or citizen to live there temporarily. This visa acts as a bridge, granting you residency while your permanent Partner Visa (subclass 801) application is being processed. It's valid until your permanent visa is approved, giving you a smooth transition to building a life together in Australia.

With the subclass 820 partner visa, you can:

  • Temporarily live, study, and work in Australia while the Department of Home Affairs processes your subclass 801 visa
  • Travel to and from Australia multiple times for as long as the visa remains valid
  • Qualify for free attendance at English classes offered by the Adult Migrant English Program
  • Apply for access to Medicare, Australia's public healthcare program

b. Partner Visa Subclass 801

The Partner Visa (subclass 801) grants permanent residency, allowing you to live, work, and study in Australia indefinitely. This is the natural progression after holding the temporary Partner Visa (subclass 820).

Here's what sets the 801 apart:

  • Permanent Status: Unlike the temporary 820, the 801 visa allows you to call Australia home permanently.
  • Enhanced Privileges: You gain the ability to sponsor immediate family for visits, apply for Australian citizenship (if eligible), and enjoy unrestricted travel for five years after receiving the visa. After five years, a Resident Return Visa ensures your residency upon returning from trips abroad.

2. Offshore Partner Visa in Australia

The Partner Visa program offers two subclasses specifically designed for couples applying from overseas. These mirror the onshore subclasses we discussed earlier, granting you similar rights to live, work, and study in Australia.

Here's the key difference:

  • Partner Visa (subclass 309): This temporary visa allows you to reside in Australia while your application for permanent residency progresses.
  • Partner Visa (subclass 100): This permanent visa grants you immediate and ongoing rights to live, work, and study in Australia.

Think of the subclass 309 visa as a stepping stone to the permanent subclass 100 visa.

Basic Requirements to Obtain a Partner Visa in Australia

Whichever subclass you apply for, there are certain criteria that must be met. The specific requirements will depend on the visa subclass. First, we will provide a general partner visa Australia checklist of requirements before moving on to the particular criteria. To be eligible for a partner visa in Australia, you need to:

  • Be in a de facto relationship or married to an individual who is an Australian permanent resident or citizen. Your partner could be of the same sex or different sex.
  • Be at least 18 years old as per Australian marriage laws.
  • Fulfill the health requirement set by the Department of Home Affairs which may involve undergoing medical examinations.
  • Meet the character requirement outlined by immigration authorities including passing the Australian character test.
  • Have no outstanding debts owed to the government of Australia

More on the Requirements for Married Applicants

If your marriage is recognized as valid under Australian law and satisfies the following conditions, you will be classified as a married applicant:

  • You must cohabit or not live permanently apart.
  • There should be no familial relationship between you and your partner.
  • Your relationship is genuine and continuing.
  • You must both be committed to exclusively sharing your lives with each other.

More on the De Facto Partner Requirements

You can still qualify for a Partner Visa if you meet the four criteria for de facto relationships. This essentially means you've been in a committed, exclusive partnership for at least one year before applying. Simply dating online won't suffice.

However, there's a chance the one-year rule can be waived. If you have strong, compelling reasons for needing the visa urgently, you can present them to immigration authorities for consideration.

Requirements for Partner Visa Subclass 820 and Subclass 309

To obtain the permanent versions of the partner visa 820 and subclass 309 visa, specific requirements must be met. These include having a sponsor, avoiding previous visa rejections or cancellations, and meeting the necessary relationship criteria. Additionally, your sponsor for a partner visa subclass 820 or 309 cannot change within two years of obtaining the visa.

Specific Requirement for Partner Visa Subclass 820

At time of making the subclass 820/801 visa application, the applicant must hold a substantive visa or must have a compelling and compassionate reason for not holding a substantive visa. If the applicant is holding a subclass 491/494, the applicant must have held such visa at least 3 years from the date of making a subclass 820/801 partner visa application

Requirements for Partner Visa Subclass 801 and 100

To be eligible for one of these visa categories, you need to

  • Hold a subclass 820/309 visa or a Dependent Child visa (subclass 445). Two years must have elapsed since you lodged an application onshore or offshore for the combined temporary and permanent partner visa in order to be assessed for the permanent one.
  • Continue to satisfy the previously mentioned relationship criteria. However, you may still qualify for one of these visas even if your relationship has broken down.

Partner Visa Processing Times

The Department of Home Affairs assesses each visa application individually, considering the specific details and circumstances of your relationship. While the table below provides a general guide for processing times, it's best to refer to the official Department of Home Affairs website for the most current information.

It's important to remember that for permanent partner visas (subclasses 801 and 100), the processing timeframe typically begins two years after applying for the combined visa, when you become eligible.

Visa Subclass Processing Time
Partner Visa (Temporary) (Subclass 820)
  • 25% of visa applications: 6 Months
  • 50% of visa applications: 9 Months
  • 75% of visa applications: 21 Months
  • 90% of visa applications: 33 Months
Partner Visa (Permanent) (Subclass 801)
  • 25% of visa applications: 3 Months
  • 50% of visa applications: 5 Months
  • 75% of visa applications: 12 Months
  • 90% of visa applications: 21 Months
Partner (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 309)
  • 25% of visa applications: 5 Months
  • 50% of visa applications: 9 Months
  • 75% of visa applications: 20 Months
  • 90% of visa applications: 32 Months
Partner (Migrant) Visa (Subclass 100)
  • 25% of visa applications: under 5 Months
  • 50% of visa applications: 9 Months
  • 75% of visa applications: 18 Months
  • 90% of visa applications: 29 Months

Partner Visa Cost

The costs for the temporary and permanent partner visa subclasses include an extra fee for each relative applying with you. You may also be required to pay for health checks, biometrics, and police certificates.

Visa Stream Type Cost
Partner Visa (Temporary) (Subclass 820) $8,850
Partner Visa (Permanent) (Subclass 801)
Partner (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 309) $8,850
Partner (Migrant) Visa (Subclass 100)

Frequently Asked Questions

It may be canceled for various reasons, such as supplying incorrect information in your visa application.

Yes, it permits residing, studying, and working in Australia permanently.

You are allowed to travel back and forth between your home country and Australia multiple times using a temporary partner visa. The permanent version of the visa grants you a five-year international travel privilege. After this period, a Resident Return visa is necessary for re-entering Australia as a permanent resident.

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Email: melbourne@maximax.com.au
Address: Level 1, 2 Queen Street Melbourne, VIC 3000

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