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Partner Visas

Ultimate Guide to Australian Partner Visas

When you are in love with someone who has Australian residency, you can apply for a visa to live in the country based on your relationship. This is an Australian Partner Visa and there are three different types. The one you apply for depends on whether you are still overseas or already living in Australia.

So if you are in love with an Australian resident and want to join them or stay with them in Australia, you have three choices based on your circumstances. The different partner visas are:

  1. Prospective Marriage Visa Subclass 300 when applying from outside Australia. The subclass 300 visa is suitable when you are engaged to an Australian citizen, they have permanent residence or an eligible New Zealand citizen and you are living outside of Australia.
  2. Partner Visa Subclass 820/801 for applicants who are in Australia at the time of lodgement. Apply for the subclass 820/801 partner visa when you are already living in Australia. You must hold a valid substantive visa and either be in a married or a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen, permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen. There are also ways to apply for this visa if you have a bridging visa.
  3. Partner Visa Subclass 309/100 for applicants who are not in Australia at the time of lodgement. The subclass 309/100 visas are the same as the same as the subclass 820/801 visas except you have to be living outside of Australia at the time of applying. The difference between the two is:
    1. Subclass 309 Visa. The subclass 309 visa is only valid for a limited time from the time of approval. But you may be eligible for a subclass 100 visa if you are still in a relationship with your sponsor two years after receiving the subclass 309.
    2. Subclass 100 Visa. The subclass 100 visa is a permanent visa that allows you to live and work in Australia permanently. This allows you to enrol in Australia’s public healthcare scheme, apply for social security benefits if you meet the criteria, sponsor your family from abroad and apply for Australian citizenship if eligible.

Are you ready to apply for a partner visa? Do you need assistance? Contact us now and we will help you apply for the most suitable visa that meets your situation.

Partner Visa Requirements

When applying for a partner visa you must have a sponsor. They must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen willing to sponsor you. Sponsors need to meet the minimum requirements to become an approved sponsor. Only after the government approves them as a sponsor can you lodge your partner visa application.

Minimum requirements for visa applicants

To apply for a partner visa:

  • You must both be at least 18 plus or have court order if under 18 years of age. Also you cannot be closely related.
  • You both must be in a mutually exclusive relationship.
  • It must be a genuine relationship that is ongoing.
  • You must be living together or only living apart temporarily.
  • You must be in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen for a minimum of 12 months before lodging your application. The 12-month requirement may not apply if you can show there are compelling or compassionate circumstances that exist to grant the subclass 820 visa.
  • You must be legally married to an Australian citizen, permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen.

Apart from meeting partner visa sponsorship requirements, you must also meet our character requirements and health requirements.

Minimum requirements for a sponsor

To be eligible to sponsor your partner in Australia, you must:

  • Be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen.
  • Be an approved sponsor, not subject to any limitation and be able to provide financial support and accommodation.
  • Not have previously sponsored more than one other fiancé/fiancée, partner or spouse or been a sponsor within the last 5 years unless there are exceptional circumstances.
  • Not have been sponsored for a spouse, partner or prospective marriage visa within the last 5 years unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Contact us for more information about your eligibility to sponsor your partner.

How long does the Partner Visa application process take?

The average time it takes for partner visa approval is around two years as long as your application is accurate and fully completed.

Assessing you relationship for a Partner Visa

When assessing you partner visa application, the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) takes the following four areas of your relationship into account:

  1. How you deal with the finances in your relationship.
  2. How you run your household.
  3. The social side of your relationship.
  4. How committed to the relationship you are, in other words the nature of your commitment.

The DOHA assesses these areas to determine if your relationship is ongoing and genuine, and that you are living together (or temporarily separated) and are committed to sharing a life together with the exclusion of any other partners.

Once you receive your 820 Visa

Receiving your 820 visa means you have reached stage one of the process. This is only a temporary visa and you must continue to collect evidence of your ongoing commitment to the relationship.

Do I have to be married to be eligible for a permanent Partner Visa?

You must either be married or in a de facto relationship and meet the relationship requirements for a permanent partner visa.

Married applicants

If you are married, it must be legal under Australian law. Where you were married in another country and it is valid there, generally it is recognised as valid under Australian law. Please note, polygamous marriages are not recognised as legal in Australia.

You must hold a valid visa and the time of lodging your partner visa application and:

  • You must both be committed to sharing your lives together to the exclusion of all others.
  • Your relationship must be genuine and ongoing.
  • You must live together or if living apart it must be temporary.

De facto applicants

You must be in a de facto relationship for the entire 12 months and living together for at least 12 months immediately prior to applying. This also applies to same sex couples.

The visa applicant must hold a valid visa at the time of lodging a partner application. You are in a de facto relationship if all of the following apply:

  • You are not married to each other.
  • You are committed to being together to the exclusion of all others.
  • Your relationship is ongoing and genuine.
  • You must live together or if living apart it must be temporary.
  • You must not be related to your partner by family.

