Need help? We are available to speak to you 7 days a weekRead More

Australian Migration Agents are fully registered: MARN 2318221

0800 010 010
Open 7 days
1300 618 548

How long does an Australian partner visa take to process?

Sharing Li
Sharing Li
Australian Migration Agent
May 20, 2024
minute read

What affects Partner visa processing times?

An Australian partner visa can facilitate the reunification of loved ones across borders to continue their lives together in Australia. A Partner visa provides stability for applicants and their partner and offers a range of benefits including a pathway to Australian permanent residency and Australian citizenship. However, an Australian Partner visa application can be time-consuming and it can be unclear on how long Australia’s immigration processes will take.

This blog post will provide applicants with guidance to the processing times for Australian Partner visas, so that applicants are aware of how the process works, what applicants can do to minimise any potential delays and have confidence when making their application. 

If applicants require help or need advice during any stage of the application process, contact an Australian Migration Agent who has experience and knowledge in helping couples wishing to continue their relationship in Australia.

What is a Partner visa?

A partner visa allows Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand Citizens to sponsor their partner’s visa application in order to facilitate their relocation to Australia. A Partner visa occurs through a two-step process, where an initial temporary visa is granted and followed by a period for reassessment before a permanent Partner visa is granted. The visa which is applied for will depend on whether applicants are onshore or offshore. If an applicant is onshore, the relevant visa type is a subclass 820 (temporary) and subclass 801 (permanent) visa. If an applicant is offshore, the relevant visa type is a subclass 309 (provisional) and subclass 100 (permanent) visa. If the applicant is seeking a prospective marriage visa, the relevant visa type is a subclass 300 visa. Applicants should note that each of these subclasses have different requirements and processes, meaning that applicants should consider what visa type is appropriate for their own circumstances. An Australian Migration Agent can assist applicants in picking the appropriate pathway for applicants seeking a Partner visa.

Partner visa eligibility

Primarily, to be eligible to apply for an Australian Partner visa, applicants should be sponsored by their partner. The sponsor must be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen. Additionally, the applicant and sponsor must be in a particular form of relationship in order to be eligible. The partner and applicant must be either ‘spouses’, referring to being officially married, or de facto partners, referring to having lived together for a period of at least 12 months or not living apart on a permanent basis. Furthermore, the relationship between the applicant and the sponsor must have a genuine and continuing relationship where both parties are mutually committed to a shared life excluding other partners. Some exceptions to this primary requirement do apply, such as where a prospective marriage visa is relevant, however these are only available in specific circumstances.

Furthermore, other requirements will also apply including being over the age of 18 (limited exceptions do exist), meeting the health and character requirements, not having any debt to the Australian government, signing the Australian values statement and various requirements depending on whether the applicant is onshore or offshore. 

Where Partner visa applicants are migrating with dependent children, these dependent children can be attached to a Partner visa’s application. Dependent children will usually be granted Dependent Child visas (subclass 445) while their parent’s permanent visa application is being processed. When the primary applicant has been granted permanent residency, they are able to sponsor their dependent children independently.

For assistance in assessing an applicant’s eligibility, contact an Australian Migration Agent who can consider an applicant’s circumstances and provide relevant information and advice.


What is the process for applying for a Partner visa?

The process for applying for a Partner visa occurs over multiple stages. The first stage refers to a temporary partner visa (subclass 820) or a provisional partner visa (subclass 309), whereas the second stage refers to the permanent partner visa (subclass 801/subclass 100). A prospective spouse who is applying for a prospective marriage visa (subclass 300) will undergo a similar process, but will have the requirement to be married in a certain timeframe.

At the first stage, the applicant must meet the various requirements of the Department of Home Affairs and importantly provide evidence of the relationship between the applicant and the sponsor. The Department in assessing the relationship will consider the nature of the household, financial aspects of the relationship, nature of the commitment and social aspect of the relationship. If the applicant satisfies the Department’s requirements, they will become a temporary visa-holder.

