Overview

Partner visas are designed for those who are a spouse or in a de facto relationship with an Australia citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen and wish to migrate to Australia. Unlike other PR visas, partner visas include 2 subclasses – the subclass 820 is the temporary partner visa that allows applicants to live and work lawfully in Australia while waiting for a permanent partner visaSubclass 801. You must apply for both subclasses at the same time and pay only one application charge. Your application will be processed in two stages – visa subclass 820 will be granted first and you need to apply for visa 801 separately again after 2 years from the date of 820 application.  

What are the benefits of a partner visa?  

The Temporary Partner Visa (Subclass 820) allows you limited benefits, including: 

  • Live and work in Australia while your Partner Visa-Subclass 801 is processed.  
  • Study in Australia with international students’ fees  
  • Enrol in Medicare, Australia’s scheme for health-related care and expenses 
  • Include dependent children on your application (dependent applicants must be in Australia when they apply) 
  • Travel to and from Australia as many times as you want, after your 820 visa being granted 

The Permanent Partner Visa (Subclass 801) give you the full benefits of Australian permanent residency, which includes but not limited to: 

  • Stay in Australia indefinitely  
  • Study with domestic student fees  
  • Work and run businesses in Australia   
  • Receive social security benefits through Centrelink (e.g., family tax benefit, job seeker, job keeper payment and childcare subsidy), you can need to wait up to 1 year to receive these benefits.  
  • Receive community health care program (Medicare)  
  • Get first homeowner grant when buying your first home  
  • Receive Adult Migration English Program (AMEP) if your partner and/or your dependents do not have sufficient English skills to live in Australia  
  • Your dependents under 18 years of age have a right to study in public schools free of charge  
  • Sponsor family members to Australia if eligible  
  • Apply for Australian citizenship if eligible  
  • Travel from and to Australia in 5 years. After 5 years, you can renew your travel authority by applying for a Resident Return visa if you satisfy the residency requirement. 

Who can apply for a Partner Visa?  

A Partner Visa allows the spouse (husband or wife) or De Facto partner of an Australian citizen, a Permanent Resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen to obtain a visa so that they can live together in Australia. 

Who can be a sponsor for a Partner Visa?  

The sponsor requirements are:  

  • The sponsor must be an Australian Permanent Resident, Australian citizen, or eligible New Zealand citizen.  
  • The sponsor can only sponsor 2 spouses or de facto partners in his/her lifetime, and can only sponsor 1 spouse or de facto partner within 5 years unless in an exceptional circumstance. 
  • The sponsor cannot hold a spouse visa sponsored by another person in the past 5 years.  
  • The sponsor cannot be convicted of or have had to pay a fine for hurting a child. 
  • The sponsor needs to pass the character test  

What are the requirements for a Partner Visa – Subclass 820/801

You must meet all the following requirements to be eligible for a partner visa 820/801.  

  • Location – You must be in Australia while applying for this visa  
  • Sponsor – You must have a sponsor and our spouse/de facto partner should apply for a sponsorship at the same time when you lodge your application.  
  • Visa history – You might not be eligible to apply for a partner visa if you are the holder of or your last substantive visa was a: 
    • Skilled – Independent Regional (Provisional) (Class UX) visa 
    • Subclass 475 (Skilled – Regional Sponsored) visa 
    • Subclass 487 (Skilled – Regional Sponsored) visa or 
    • Skilled Regional Sponsored (Provisional) (Class SP) visa. 
    • You must have held that visa for at least two years before you can apply. 
    • If you are the holder of or your last substantive visa was a: 
      • Subclass 491 (Skilled Work Regional (Provisional)) visa or 
      • Subclass 494 (Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa.  

Also, you must not hold a 204 Refugee Visa (Woman at Risk Visa) or a Transit Visa such as the 771 Visa within 5 years. 