How to deal with Statutory Declarations

The statutory declaration form must be completed by witnesses who can confirm your relationship with your sponsor.

The statements from you and your sponsor must be written in the first person and must include how you met and how the relationship developed. It must be comprehensive to cover many points such as:

  • Future plans
  • Financial commitment
  • What you know about each other
  • Your mutual commitment to sharing a future with the exclusion of all others.

It is advisable to provide evidence to back up your statements.

Applying for a Partner Visa Online

When applying for a partner visa online, it is a good idea to have all the information about you, your sponsor, family members, etc, ready and on hand as you apply. The application requires a lot of information and having it handy will make it easier to complete the application.

How much does a Partner Visa Cost?

Currently it costs $AU7,745 but it can increase at anytime without notice from the DOHA. This fee is payable at the time of making the application and is for both stages of the application process — the temporary and permanent visa application stages. This amount is non-refundable if, for any reason, your application is refused at any stage.

How to lodge your Partner Visa Application

All applications must be lodged online through the DOHA website. It is important that you get the assistance of a migration advisor as there is so much information required. This will ensure you submit a decision-ready application and assist in receiving a successful outcome.

If for any reason you need to withdraw your application, you can do this online.

Partner Visa Checklists

It is advisable to create a subclass 820 checklist or subclass 309 checklist before submitting your application to ensure you have all the information you need.

There are many areas that can be simplified such as evidence of:

  • A genuine relationship
  • Residential address
  • Financial commitments
  • And more.

It is important that all information submitted by both parties is true and accurate as the DOHA will check. If they find that anything is not true or accurate, your application may be refused or they will investigate further.

Common Questions Answered

Is there an age limit when applying for a Partner Visa?

You must be the right age which is 18 plus or have a court order if under 18 years of age. But there is no other age limit.

What do I do if my relationship breaks down?

If you break up with your partner then you are both under obligation to notify the DOHA your change in circumstances in writing.

What if I have a criminal record?

You must declare your criminal record to DOHA as part of your application. Direct Migration Experts specialise in addressing these types of applications, so contact us for help.

What happens if we get divorced?

When you hold a stage two permanent visa this is not a problem. But what caused your relationship to break down will determine whether your visa is cancelled or not.

If you get divorced during stage one of your visa, which is the two-year temporary visa, you must still be married to apply for the permanent visa. But every situation is unique and the are different circumstances that could involve children, for example, so it is essential to seek professional advice about your options moving forward.

Do I need to take an English test to apply for a Partner Visa?

No, at the present time there is no requirement for an English test when applying for a partner visa. However, Australian immigration policy often changes without notice so make sure you check with us before you apply.

If I have known my partner for less than 12 months am I eligible for a Partner Visa?

Generally, no. But there are exceptions including where you live, cultural, religious and logistical reasons that may still allow you to apply for the partner visa. This depends on individual circumstances and will vary on a case-by-case basis, so it is important to talk to one of our immigration specialists at Direct Migration Experts.

What does the term ‘nature of commitment’ mean?

Nature of commitment refers to you and your sponsor’s ability to demonstrate your intention of sharing your lives together over the long term to the exclusion of others. You must be able to provide evidence of this.

What is the average processing time for a Partner Visa in 2020 – 2021?

The following are the current average processing times for partner visa applications:

  • Subclass 820. For the temporary subclass 820 partner visa about 75% of applications take 17 months and 90% of all applications take 23 months.
  • Subclass 801. For the subclass permanent 801 partner visa about 75% of applications take 11 months and 90% of all applications take 19 months.

The processing time varies depending on the individual circumstances of the applicant and sponsor as well as the quality of the application submitted to the DOHA. Applications submitted with all the information required are often processed much faster.

To have your visa application processed quickly, the experienced registered migration specialists at Direct Migration Experts can help you.

Changes to support Family Visa Applicants

Currently there is a temporary concession to allow applicants to remain in Australia while progressing their visa for the following family visa subclasses:

  • Partner (subclass 309) visa
  • Prospective marriage (subclass 300) visa
  • Child (subclass 101) visa
  • Adoption (subclass 102) visa
  • Dependent child (subclass 445) visa.

Migration Program Planning Levels

The Australian Government constantly adjusts its immigration policies to increase or decrease migration levels for different visa categories. This is what is known as migration planning levels.

The current migration program planning levels support the government’s immigration announcement as part of the 2020 Federal Budget. The current partner visa planning levels is just above 70,000 and they are processing these quickly to clear the backlog of applications.

Next Steps to Take

Incomplete applications, and applications that are missing the relevant facts or documents can lead to your application being refused. If this occurs, it will cost you your time and money spent applying.

Direct Migration Experts can simplify the process from start to finish. So contact us to discover how we can help you successfully apply for your partner visa.

With so many changes to the requirements, we are here to help you succeed. Contact us for advice via Skype, Zoom or by phone. Call 1300 015 592 or book online today to speak with a specialist at Direct Migration Experts.

Over 32 years of experience we’ll ensure you get the best guidance.