Partner visas (or “spouse visas”) are available to spouses or de facto partners of eligible sponsors.
An eligible sponsor must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen.
The partner visa pathway can ultimately lead to the grant of permanent residency.
Partner visas include:
- The combined subclass 820 temporary visa and 801 permanent visa applications. The applicant must be in Australia at the time of submitting the applications.
- The applicant must be in Australia at the time the 820 is approved.
- The applicant may be in or outside Australia at the time the 801 is approved.
- The combined subclass 309 temporary visa and 100 permanent visa applications. The applicant must be outside Australia at the time of submitting the applications.
- The applicant must be outside Australia at the time the 309 is approved.
- The applicant may be in or outside Australia at the time the 100 is approved.
- The subclass 300 prospective marriage visa (or fiancé visa).
- The applicant must be outside Australia at the time of submitting the application.
- Once approved, the 300 holder has 9 months to marry their eligible sponsor, enter Australia and submit an application for a combined subclass 820 temporary visa and 801 permanent visa.
For combined subclasses 820/801 and 309/100 visas, the applicant must be able to show that they and their eligible sponsor are in a genuine, exclusive, committed and ongoing relationship, which must take one of the following forms:
- A legal marriage (this includes a legal same sex marriage); or
- A defacto relationship, which has been in existence for at least 12 months; or
- A legally recognised registered relationship.
Applications require substantial documentary evidence, including statements, evidencing the relationship.
For subclass 300, the applicant must demonstrate that they and their eligible sponsor:
- Have met in person since turning 18;
- Know one another personally; and
- Have arranged to marry within 9 months after the grant of the visa.
For all partner visa applications:
- All applicants will need to meet health requirements;
- Applicants (partners) and their eligible sponsors cannot be in prohibited degree of relationship; and
- Applicants and their eligible sponsors will need to meet character requirements.
For combined visa subclasses 820/801 and 309/100 the application process is usually in 2 stages. The partner is initially granted the temporary visa (an 820 or 309). Two years after the date the combined applications were lodged, the Immigration Department will commence assessing the permanent visa application (the 100 or 801). The permanent visa will be granted if the Immigration Department is satisfied that the partner remains in a genuine relationship with their eligible sponsor.
It is possible for some partners to obtain permanent residency immediately after the grant of the temporary visa, where, at the time of lodging the combined applications, the couple can prove they have been in an eligible relationship:
- for at least 3 years; or
- for at least 2 years and they have a child or children together.
Those who hold a subclass 309 visa or have applied for the 820/801 may also be able to secure permanent residency where the relationship has broken down due to domestic violence, or the eligible sponsor is deceased.
Below is a table that summarises the possible partner visa pathways:
Possible Partner visa pathways depending on sponsor and relationship status
|Sponsor Is||Relationship Type||Visa Options||Location at time of Application||Location at time of Temporary Visa Approval||Location at time of Permanent Visa Approval|
Australian Permanent Resident
Eligible New Zealand Citizen
De facto relationship for at least 12 months
Legally registered relationship
|Intention to marry (and does not meet other relationship type)||300||Offshore||Offshore||N/A
Must apply onshore for combined 820/801 visas
The New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship subclass 461 visa
This pathway does not lead to Australian permanent residency, but could result in the grant of a temporary visa for 5 years with unrestricted work rights.
The visa is available to persons who are not New Zealand citizens and who are in a relationship with a New Zealand citizen, and that relationship takes one of the following forms:
- a legal marriage (this includes a legal same sex marriage); or
- a defacto relationship, which has been in existence for at least 12 months; or
- a legally recognised registered relationship.
In addition, the applicant must be sponsored by their New Zealand citizen partner who in turn must:
- be eligible for a Special Category subclass 444 visa; and
- not be an eligible New Zealand Citizen (if they are, then the applicant could apply for one of the 300, 309/100 or 820/801 visas addressed above).
Applications will require various supporting documents concerning the relationship, including witness statements.
Health and character requirements will also need to be met.
How we can help
Our professional services include:
- Assessing any risk factors
- Determining the appropriate application strategy
- Advising on criteria to be met for the grant of the visa
- Assisting with the identification and collection of documents evidencing the relationship
- Drafting the statements in support
- Preparing and submitting the visa and sponsorship applications
- Communicating with the applicant and eligible sponsor until a decision is made by the Immigration Department
To discuss how we can assist you with advice, as well as in preparing and lodging your partner visa application, please click here to contact Visa Lawyers Australia
Examples of cases we have worked on include:
- Applicants unlawfully resident in Australia
- Couples separated physically due to commitments in their respective locations
- Applicants and/or eligible sponsors with criminal records
- Applicants with health problems
- Applicants who have been in a relationship with their Australian partner for a very short period of time
- Determining strategies on how applicants might be able to lodge their applications in Australia
- Applicants and sponsors who have substantial age differences
- Relationships that include at least one person who has previously been married or in a de facto relationship, or has a child to previous partners
- Same-sex couples who have been unable to live together overseas for cultural reasons
- Cases involving custody of children and difficulties experienced by including the children in the application
- Relationship break down due to domestic violence or other exceptional reasons
- Requesting priority processing in exceptional circumstances
- Allegations by the Immigration Department that the relationship is not genuine
- Where the Australian partner has previously sponsored an overseas partner
- Where the applicant was previously in a relationship with another Australian, and the Immigration Department refused a previous partner visa application or cancelled the applicant’s previous partner visa
- Sponsors who face a legal bar on sponsoring partners
- Couples in arranged marriages