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 to bring my overseas girlfriend to Australia

Sharing Li
Sharing Li
Australian Migration Agent
May 30, 2024
minute read

While now more than ever people are connected with each other across borders, distance and location is no longer affecting the deep connection that can form amongst individuals. For couples who face this long distance, it is commonplace to want to be reunited. The good news is, for couples where one of the partners is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, it is possible for this reunification to occur in Australia.  

Couples should be aware that applying for a Partner visa is not an easy task and can be time-consuming, confusing and complex. Where couples need more information, specific guidance or help making the application, contact an Australian Migration Agent today who can support couples at any stage of the process.

What is a partner visa?

An Australian Partner visa is a visa that allows an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen to sponsor their partner’s visa application so they are able to come to Australia. This visa is granted across two stages, with after two years passing after the initial grant, applicants becoming eligible to become a permanent visa holder. There are a few different ‘Partner visas’ to choose from, so it is important to consider what is right for an applicant’s specific circumstances before applying. 

While a number of visas may be available to couples wishing to reunify in Australia, such as a tourist visa or employee sponsored visas, there are numerous benefits in pursuing a Partner visa. Primarily, it provides a pathway for applicants to gain permanent residency in Australia and its associated benefits, without requiring additional eligibility criteria to be met or the potential to be subject to restrictive visa conditions (e.g., a ‘no further stay’ condition).

Applicants should be aware that it is possible for couples to seek a Visitor (subclass 600) visa first so that their partner can come and experience life together in Australia and see if it is somewhere they would like to live. This gives couples the opportunity to experience life together before committing to seeking a partner visa. While applicants who come to Australia on a Visitor (subclass 600) visa will be onshore for the purposes of applying for a Partner visa should they wish to do so, this process can be complex, so it is recommended that couples contact an Australian Migration Agent before undertaking the pathway. 

[aus_wide_service] [/aus_wide_service]

Types of available partner visas

There are three main types of Partner visas available, each with varying requirements, eligibility criteria and outcomes:

  • Onshore Partner visa (Subclass 820/801)
    • Suitable for applicants who are already in Australia on another valid visa.
    • Requires couples to be in a genuine and continuing relationship with their Australian partner, sponsorship by the partner and meeting various health and character requirements
    • Requires couples to evidence their marriage or de facto relationship
    • A bridging visa can be applied for during processing to allow the applicant to remain in Australia to live with their partner until a decision is made
    • Initially provides a temporary visa (Temporary Partner visa), with the ability to seek a permanent visa after 2 years.
  • Offshore Partner visa (Subclass 309/100)
    • Suitable for applicants residing outside of Australia
    • Requires being sponsored by an Australian partner, being in a genuine and continuing relationship and meeting various health and character requirements
    • Requires couples to evidence their marriage or de facto relationship
    • Provides provisional residency (Provisional Partner visa) to migrate to Australia on approval, with the ability to seek a permanent visa after 2 years.
  • Prospective Marriage visa (Subclass 300)
    • Suitable for applicants who are not in Australia but are otherwise planning to marry their Australian partner
    • Requires the couple to have met in person, the couple being intending to marry during the visa period (notice of intention to marry) and meeting various health and character requirement
    • Does not require proof of a de facto relationship existing but requires that the applicants become married

Choosing between these visas will depend on the specific circumstances of each applicant, including if they are onshore or offshore, their relationship status and their future plans regarding marriage. If couples need assistance doing this, an Australian Migration Agent is here to help.

Partner visa application process

Applying for a Partner visa occurs over several stages. Initially, couples will need to apply for either a Provisional Partner visa (subclass 309), a Temporary Partner visa (subclass 820) or a Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300). Once this has been applied for and granted by the Department, after 2 years has passed or where the couple has become married, applicants will then be able to apply for the second stage of consideration that leads to a Permanent Partner visa (subclass 801/100).

Any dependent children of the applicants can be attached to the primary visa application. Typically, dependent children will have temporary Australian visas granted to them while the primary application is being processed, after which, the primary applicant, if granted a visa, is able to sponsor them.

Couples should be aware that in considering a visa application, the Department will consider if the applicant has ever held a previous visa grant (such as student visa or other provisional visa), visa refused or visa cancellation.

For help navigating the application process or to have someone prepare the visa application on you behalf, contact an Australian Migration Agent.

Documentation required for a partner visa application

Partner visas require a significant amount of supporting evidence and relevant documentation in order for applicants and sponsors to meet the eligibility criteria set by the Department.

