If you are in a relationship with an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, you may be eligible for a grant of a partner visa on the basis of their sponsorship.
Initially, a temporary visa (2 years) can be granted. This allows you to live, work and study in Australia until a decision are made about your permanent partner visa application. With the temporary visa, you are also eligible to enroll in Medicare.
After a period of two years, you can be granted a permanent visa if your relationship is still genuine and ongoing. The two year waiting period can be waived if the relationship with your partner has existed for at least five years or two years if you have any children.
You may be eligible for a partner visa if you and your partner:
- Are married
- Are engaged to be married
- Are in a de facto relationship
- Have registered your relationship with a relevant State/Territory authority
There are three pathways through which partners of Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents can obtain a visa for Australia.
The most suitable visa option will depend on your individual circumstances, including whether the person applying for the visa is inside or outside Australia at the time of application.
Partner Visa – Onshore (Subclass 820/801):
This visa is available to those who are married to, or in a de facto relationship with, an Australian Permanent Resident or Citizen, or eligible NZ Citizen. An applicant for this visa must be in Australia.
The initial stage, the subclass 820, requires that you have been in a de facto relationship with your partner for 12 months, be married, or have registered your relationship with a relevant State/Territory authority.
You could be granted an 820/801 visa if:
- If your partner is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or an eligible New Zealander.
- If you’re inside Australia at the time of application.
- You already hold another visa type, e.g. student visa, visitor visa or working holiday visa.
- You do not have an “8503 – NO FURTHER STAY” condition.
- You are married or can show that you have lived together for 12 months.
The 12-month cohabitation can be waived if the couple registers their relationship in the state they live in. Relationship registration is only available for people living in certain Australian states.
Two years from the date of application for the subclass 820 visa, the applicant is invited to submit evidence that the relationship is continuing, to allow DHA to process the permanent stage, the Subclass 801 visa.
An applicant is entitled to Medicare access, work rights, and study rights, upon grant of the temporary 820 visa.
Partner Visa – Offshore (Subclass 309/100):
This visa is available to those who are married to, or in a de facto relationship with, an Australian Permanent Resident or Citizen, or an eligible New Zealand Citizen. This pathway is for applicants who are outside of Australia.
An applicant must be outside of Australia when the temporary Subclass 309 visa is granted, after which they can enter Australia, and access Medicare, work rights and study rights.
In much the same way as the onshore process outlined above, the applicant will initially be granted a Subclass 309 visa, and will be given the opportunity to obtain the permanent visa, the Subclass 100, two years from the date the initial application was submitted.
Prospective Marriage Visa (Subclass 300):
This visa is available to those who are engaged to be married to an Australian Permanent Resident or Citizen, or an eligible New Zealand Citizen. This pathway is for applicants who are outside of Australia. Once granted, the subclass 309 visa allows the holder to enter Australia and marry their Australian partner within a nine-month period.
Prior to the end of this nine-month period, applicants can apply for an onshore Subclass 820/801 visa as outlined above.
This visa allows holders to access work and study rights.
The Embassies aim to process Prospective Marriage and Partner visa applications in under 12 months, in line with the Australian Government’s service standards. However, when faced with a higher number of applications, this timeframe could increase. Currently the processing timeframe is around 10-14 months. You should apply as early as possible before the time you intend to move to Australia.