Partner Visa Frequently Asked Questions
[FAQ]

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Do you want to find answers to some of the questions most commonly asked about Australian partner visas? The answers to those questions can be found below - keep reading...

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Australian Partner Visas - What Are They For?
Partner migration provides a pathway for married and de facto partners of Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and eligible New Zealand citizens to enter and remain permanently in Australia.

Both opposite-sex and same-sex couples can be granted an Australian partner visa.

Initially, partners who meet the legal criteria for the grant of the visa are granted a temporary visa. Later, a permanent visa can be granted following an eligibility period. In cases where the couple already has a long-standing relationship or if they have children, the permanent visa can be approved shortly after the temporary visa has been granted.

Partner visas also allows for the temporary entry to Australia for fiancé(e)s (intended spouses) of Australian citizens, permanent residents and eligible New Zealand citizens.
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It is important to know that there is no automatic right Australian permanent residence as the partner or fiancé(e) of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen. If you wish to reside permanently in Australia you must be granted a permanent residence visa.

There are two types of partner visas, the Prospective Marriage visa and Partner visas. The type of visa for which you should apply depends on the type of relationship you are in.

If after reading this partner visa frequently asked questions page you still need more answers, contact an Embark Migration immigration professional for accurate advice specific to your own circumstances.
Common Questions About Partner Visa Types

Which Australian partner visa should I apply for?

If you are married or in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen you may be eligible for a partner visa.

If you are outside Australia when you apply for a partner visa, you would apply for a subclass 309/100 visa.

If you are inside Australia when you apply for a partner visa, you would apply for a subclass 820/801 visa.

There is also a subclass 300 Prospective Marriage visa. This is applied for outside Australia. It is a temporary visa that remains valid for 9 months from the date the visa is granted. If you are granted a Prospective Marriage visa, you must enter Australia and, after that entry, marry your intended spouse (your fiancé(e)) within the period that the visa is valid. You may then apply for a Partner visa when you are in Australia.

What is the difference between visa type and visa sublcass?

In the Australian visa system, there are over 140 different types of visas. In very general terms, visas are either permanent visas or temporary visas. The type of visa refers to the 'purpose' of the visa.

For example, a Visitor Visa allows foreign citizens to enter Australia on a temporary basis for a specific activity - there are different subclasses of Visitor Visas which regulate the what the Visitor Visa holder can do in Australia and for how long they can stay in Australia.

A partner visa allows the fiancé(e), married or de facto partner of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent residents and eligible New Zealand citizens to enter and remain either temporarily or permanently in Australia. The different subclasses of partner visas dictate whether the visa holder can stay in Australia temporarily or permanently.

A visa subclass refers to the unique 3 digit identifier that is given to every Australian visa and has a specific purpose. There are 5 subclasses of partner visas.

What is a subclass 820 partner visa?

Commonly referred to as the onshore partner visa, the subclass 820 partner visa can only be applied for in Australia.

The subclass 820 partner visa is the first stage of the onshore partner visa process. This is a temporary visa which is usually granted for a 'probationary' period of 2 years.

After this ‘probationary’ period, the relationship is reassessed and a permanent visa, a subclass 801 partner visa, can be granted.

The visa applicant must be in Australia for the subclass 820 partner visa to be approved.

What is a subclass 801 partner visa ?

The subclass 801 partner visa is the second stage of the onshore partner visa process. This is a permanent residency visa which, once granted allows the holder to live, study and work in Australia permanently.

The subclass 801 partner visa is applied for at the same time as the subclass 820 partner visa.

A subclass 801 partner visa can only be approved if, among other things, the relationship is ‘genuine and continuing’.

The visa applicant can be in Australia or overseas when the subclass 801 partner visa is approved.
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What is a subclass 309 partner visa?

Commonly referred to as the offshore partner visa, the subclass 309 partner visa cannot be applied for in Australia.

The subclass 309 partner visa is the first stage of the offshore partner visa process. This is a temporary visa which is usually granted for a 'probationary' period of 2 years.

After this ‘probationary’ period, the relationship is reassessed and a permanent visa, a subclass 100 partner visa, can be granted.

In most cases, the visa applicant cannot be in Australia for the subclass 309 partner visa to be approved.