Some of the documents that couples should provide include:

Personal Documents

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Proof of name change (if applicable)
  • Divorce certificate (if applicable)
  • National identity card (if applicable)
  • Adoption papers (if applicable)
  • Applicant passport photo/application passport photo

Character documents 

  • Australian police certificates (i.e. Australian Federal Police clearance)
  • Overseas police certificates
  • Military service records (if applicable)
  • Military discharge papers (if applicable)
  • Character assessment documents

Relationship evidence

  • Nature of your household (E.g., joint home address evidence, correspondence addressed jointly to household)
  • Nature of your commitment (e.g., detailed relationship statements)
  • Financial aspects of your relationship (E.g., joint financial commitments, joint bank account, joint bank statements, joint car loans, joint pet bills, joint gym membership, joint credit agreements)
  • Social aspect of your relationship (e.g., statutory declaration)
  • Notice of Intended Marriage (if applicable)
  • Registered relationship evidence (e.g. relationship registration documents) (if applicable)
  • Court issued documents (if applicable)

Previous Relationship Documents

  • Provide divorce documents (if applicable)
  • Death certificates (if applicable)

Costs of a partner visa

At the time of writing, a Partner visa application currently costs

  • Onshore Partner visa (subclass 820/801): $8,850 for the primary applicant, $4430 for any additional adult applicant over 18 years old, $2215 for any additional dependent children applicant (includes both stages of application)
  • Offshore Partner visa (subclass 309/100): $8,850 for the primary applicant, $4430 for any additional adult applicant over 18 years old, $2215 for any additional dependent children applicant (includes both stages of application)
  • Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300): $1475 for the primary applicant, $740 for any additional adult applicant over 18 years old, $365 for any additional dependent child applicant (with the fee for the Permanent Partner visa application being reduced)

It is worth noting that payment of these fees is subject to a surcharge as follows depending on the payment method used.

  • American Express — 1.40%
  • Diners Club International — 1.99%
  • JCB — 1.40%
  • Mastercard — 1.40%
  • PayPal — 1.01%
  • Union Pay — 1.90%
  • Visa — 1.40%

This visa application charge must be paid in full and upfront to the Department of Home Affairs before an application can be lodged. The department accepts payments through a variety of methods, however, they do not accept split payments. Applicants should also budget for other costs associated with health assessments, police certificates and other things required to make a visa application. Further information about visa fees can be found on the Department’s website or by contacting an Australian Migration Agent

Legal responsibilities of sponsorship 

Couples should be aware that sponsors of Partner visa applications do have significant obligations beyond signing the sponsorship form required for the applicant’s application. Sponsors assume sole responsibility for the financial expenses that their partner may incur during their time within Australia. Therefore, the Department will evaluate the sponsor’s employment and financial situation.

Following visa approval, sponsors are required to provide accommodation and financial support to meet the applicant’s needs. These extend over at least two years of the partners stay in Australia, regardless of where the application is made, while the applicant is on a temporary visa or provisional visa.

Furthermore, if the applicant’s application has secondary applicants, sponsors will also be required to extend their support to all of these further applicants. Therefore, sponsors need to assess their circumstances and capacity to provide support for all applicants involved in the process.

Common partner visa challenges

There are some challenges that couples may face during the Partner visa application process. 

Firstly, visa refusal often arises where the Department is not satisfied that the relationship between the couple is a genuine relationship. Even if the relationship is actually genuine and the couple has a commitment to shared life together, this can be caused by a lack of supporting evidence or failure to meet the Department’s criteria.

Similarly, another common challenge during the application process is the uncertainty around the processing times for Partner visas. The processing time can result from both factors within and outside the applicant’s control, however, couples can minimise any avoidable delays by providing ‘decision-ready’ applications that include all of the relevant information and evidence.

If applicants and sponsors wish to receive professional guidance in preparing and lodging their Partner visa application, an Australian Migration Agent is well-placed to assist in this process.

Benefits of partner visas

There are many benefits associated with Partner visas in Australia.

For applicants who receive a Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300), this temporary visa allows visa holders to remain in Australia for 9 to 15 months, with work and study rights and the ability to enter and leave Australia at will during the visa period.

For applicants who receive a provisional Partner visa (subclass 301) or temporary Partner visa (subclass 820), these temporary visas allows visa holders to have provisional permanent residency, study rights in Australia, access to a variety of free services and a pathway to apply for Australia’s public health scheme (Medicare).

For applicants who receive a Permanent Partner visa (subclass 801 and subclass 100), these permanent visas allow visa holders to remain in Australia indefinitely as Australian permanent residents, work and study rights, access to Medicare and social security, the ability to sponsor other family members where eligible to migrate to Australia and a pathway to Australian citizenship.

An Australian Migration Agent is able to help couples pursue these benefits and select the right visa type for their specific circumstances

Why use an Australian Migration Agent?

An Australian Migration Agent is committed to assisting couples pursue Partner visas. At Australian Migration Agents, we understand that this can be a stressful, difficult and confusing process, so our aim is to relieve some of these anxieties and allow couples to focus on fostering their relationship, whether it be in Australia or abroad. We are able to help with preparation of a ‘decision-ready’ application, lodgement and communications related to your application. An Australian Migration Agent can offer specific tailored advice to your circumstances, so if you are struggling with Partner visa applications, do not understand the various visa options or want to bring your partner to Australia, contact us today.

[registered_migration_agents] [/registered_migration_agents]

Related articles

ABN 99 672 807 724 | ACN 672 807 724