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

When can I apply for a partner visa in Australia?

Sharing Li
Sharing Li
Australian Migration Agent
May 28, 2024
minute read

Applying for a Partner visa can be an exciting step for any couple looking to progress their relationship together in Australia. It offers couples stability, and gives applicants a host of benefits such as being an Australian permanent resident with a potential pathway to Australian citizenship. However, knowing when to make a Partner visa application can be challenging, especially given there are different requirements for the different types that are available. 

This blog post seeks to demystify how Partner visas work and when a visa applicant should make their visa application depending on different circumstances that may arise.

Should applicants or their partners need information and advice specifically tailored to their circumstances, contact us at Australian Migration Agents today.

[registered_migration_agents] [/registered_migration_agents]

Partner visas in Australia

A Partner visa allows Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens to sponsor their partner’s visa application. There are a range of visas available to facilitate a couples reunification in Australia,  depending on where the applicants are located and their marital status. 

The Onshore Partner visa (subclass 820/801) is available for applicants who are presently in Australia on another visa and have received immigration clearance. The Offshore Partner visa (subclass 309/100) is available for applicants who are applying for the visa outside of Australia. For both of these streams, applicants and their partner are required to demonstrate that they are in a particular type of relationship (officially married or de facto partners) and have a genuine and continuing relationship.

The Prospective Marriage (subclass 300) while a type of Partner visa, has specific eligibility criteria for the status of the relationship. Where couples pursue this visa type, applicants must apply offshore and demonstrate an intention to and actually marry their prospective spouse within the visa period. While a Prospective Marriage visa is provisionally granted to provide couples the opportunity to become married, applicants can later apply for a permanent Partner visa after their marriage.

Applicants should also be aware that they will be required to meet other requirements regardless of the visa type. These include being above the age of 18 (limited exceptions apply), meeting various health and character standards, having no outstanding debts to the Australian Government (or having arrangements to settle them established) and signing the Australian Values Statement.

If you or your partner need assistance in evaluating the various visa options available or have questions about your visa eligibility, contact an Australian Migration Agent today.

[aus_wide_service] [/aus_wide_service]

Partner visa process

The Partner visa application process occurs over several stages.

During the first stage (temporary stage), applicants must meet the various requirements set by the Department of Home Affairs (outlined above) and provide evidence of their relationship with the sponsor. The Department will then evaluate the application looking at various factors including the nature of the household, financial aspects of the relationship, nature of the commitment and social aspects of the relationship. If the visa applicant meets the Departments criteria, they will be granted a temporary provisional visa.

In the second stage (permanent stage), and after holding the temporary visa for two years, applicants will become eligible for consideration for a permanent Partner visa. Couples will need to demonstrate to the Department that their relationship has continued from the date of the initial grant by submitting further relevant evidence. If the Department is satisfied that the relationship is genuine there is an ongoing mutual commitment in Australia, applicants will receive a permanent visa.

For guidance throughout this multi-phased process, applicants can contact an Australian Migration Agent who can offer detailed explanations of the process and assistance in navigating the application process.

When to Apply for a Partner Visa

As visas are assessed on a case-by-case basis, the timing for a Partner visa application will depend on a couple's particular circumstances. Usually, once couples have either become officially married or deemed to be in a de facto relationship and one person is an Australian citizen, Australian resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, they will be eligible to apply.

However, there are some circumstances where some requirements can waived. If a relationship is registered in an Australian state it may be recognised as a form of relationship eligible for a Partner visa. If there are special circumstances, such as where dependent children are involved, applicants may be able to apply earlier than they otherwise would have. Applicants should be aware that these circumstances are exceptional and not available to everyone.

While some specific scenarios are discussed below, where couples need help evaluating their circumstances or are unsure of their eligibility, an Australian Migration Agent can provide advice and guidance throughout the Partner visa application process.

De facto relationship

Under Australian law, a de facto relationship is defined as a relationship where a couple, who may be the same or different sex, have an exclusive commitment to shared life. This includes living together or not living permanently apart. Generally, couples will need to have met this definition for at least 12 months before they will be considered to be in a de facto relationship. This can mean that where applicants are not able to become married or register their relationship, they will be required to wait 12 months before they are able to lodge a partner visa.

Inclusion of same-sex relationships (LGBTIQA+)

Australia has recognised the rights of individuals in same-sex relationships in Australian migration law for some time. This recognition extends to Australia’s immigration policies, where same-sex couple applications are not treated any differently by the Department of Home Affairs. Applicants should rest assured that being in a same-sex relationship is not a bar to receiving a Partner visa in Australia, and that they will have equal access to Australia’s migration pathways. While applicants will need to meet the same requirements as opposite-sex couples, such as being married or in a de facto relationship, being in a same-sex relationship will not affect when an application can be made.

Can I apply for a Temporary Partner visa while on a Student Visa?

Although being on a Student visa is not necessarily a bar to being able to apply for a Partner visa, there are some important things that applicants need to consider. Firstly, applicants will still need to meet the relevant requirements detailed above to be eligible for a Partner visa and will need to apply for the Onshore Partner visa type. Secondly, an application for a Partner visa will not substitute or end an applicant’s student visa, so applicants will need to continue to study and comply with their Student visa conditions to ensure they continue to hold a valid visa. Thirdly, these conditions can sometimes be a bar to or affect an applicant’s eligibility for a Partner visa. Fourthly, once the Student visa expires, an applicant's visa status will change to a Bridging visa while they are awaiting the outcome of their visa application. Due to these factors, applicants on a Partner visa may need to lodge their application at a particular time.

Australian Migration Agents

Tips for Partner visa applications

While the process for applying for an Australian Partner visa can be confusing and complex, Australian Migration Agents have particular tips that applicants should consider when making their application:

  • Begin the visa application process early with as much time as possible to ensure that the appropriate visa is being sought and that all eligibility requirements will be met.
  • Complete the partner visa application form with as much detail as possible and provide all relevant evidence that is available to support the application.
  • If any mistakes are discovered or further evidence becomes available, contact the Department as soon as possible to ensure that the application can be considered correctly.
  • Be prepared to respond to the Department who may request additional information, ask for an interview or have further questions about the application that has been made. Support these responses with evidence where possible.

Benefits of Australian Migration Agents

An Australian Migration Agent is here to help applicants and their sponsors alike throughout the entirety of the Partner visa application process. Our knowledge and experience of Partner visas allows us to assess an applicant's suitability and provide relevant information and advice about moving forward. This includes giving advice to potential applicants about when to lodge their application and under what circumstances.  

While ordinarily applying for a Partner visa may be a time-consuming, stressful and emotionally taxing process, at Australian Migration Agents, we are committed to putting your mind at ease and ensuring that applications are lodged correctly with all of the relevant information, allowing couples to focus on their relationship without worry.

Related articles

ABN 99 672 807 724 | ACN 672 807 724