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Partner Visas Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers from our Registered Migration Agents to the most Frequently Asked Questions about Partner visas.

  1. Am I eligible to apply for a partner visa to Australia?
    To be eligible for a Partner Visa you must be married to, or in a de facto (common law) relationship, with an Australian citizen or permanent resident. Interdependent, or same-sex partners are also eligible. Under the Partner Visa, your partner must sponsor you for a period of 2 years.
  2. Which Partner Visa should I apply?
    It will depend on the type of relationship you have and where the main applicant is when he/she applies for a Partner visa.
  3. Should I apply Onshore or offshore? What’s the difference?
    Applicants in Australia may apply for onshore partner visa (820/801) and applicants outside of Australia will need to apply for an offshore partner visa (309/100).
    However, there might be certain visa conditions attached to the current visa/s for the applicants in Australia, which may prevent you from applying onshore.
  4. How long will it take to process my Partner Visa application?
    The published current processing times (2018), on the Department of Home Affairs website, states for Permanent Partner (subclass 801) visas is 19 to 24 months from your eligibility date. The processing times for the Provisional Partner (subclass 820) visas are also listed as 20 to 26 months. Prospective Marriage (subclass 300) and Partner Provisional (subclass 309) are taking on average 14 to 17 months. In practice, the processing can be a lot sooner than the published processing times.
  5. What if the sponsor has sponsored someone to Australia before?
    You may not be able to sponsor your partner if you have previously sponsored 2 other partners for migration to Australia or have sponsored another partner within the last 5 years or were sponsored as a partner yourself within the last 5 years.
    You may still be permitted to sponsor your partner in compelling circumstances, for example, if your previous partner died or abandoned the relationship, and you have young children, or you have been with your current partner longer than two years, or you or your partner have dependent children. A decision on whether to waive the sponsorship limitations can only be made once an application has been lodged. It cannot be decided in advance of lodgement.
  6. Is there a minimum time to sponsor my second partner?
    You can only sponsor a second partner after five (5) years since your last sponsorship.
  7. What is Scheduled 3?
    Schedule 3 criteria is additional requirements applicable to unlawful non-citizens and certain bridging visa holders, who wish to lodge their visa application in Australia.
  8. Can I include dependents from my previous marriage on my visa application?
    Yes, if the dependents meet the criteria for secondary visa applicant/s.
  9. Do age gaps matter in partner visa applications?
    It is all about showing that you are in a genuine, committed relationship.
  10. Is the Department going to interview me?
    Not generally speaking. Some offshore posts do so as a matter of course. If an interview is requested, this may be conducted either in person or by phone.
  11. Are Partner visas prioritized by The Department of Immigration?
    Applications for family stream visas are prioritised depending on which visa you apply for. The following are examples of the priorities given to various visa categories. For primary applicants of an Australian sponsor, priority is given in the following order:

    • partner or child
    • orphan relatives
    • contributory parents
    • Priority is then given to those applying for carers, parent visas, remaining relative and aged dependent relative visas.
  12. Do I have to be married?
    Australian migration law does NOT require that an applicant for a partner visa to get married to their Australian sponsor to apply for a partner visa.
    However, they are required to present evidence to verify that their relationship is genuine and continuing.
    For de facto partners, a relationship needs to be established for at least 12 months before an applicant is eligible for the partner visa application unless you have registered your relationship.
  13. Is it easier to get a Partner Visa if I marry or get pregnant?
    The essence of a partner visa is to show evidence of a genuine relationship with your partner.
    Getting married would be regarded as one of the evidence of a genuine relationship, however, It would not enable your application to be processed with priority.
  14. Is it possible to apply for a partner visa application without living together?
    Not on a long-term basis unless you are applying for a prospective marriage visa you are not required to live together.
  15. Can a migration agent expedite my Partner Visa application?
    No, the Department would allocate the applications in the order of date of lodgement.
  16. When do I obtain a Bridging Visa?
    When you apply for a s/c 820 visa, a bridging visa would be granted following the submission of your visa application; the bridging visa, however, would only come into effect when your current substantive visa expires.
  17. What are the major reasons for a Partner Visa Refusal?
    The major reason for a partner visa refusal would be that the Department is NOT satisfied that you are in a genuine relationship with your partner. There may also be other factors that lead to a visa refusal, such as your and/or your partners and dependents’ health/character issues.
  18. What happens if my Partner Visa is refused?
    Your partner may proceed with lodging a merit review within the specified time period to have a third party to review the decision made by the Department.
  19. What if there are complications to the relationship during the two years provisional period?
    Complications, unfortunately, happen during some of the partner visa application process.
    It is one of the sponsor’s and applicant obligations to ‘report changes in their circumstances’.
    The Department of Immigration requests the sponsor and the applicant to notify them immediately if the relationship breaks down or if the sponsor wishes to withdraw the sponsorship.
  20. Can I work on a partner visa in Australia?
    Yes, the partner visa holders have full work rights in Australia.

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