The Australian Government has made a temporary COVID19 exemption which allows the subclass 309 partner visa to be approved if the applicant is in Australia.

What is a subclass 100 partner visa?

The subclass 100 partner visa is the second stage of the offshore partner visa process. This is a permanent residency visa which, once granted allows the holder to live, study and work in Australia permanently.

The subclass 100 partner visa is applied for at the same time as the subclass 309 partner visa.

A subclass 100 partner visa can only be approved if, among other things, the relationship is ‘genuine and continuing’.

The visa applicant can be in Australia or overseas when the subclass 100 partner visa is approved.
Common Questions About
Applying For A Partner Visa

How to get an Australian partner visa.

To be eligible to apply for a Partner visa, you must either be married to, or in a de facto relationship with, your partner at the time you apply. Your partner must be an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen.

Applying for a Partner visa is a 2-stage process. However, you apply for a temporary and permanent partner visa at the same time. Applications for partner visas are made online through the Australian Government's visa application program, IMMIAccount.

Once you have applied for the partner visa, your partner must also submit an application to sponsor a partner to migrate to Australia. This process is also done through IMMIAccount.

If you meet all the initial criteria, you will be granted a temporary partner visa. This visa remains valid until a decision is made on your permanent visa application, which is generally 2 years after you initially applied for your partner visa. If you continue to meet all legal requirements and provide the required additional documentation you will be granted a permanent partner visa.

How do partner visas work?

A partner visa allows an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen to sponsor their spouse or de facto partner and dependent children to become permanent residents of Australia.

To apply in Australia for a partner visa on the basis of marriage, you must be legally married to your partner (in most cases, your sponsor). To apply outside Australia on the basis of marriage, you must either be legally married to your partner at time of application or intend to legally marry your partner in the near future (before a decision is made on a temporary partner visa).

If you were married in a country other than Australia and that marriage is valid in that country, generally it will be recognised as valid under Australian law. There are some exceptions, such as underage or polygamous marriages, which are not accepted in Australia.

To apply for a partner visa as a de facto partner, you and your partner must show that you have been in a de facto relationship for the entire 12 months immediately prior to lodging your application.

The 12-month relationship requirement does not apply if:

1. you can establish that there are compelling and compassionate circumstances for the grant of the visa, such as you have children with your partner or cohabitation was not permissible under the law of the country where you resided for the 12 months before you applied;

2. your partner is, or was, the holder of a permanent humanitarian visa, and before that permanent humanitarian visa was granted, you were in a relationship with your partner that satisfies the requirements of a de facto relationship; or

3. your de facto relationship is registered under a law of a state or territory in Australia. It is important to know that relationship registration is not available in all Australian states or territories and eligibility for registration also differs depending on the state or territory. Prospective applicants considering registration of their relationship should check with the relevant state or territory Births, Deaths and Marriages agency for further information.


Common Questions About
Partner Visa Costs

How much does a partner visa cost?

On 1 July 2021, the Department of Home Affairs increased the visa application charge for partner visas.

The current cost, or the visa application charge, for a subclass 820/801 partner visa and a subclass 309/100 is as follows:
$7850 AUD for the Primary Applicant
$3930 AUD for additional applicants aged 18 and over
$1965 AUD for additional applicants under 18 years of age

For subclass 300 Prospective Marriage visa holders, the visa application charge is $1310 AUD for the Primary Applicant, $660 AUD for additional applicants aged 18 or over and $325 AUD for additional applicants under 18 years of age.

Why is an Australian partner visa so expensive?

Over the last 10 years partner visa fees have increased from $1735 AUD to the current price of $7850 AUD which came into effect from 1 July 2021.

The Australian Government has previously defended the high cost of partner visas by reporting that the fees contribute to the cost of providing social services, such as health and education, that partner visa holders become eligible for.

Despite the high costs associated with applying for a partner visa, this type of visa often provides the only pathway to Australian permanent residency when no other alternative is available.
Common Questions About
Partner Visa Processing

How long does partner visa processing take?

As at 1 July 2021, the 75% of subclass 820 partner visa applications were processed within 21 months and 90% were processed within 26 months.

As at 1 July 2021, the 75% of subclass 801 partner visa applications were finalised within 11 months and 90% were finalised within 19 months from the date of eligibility (2 years after the 820/801 application is lodged).