At the second stage, and after two years of holding a temporary visa, applicants become eligible to be considered for a permanent visa. This requires applicants and their sponsor to demonstrate to the Department that their relationship is still ongoing from the initial visa grant/first stage by supplying additional documentation. If the applicant satisfies the Department’s requirements, they will be granted a permanent visa. This permanent visa will afford the applicant Australian permanent residency and all of the associated benefits of permanent residency.

For guidance through this multi-stage process, contact an Australian Migration Agent who can explain the process in greater detail and provide help to navigate each stage of the application.

Australian Migration Agents

Processing timeframes

As visa applications are assessed based on the individual circumstances of the applicant and on a case by case basis, it can be difficult to forecast an exact visa processing time for any partner visa application. Furthermore, the processing times differ between onshore applicants, offshore applicants and prospective marriage applicants. 

Applications can take up to 96 months depending on the date of the application. This can vary based on the complexity of the application, if the application is correct and complete, any required checks needed and the Department’s current workload. Applicants should be advised that while Partner visas are no longer capped per migration program year, they still have a particular allocation under the Family visa stream.

The Department does provide applicants with a provisional timeframe on their website. Under ‘Global Visa Processing Times’ applicants can view prospective timelines for applications. This includes information about the average processing time for 50% of applicants and 90% of applications. Applicants should note the timelines for permanent visas are taken from the date of eligibility (after 2 years has elapsed) not the date of initial application. 

Applicants should be aware that where an application is lodged, they are unable to contact the Department for an update on how their application is progressing.

While an Australian Migration Agent cannot necessarily fast-track an application, they can assist with ensuring that applications are made successfully, and any avoidable delays are minimised.

What factors impact processing times?

Partner visa processing times can be affected by numerous different factors. 

Given the amount of applications that are made, the varying complexity of different applicant’s circumstances and the presently existing backlog of applications, applying for a Partner visa will naturally take time due to the circumstances of how the Department operates. Unfortunately, these delays are unavoidable. 

However, there are delays which an applicant is able to avoid. Where an applicant lodges an application that is incomplete, does not contain all of the relevant or required information, contains an insufficient amount of material or where the visa application charge has not been correctly paid, these events can increase the time it takes for the application to be processed.  This is due to the Department needing to make additional requests for information, applicants needing to collate and provide this information and the Department reconsidering this information. Therefore, it is critical that applicants make complete and sufficient applications in the first instance and reduce the possibility of unnecessary delays arising. Australian Migration Agents can help with this process, as their experience and knowledge of the Partner visa process allows them to ensure that any application is correctly lodged with all relevant material.


Tips for minimising processing delays

Australian Migration Agents have experience in dealing with partner visa applications and have identified several tips that applicants should consider when making their visa application.

  • Consider the most appropriate visa type before applying. Each partner visa has different benefits and drawbacks and is only available to applicants in specific circumstances. Applying for the wrong Partner visa type can be futile and add additional time and cost to the application process as the applicant may be ineligible from the outset.
  • Complete the application with sufficient detail and provide necessary supporting documents from the beginning. Include any relevant documents, especially evidence of the relationship, required by the Department to make a decision. If an applicant discovers that there is a deficiency or mistake in their application, they should contact the Department as soon as possible.
  • Respond to any Department requests in a timely manner. At times the Department may require an applicant to provide additional information or meet other various requirements. Until an applicant has done so, their application will not progress any further. This can hold up the processing of the application until the Department’s request has been satisfied.

Where applicants are unsure of what visas they are eligible for, what the requirements are for that visa and how to comply with any additional requests from the department, they should contact an Australian Migration Agent, who can help ensure that the applicant is giving themselves the best chance of a successful application.

Benefits of using an Australian Migration Agent

At Australian Migration Agents, we are experienced in providing help to partner visa applicants at any stage in the application process. Our knowledge of the Australian immigration system allows us to guide applicants through what can be a stressful and time-consuming process, giving them ease of mind and confidence. Furthemore, an Australian Migration Agent can ensure that any applications that are made have been lodged correctly and contain all relevant information and supporting evidence to ensure a timely decision can be made by the Department. While we cannot fast-track processing, an Australian Migration Agent can minimise avoidable delays, allowing applicants to focus on their relationship with their sponsor.

Related articles

ABN 99 672 807 724 | ACN 672 807 724