Partner Visa Australia

Australian Partner visas allow an individual to live in Australia providing that they are married to or in a long-term de facto relationship with either:

  • a citizen of Australia
  • a permanent resident of Australia
  • a citizen of New Zealand

A single application for a partner visa covers both an initial temporary visa, as well as any permanent partner visa that may be awarded.

In order to be eligible to submit an application for an Australian Partner visa, you must generally be either married to or in a de facto relationship with your partner who is in Australia (with limited exceptions).

Please be aware that, if you submit an application for a Partner visa while you are physically located in Australia, you will usually be given a Bridging Visa. Any entitlements you have from an existing visa should carry across to your Bridging visa, but take note that otherwise your right to work and to study may be limited.

While awaiting a decision on whether you will be granted a Permanent partner visa (either subclass 100 or 801), you will be ineligible to receive any government subsidy or assistance such as Newstart or HECS.

It is possible to submit an application for a Partner visa online, though the process might not be as easy as it first appears. To apply for a Partner visa online yourself, you would need to:

It is possible to submit an application for a Partner visa by post, however we generally do not recommend this as it makes tracking applications and attaching additional supporting evidence more difficult and time-consuming.

Upon applying, unless there are obvious initial grounds to deny your application outright, you will usually be granted a Temporary Partner visa (Subclass 820 for onshore or Subclass 309 for offshore). This visa will last until you receive your Permanent Partner visa (subclass 801 or 100), which you usually become eligible for after two years of holding a Temporary Partner visa.

To apply for a Partner visa, you must be either married or in a de facto relationship.

If you are already in Australia and are intending to use the marriage pathway to apply for a Partner visa, you must be legally married to your partner.

If you are outside of Australia when you apply, you will need to either be already legally married (such as would be considered valid under Australian law) or intending to get married soon (and before any decision is made on your application).

The following types of overseas marriage are usually not recognised for applications for a Partner visa:

For recognised marriages, applicants and their sponsors should expect to have to prove that:

  • they have a shared life and mutual exclusive commitment to one another;
  • their relationship is an ongoing and genuine one;
  • they are living together, or that they do not live apart permanently
  • they meet standard good health and character requirements

If you are unsure if your marriage would be recognised, please check our more detailed guidance on recognition of marriages for Partner visas.

What does ‘de facto relationship’ mean?

A de facto relationship in the context of an application for a Partner visa means that:

  • you and your partner are not legally married, however
  • you are in a committed, genuine and continuing relationship
  • you live together, or do not live separately on a permanent basis
  • you are not closely related

De facto relationships can be with someone of any sex.

Length of de facto relationships

Normally, to be considered as a valid and lasting de facto relationship for the purposes of a Partner visa application, you must have been together with your partner for at least one full year before you submit your application. Time spent casually dating or interacting only online is not generally counted towards this minimum one-year period.

You may still be able to apply for a Partner visa if your de facto relationship has lasted for less than one year providing you meet the criteria for exemption from this requirement. If you want to know more, we recommend booking an appointment to discuss your circumstances in detail.

300 Prospective Partner visa

The subclass 300 Prospective Marriage visa gives an individual permission to go to Australia in order to marry their prospective spouse, and then to submit an application for a Partner visa.

Partner Visa – Document Checklist

You should ensure that you can provide the following documents to prove your identity as part of your application:

  • Identity document – one of the following
    • birth certificate showing both your parents’ names
    • ID page of a family book which shows both your parents’ names
    • ID pages of some official identification document issued by your government
    • ID pages of a document issued by a court which proves your identity
    • ID pages of a family census register
  • Personal details and photograph page from your current, valid passport
  • Two 45mm x 35mm passport photographs
  • National ID card, if you have one
  • Official proof of any name change

You should also be prepared to submit evidence regarding the relationship you share with your partner. You will need:

  • Two copies of Form 888
  • Proof that you are in an ongoing and genuine relationship
  • Your marriage certificate, if you are married
  • Other suitable documents, if you are unmarried and in a de facto relationship

Documents about other relationships

If at any point in the past you have been married, divorced, widowed or formally separated, you must provide documentary evidence to support this when submitting your application.