As at 1 July 2021, the 75% of subclass 309 partner visa applications were processed within 18 months and 90% were processed within 23 months.

As at 1 July 2021, the 75% of subclass 100 partner visa applications were finalised within 13 months and 90% were finalised within 22 months from the date of eligibility (2 years after the 309/100 application is lodged).

The Department of Home Affairs updates global visa processing times every month.


Why is my partner visa taking so long?

The time taken for an application for a partner visa to be processed will depend on a number of factors.

Processing visa applications can be delayed if,

1. An incomplete application has been lodged.
2. The necessary supporting documents have not been included with the application.
3. Additional checks are required to support the application, such as police checks and health checks.
4. There is a delay getting additional information from external agencies, particularly in relation to health, character, and national security requirements.

There is no legal obligation placed on the Australian Government to finalise a partner visa within a certain timeframe and it is not usually possible to expedite processing of applications. However, special circumstances of a compelling or compassionate nature may be taken into account.

Applicants who are concerned about delays should contact the Department or their registered migration agent to make inquiries regarding processing delays.
Common Questions About
Living In Australia On A Partner Visa

Is a partner visa permanent residency?

Yes, a partner visa does allow the spouse or de facto partner of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen to become a permanent resident.

Getting permanent residency with a partner visa is a 2-stage process. At the first stage, a temporary residence partner visa must be approved before a permanent residence partner visa can be granted.

Once a permanent residency visa has been approved, the holder can remain in Australia indefinitely.

The subclass 801 and subclass 100 partner visas are permanent residency visas.

Is a partner visa temporary?

The subclass 820 and subclass 309 partner visas are temporary residence visas.

These temporary partner visas allow the spouse or de facto partner of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen to remain in Australia until a permanent residency partner visa is finalised.

A permanent residence partner visa can only be granted after a temporary partner visa has been granted.

Is a 100 partner visa permanent residency?

Yes, the subclass 100 partner visa is a permanent residency visa.

A subclass 100 partner visa is granted to people who made an application for a partner visa outside Australia. This type of visa is also referred to as an offshore partner visa.

Is an 801 partner visa permanent residency?

Yes, the subclass 801 partner visa is a permanent residency visa.

A subclass 801 partner visa is granted to people who made an application for a partner visa when they were already in Australia. This type visa is also referred to as an onshore partner visa.

Can I work in Australia on a partner visa?

Yes, you can work in Australia on a partner visa.

It is important to note that if you are already in Australia and you hold another type of visa when you apply for a partner visa, you may not be able to work until your current visa ends. You must continue to comply with any conditions of a visa whilst it is still in effect.
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Common Questions About
Partner Visa Refusal And Cancellation

Can a partner visa be rejected?

Yes, a partner visa can be rejected. A partner visa will be refused if the applicant does not meet the specified criteria for the visa.

In some instances, a visa applicant may be given an opportunity to demonstrate that there are compelling and compassionate reasons, or other reasons beyond their own control which allow the partner visa to be approved despite not meeting specific criteria. Making an application for a health waiver is an example of when a visa can still be approved despite failing to meet the visa requirements.

Why do spouse or partner visas get refused?

There are a number of reasons why partner visas are refused.

In the majority of cases, partner visas are refused due to a lack of evidence to demonstrate a genuine and continuing relationship exists between the person applying for the visa and their partner. Other common reasons for refusal are failing to respond to requests from a visa processing officer or incorrectly filling in a visa application forms.

An application for a partner visa can also be refused if the relationship between the applicant and their sponsoring partner ends before the visa has been finalised.

In cases where an immigration officer determines that either the person applying for the visa or their partner has a significant criminal record or has provided false or misleading information there is a high probability that the application will be refused.

Can a partner visa be cancelled?

Yes, a partner visa can be cancelled. This applies to temporary and permanent partner visas.

Cancelling visas is at the discretion of the Department of Home Affairs. If there are other family members who have the same partner visa , then their visas will usually be cancelled at the same time.

A visa can be cancelled if the visa holder does not comply with the conditions on a visa or they do not meet character requirements or if they provided false or misleading information in their visa application.

How to cancel a partner visa?

