Partner Visas for Australia

Partners of Australians may want to apply for a visa that allows them to live and work permanently in Australia. Partner visas are granted in 2 stages with 2 different “subclass” numbers. The first visa you will be granted is the “provisional” visa and 2 years after you first apply, you will become eligible to be considered for the “permanent residency” visa. If you are applying from outside Australia, the visa subclass is 309/100. If you are applying inside Australia the visa subclass is 820/800. When you make the application, both stages are included in the Visa application charge payable to Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection.


If you are applying for your Partner visa based on your marriage, it will need to be a heterosexual marriage. Heterosexual and same-sex couples can each be recognised in Australia as de facto couples. However, same-sex marriage is not yet recognised in Australia, even if you are legally married to each other in the overseas partner’s home country (although, it looks like recognition could happen here soon). So if you apply for a Partner visa on the basis of your LGBTI relationship, you will be applying as de facto partners.

Married partners can apply at any time after the marriage. For all de facto partners, whether you are same-sex or heterosexual, you must be able to show evidence that you have lived together for at least 12 months (or that if you have been apart during the 12 months, that the separation from each other is only intended to be temporary). An exception to the 12 months relationship requirement exists where there are children of the relationship (ie children who are the natural or adopted children of both partners), or where living together as a couple was against the law in the overseas partner’s country.

Another way to beat the 12 months de facto relationship requirement is to register your relationship in an Australian state or territory. Some but not all Australian states and territories allow for relationship registration. In many cases the relationship can be registered even though only the Australia partner is living in Australia in the relevant state or territory at the time of registering.

We are happy to have a chat with you about relationship registration or any other aspect of Partner visa applications if you want to get in touch by phone 1300176793 or email us at An initial discussion is free. If a longer face to face talk is needed, we can do this in person in Sydney or by Skype from anywhere in the world and we will advise you in advance of any cost involved.

Other things that may need addressing are “no further stay” waivers if you want to apply in Australia but your current visa has a “no further stay” condition on it, “health waivers” if one person in the couple has a disability or health condition, “Schedule 3” problems if you are in Australia on a bridging visa or if you’re here and you don’t have a visa, “character concern” issues if there have been any past legal issue or other problems, issues related to divorces that haven’t quite come through yet, how to include other family members on the application, pets that need to be brought to Australia, advice about work rights and Medicare in Australia, and etc. we are used to advising people about any or all of these problems.

In all cases, to succeed in obtaining the Partner visa, the couple must be able to show a genuine & continuing exclusive relationship & commitment to a shared life, and living together is one aspect that will be useful to show this relationship & commitment exists. Financial documents, evidence of social aspects of your relationship, evidence of your household, your mutual support for each other, joint travel and various other things are needed. A good foundation lies in providing very detailed statements and solid evidence, as well as accurately preparing the required forms. The application charges can be high for Australian Partner visas, so it’s important to get it right.

We handle many Partner visa cases for all types of couples. When both members of the couple are in Australia and want to lodge the application without the overseas partner having to go offshore, we try to help make that happen. It’s not always possible, and we give you an honest assessment of whether it seems likely you can apply here or if instead you will need to return to your home country and make the application from there. We can also tell you the likely costs and likely processing times.

Michele Clayton

Migration Agents Registration Number 0957773

Legal Practitioner NSW 55486

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