Document Checklist for Partner Visa Sponsors

As soon as your partner has submitted their application and received an application ID or a Transaction Reference Number (TRN), you can submit your sponsor form.

Proof of Identity

  • The sponsor must provide formal documentation proving that they are either a citizen or permanent resident of Australia, or an eligible citizen of New Zealand
  • If the sponsor is not an Australian citizen, they must also prove that their usual place of residence is within Australia

Good character documentation

Sponsors should be prepared to acquire and submit police certificates, as well as any service records or discharge papers if they have served in any country’s armed forces.

Sponsors acting on their child’s behalf

Sponsors of their children should be prepared to provide court documentation which permits the marriage between their child and the applicant, as well as proof that they are the legal parent or guardian of their child.

NB: Partner visa processing times

Proof that your relationship is genuine and continuing

Both the applicant and the sponsor should be prepared to provide evidence that they are in an ongoing and genuine relationship, whether it is de facto or a recognised marriage. When providing this evidence, applicants are strongly advised to tailor their evidence towards showing as many of the relationship ‘four pillars’ as possible.

Pillar 1 – Financial

You and your partner should provide documentation which proves that you have shared financial responsibilities, such as:

    • a property rental agreement or mortgage
    • a significant loan in both your names
    • a joint bank account
    • utility bills (e.g. electricity, water, internet/phone bill) in both your names

Factor 2 – Your shared household

You should provide documentation which proves that you have shared household responsibilities, such as:

    • utility bills in both of your names
    • mail or email which is addressed to both of you
    • shared responsibility for children
    • a statement about your living arrangements and shared duties such as housework or maintenance

Pillar 3 – Social activities

You should provide documentation or other evidence that your relationship is known to other people, such as:

  • joint invitations or proof of attending social events as a couple
  • evidence of having declared your relationship to public or government bodies, commercial entities or similar
  • evidence of joint attendance at cultural, social or sporting activities, or of travel together within Australia or abroad

Pillar 4 – Proof of commitment

You will need to provide proof that you are in a committed, exclusive long-term relationship, such as:

  • demonstrating that you are aware of each other’s family situation and background
  • documentation that shows your personal affairs have been combined
  • a will or testament
  • evidence that you have maintained contact when you have been temporarily apart, such as phone bills or letters

To support your application, you should be prepared to provide a statement regarding your relationship, covering:

  • the circumstances of how you first met
  • how your relationship came to be
  • where and when you got engaged and/or married (if applicable)
  • any shared activities you pursue together
  • any periods of temporary separation
  • any particularly significant moments in your relationship
  • plans for the future

While this information may be personal, it is an important consideration for both caseworkers and any appeal or tribunal when making a determination on your case.

“In considering a partner visa application, the Tribunal is required by reg.1.15A of the
Regulations to consider all of the circumstances of the relationship, not only the
matters listed in the Regulations.”

What if my visa expires?

If the visa you currently hold expires before you get a temporary Partner visa, it is possible for you to remain in Australia on a Bridging Visa A (BVA). It is not necessary to submit a separate application for a BVA, as this will be granted automatically when you submit your application for the Partner visa.

NB: A Bridging Visa A does not give permission for the holder to travel outside of Australia and then return to the country. In order to leave and reutrn to Australia on a Bridging Visa, you should ensure you acquire a Bridging Visa B (BVB).

Partner Visa applicants who receive a BVA or BVB while waiting for their application to be processed are permitted to work and study in Australia for the duration of that visa, as well as to use Australia’s public healthcare scheme, Medicare.​

What if I cancel my visa?

In the event that you decide to cancel your current visa, you will no longer be lawfully in Australia and will become ineligible for the A, B and C Briding Visa. You would then have to submit an application for a Bridging Visa E, with no automatic guarantee that it will be granted.

If you find yourself in this situation, we strongly recommend speaking to a member of our team to find out the right options for you.

Book a Consultation

Navigating Australia’s system of partner visas can be a complex endeavour. To get the best possible advice for your particular situation, we recommend booking a consultation to get expert advice.

Partner visa options