The consequences of having a partner visa cancelled can be serious for the visa holder and their families ability to stay in Australia or return to or even enter Australia for the first time.

In most instances, the Department of Home Affairs will initiate the process to cancel a partner visa. When the visa cancellation process is started, the department will send the visa holder a Notice of Intention to Consider Cancellation (NOICC).

The purpose of the NOICC is to let the visa holder know that the department may cancel their visa and to explain why the visa may be cancelled. The NOICC also gives the visa holder an opportunity to provide any information that they consider relevant to justify why their visa should not be cancelled. There are strict timeframes given to respond to a NOICC. If the visa holder does not respond to the NOICC within the given timeframe, then their visa can be cancelled without any further notice.

It is possible for a visa holder to voluntarily cancel their own partner visa. It is strongly recommended to speak to one of our immigration advisors before voluntarily cancelling your own visa.

A partner visa cannot be cancelled by the visa sponsor or another family member.
More Common Questions
About Partner Visas
When, Where And How To Apply

When can I apply for a partner visa?

You can apply for a partner visa at any time, so long as you meet the relevant partner visa criteria.

In very brief terms, you may be able to meet the partner visa criteria if you are in a mutually exclusive and genuine and ongoing married or accepted de facto relationship with an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen.

Where can I apply for a partner visa?

You can apply for a partner visa either in Australia or from another country.

Your physical location at the time when you apply for a partner visa will dictate which partner visa you can apply for.

You can only apply for a subclass 820/801 partner visa if you are in Australia.

You can only apply for a subclass 309/100 partner visa if you are outside Australia.

How do I apply for a partner visa?

Once you are satisfied you meet the relevant partner visa criteria, you can apply for a partner visa.

To apply for a partner visa, you can follow these steps:
1. Gather and prepare your application and supporting documents.
2. Create an IMMIAccount and lodge your visa application online.
3. Comply with any requests from your immigration case officer.
4. Wait for a decision on your partner visa application.
5. Start enjoying life in Australia with your partner once your visa is approved.
Partner Visas And Travel

Can I travel on a partner visa?

Yes, you can travel overseas on a partner visa.

If you hold a subclass 820 or subclass 309 temporary partner visa you can travel in and out of Australia until a final decision has been made on your permanent partner visa.

If you hold a subclass 801 or subclass 100 permanent partner visa, you will be given a 5 year travel facility when your visa is granted. This travel facility allows you to travel in and out of Australia without restriction for the 5 year period that is specified in the visa grant letter. If you want to travel internationally after that five year period, and if you have not become an Australian citizen, you will need to have a Resident Return Visa granted before you leave Australia.

Can I enter Australia on a partner visa now?

If you have an Australian partner visa, you are exempt from the government's current international COVID19 travel restrictions.

You can enter Australia without the need to apply for a border exemption.

Among other things, your ability to leave Australia during the COVID19 travel restrictions will be determined by whether you hold temporary or permanent partner visa.

As the Australian government constantly reviews international travel restrictions due to the pandemic, it is always recommended to check the Department of Home Affairs website for the latest information regarding international travel restrictions.
Accessing Social Services

I have a partner visa, can I apply for Medicare?

If you are living in Australia and have been granted a permanent residence partner visa you are eligible to enrol in Medicare.

If you have applied for a partner visa and you are living in Australia, you can also enrol in Medicare.

I have a partner visa, can I apply for Centrelink?

If your temporary or permanent partner visa has been approved, you may be eligible to apply for and receive payments. There are specific residency requirements for newly arrived partner visa holders to meet before they can receive Centrelink payments. If your partner visa was approved after 1 January 2019, you may have to wait for 4 years before you can receive some Centerlink payments and concessions.

Can I get JobSeeker on a partner visa?

If your partner visa was granted after 1 January 2019, you can only receive JobSeeker payments after meeting residency rules. The residency rules require you to wait for 4 years after your partner visa is approved before you can receive JobSeeker payments.

Other Available Services We Provide

We know the Australian visa process is confusing, stressful and expensive. Embark Migration provides a range of professional immigration assistance including 20 or 60-minute consultations and application checking services.
Our licenced and registered consultants can also provide start-to-finish services for all Australian visa matters. As part of our process, your consultant can advise which services are suitable to you depending on your needs and budget.
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