  • Relationship requirements  
    • You must prove that your relationship is genuine and continuing, and that you two are living together. You can be apart from your partner, but temporarily only. For the de facto relationship, you and your partner must be in the relationship for at least 12 months immediately before the time you apply for the partner visa. It is noted that the dating time might not count as being in the de facto relationship.  
    • However, a certain length of cohabitation period can be exempted if you have registered your de facto relationship with the state government (i.e., you have a Civil Partnership Certificate). 
  • Health requirements – You and secondary applicants (if any) need to pass a health examination conducted in one of medical centres approved by Department of Home Affairs. Your family members who do not accompany you to Australia also need to meet the health requirements.  
  • Character requirements – You and secondary applicants (if any) need to have a positive police check/s in the countries where you lived for totally 1 year and over in the past 10 years.  
  • Age – You and your partner must be over 18 years old. 
  • Debt – You must not have any debt to the Australian Government. 

How can you prove the relationship with your partner 

The relationship with your partner is one of the most important parts that case officer will rely on to see if you should be granted with a partner visa. To demonstrate your relationship is genuine, continuing and mutual, you must provide the following evidence:  

Relationship history 

You need to write a statement that includes all key milestones of your relationship, such as: 

  • how, when and where you first met 
  • how the relationship developed 
  • when you moved in together, got engaged or married 
  • what you do together 
  • time you spent apart 
  • significant events in the relationship and 
  • your plans for the future. 

Together with this writing, you must submit a legal document to prove your relationship with your partner, which is either your marriage certificate or registered de facto relationship document.  

Finance  

You must submit: 

  • joint mortgage or lease documents 
  • joint loan documents for major assets like homes, cars or major appliances 
  • joint bank account statements 
  • household bills in both names 

You also need to write a statement to clarify how you and your partner share responsibilities for financial aspects.  

Nature of Household  

You must submit: 

  • a statement about how you share housework 
  • household bills in both names 
  • mail or emails addressed to you both 
  • documents that show joint responsibility for children 
  • documents that prove your living arrangements 

Like other relationship aspects, you must provide a statement to demonstrate that you and your partner have been sharing all household matters.  

Social matters 

You must submit: 

  • joint invitations or evidence you go out together 
  • proof you have friends in common 
  • proof you have told the government, public or commercial bodies about your relationship 
  • proof you do joint sporting, cultural or social activities together 
  • proof you travel together 

In the application form, you are required to write a statement to explain how you and your partner join social activities together and how you enjoy your life with common friends.  

Commitment  

You must submit:  

  • proof you have knowledge of each other’s background, family situation or other personal details 
  • proof you have combined your personal matters 
  • the terms of your wills 
  • proof you stay in touch when apart 

You are also required to submit a statement to clarify that you and your partner deeply understand each other, pursue the same goals of life, and always stay in touch when apart.  

It takes two years to apply for a 801 visa after lodging a 820 visa. In fact, the aim of the government is to see whether your relationship is strong and genuine.  

How to apply for a Partner Visa?  

The process of applying a partner visa involves in both your and your partner’s responsibility.  

Step 1: Your partner applies for a sponsorship 

Your partner needs to apply for a sponsorship online, and the process of this step is very simply. All the documents that must be submitted are:  

  • Your partner’s identity documents (her/his passport, birth certificate and a passport sized photo of his/her face) to prove he/she is an Australian citizen/PR or New Zealand citizen. 
  • Character documents (police certificates for every country where your partner spent for 1 year or more) 

Step 2: You apply for a Temporary Partner Visa – 820  

There are generally two processing stages for a partner visa application. The first stage is to apply for a Temporary Partner Visa – Subclass 820.  

You need to create an online account on https://online.immi.gov.au/lusc/login. Fill in all compulsory information and attach your ID, your police checks and all required documents mentioned in the section “How can you prove the relationship with your partner?”.  

Case officer starts processing your application only when the visa fee is paid.  

Step 3: You wait for a Permanent Partner Visa – 801 

Once your visa 820 is granted, you can be assessed for a Permanent Partner Visa automatically. All you need to do is you must stay married/in the relationship for at least two years when your visa 801 is being processed.  

In some cases, you may be required to submit extra documents to clarify your circumstance. 

Note 

Eligible applicants with a substantive visa will be granted a bridging visa A, allowing them to stay lawfully in Australia while waiting for a partner visa.  

How much does it cost to apply for a Partner Visa?  

Visa subclass  Base application charge  Additional applicant charge
18 and over 
Additional applicant charge under 18 
Subclass 820 Partner visa (temporary)  From AUD8,085 and  

From AUD1,350 for Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300) holders. 

AUD3,930  AUD1,965 
Subclass 801 Partner visa (Permanent)  0  0  0 

What is the processing time of a partner visa?  

The processing time for the partner visas is relatively slow as the Department of Home Affairs needs time to consider if your marriage or de facto relationship is genuine and continuing.  

  • Only 25% of applications will be processed within 6 months 
  • 50% of applications will be assessed in 9 months 
  • To process 75% of applications, the Department needs up to 21 months 
  • To complete 90% of applications, the Department need more than 3 years (39 months) 

Normally, after the temporary partner visa 820 is granted, the applicants need to wait to have the permanent partner visa 801. However, the 2-year waiting period can be waived if one of the following special circumstances is met:  

  • When submitting the application, the sponsor and the applicant have had a relationship for more than 3 years.  
  • When submitting the application, the sponsor and the applicant have had a relationship for more than 2 years and have children. 
  • In a few cases, if the relationship between the applicant and the sponsor is broken down and the applicant suffers domestic violence, the 2-year waiting period can be also exempted. 

FAQs

I have children with ex-partner, can I include my children in my partner visa application?

Yes, you can include them in the visa application as secondary applicants if your current partner agrees to sponsor them. Below are documents that you should submit to include them:  

  • Your children’s identity documents  
  • Evidence of the relationship between you and your children, such as a birth certificate 
  • Your children’s police check/s if they are 16 years old or older.  
  • Evidence of enrolment at school/college/university (if applicable) 
  • An approval from anyone who has a legal right to determine where your children will live (e.g., your ex-spouse).  
  • If your children who are 18 years old or older, you should provide evidence to show that they are still dependent on you, such as bank statements and bank transfers.  

Can I work full-time while waiting for a partner visa – subclass 820?

Why waiting for a partner visa – subclass 820, you will be granted with a bridging visa A that allows you to stay lawfully in Australia. Generally, the conditions of the Bridging visa A will be based on the conditions of the visa that you got right before the Bridging visa A. For example, if you obtained a Temporary graduate visasubclass 485 before your bridging visa, then you have unlimited work rights in Australia. However, if visitor visasubclass 600 is your previous visa, then you are not allowed to work under your bridging visa A.  

What happens if my relationship breaks down while waiting for a partner visa?

If your relationship ends within two years of visa lodgement, you are required to notify the Department of Home Affairs of this change. As such, the Department will contact your partner and ask her/him to withdraw the sponsorship, which means your visa application is not successful. However, you may be still granted with a permanent visa in the following circumstances:  

  • You are a victim of a domestic violence. 
  • You and your partner have a dependent child who is dependent on your care and support. 

Can I apply for a partner visa twice?

Yes, you can apply for another partner visa after the first one was rejected. However, the case officer will consider your application very carefully as you have a history of visa refusal. In this case, you need to investigate why your first visa application was rejected, and whether the current visa application meet all requirements. If you are unsure how to best prepare your application, contact us! Our registered migration agents who have helped more than 5000 applicants get a PR in Australia will help you. 

How many times can I sponsor for a partner visa?

You can sponsor for a partner visa twice in your lifetime. You need to wait at least 5 years from the date when the first partner visa was issued in order to sponsor for the second partner visa.  

Can I leave Australia while waiting for a partner visa?

While waiting for a temporary partner visa – subclass 820, you will be granted with a bridging visa A that allows you to stay lawfully in Australia. However, you must apply for a bridging visa B in order to leave Australia temporarily.   

If you are on visa 820 and waiting for a permanent partner visa 801, you have a right to travel from and to Australia.  

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