If you are in a genuine relationship with an overseas national，and you, as an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, may be able to sponsor them to enter or remain in Australia under the partner visa program. There are three visa pathways under the partner visa program. The most suitable visa option will depend on whether you and your partner are married, have registered your relationship with a state or territory in Australia, are in a de facto relationship or are engaged to be married.
- Subclass 820 (Temporary Residence) / 801 (Permanent Residence) – Onshore
- Subclass 309 (Temporary Residence) / 100 (Permanent Residence) – Offshore
- Subclass 300 (Temporary Residence) – Prospective Marriage Visa
Applying for a Partner Visa is a two stage process, involving both a temporary (subclass 309 or 820) visa and a permanent (subclass 100 or 801) visa application being lodged simultaneously, with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) deciding on which subclass of visa to grant upon processing the application.
The typical result is that an applicant will first be granted the temporary visa (provided they meet the various eligibility requirements, including being married, in a cohabiting de facto relationship for at least 12 months or having registered your relationship with a state or territory government), and once the applicant has maintained their relationship with their Australian partner for 2 years (having continued to meet the conditions of the visa), the temporary visa holder will be granted the permanent visa.
In some cases, the 2 year waiting period for permanent residence may be waived, and the subclass 100 visa will be immediately granted for permanent residency. However, to qualify immediately, you must satisfy one of the following factors, in which case you will be deemed to be in a long-term relationship:
- You have been in a spouse relationship with your partner for 3 years or more (as a married or de facto partner); OR
- You and your partner have been in a married or de facto relationship for 2 years and have children.
Onshore Temporary Partner Visa (subclass 820)
You must be living in Australia both when you lodge your application and when the visa is decided. Having your application granted will allow you to live in Australia if you are the de facto partner or spouse of an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.
The temporary partner visa will allow you to remain in Australia, with full work and study rights, until a decision is made on your permanent partner visa. As soon as the temporary partner visa application is lodged you are entitled to enrol in Medicare.
Onshore Permanent Partner Visa (subclass 801)
If the second stage of your temporary partner visa application is successful you will be granted a permanent partner visa (subclass 801). This visa allows you to remain in Australia indefinitely where you may work and study. If you are eligible, it also offers you the chance to become an Australian citizen, sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence and apply for limited social security benefits.
Offshore Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309)
The provisional visa must be applied from outside Australia. The provisional visa (subclass 309) allows you to remain in Australia until a decision is made regarding your permanent visa. You may also work and study in Australia and enroll in Medicare.
Offshore Partner (Migrant) visa (subclass 100)
Following a wait period of approximately two years, a permanent partner visa (subclass 100) may be granted. You may be in or outside Australia when the permanent visa is granted.
If you are successful in your application and are granted a permanent visa, you may re-main in Australia indefinitely with full work and study rights, apply for citizenship, receive limited social security and sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence.
*It is important to be aware that with all permanent visas in Australia, you need to maintain residence in Australia to continue to be eligible for permanent residency. If you intend to travel outside Australia, you will need a valid visa to return.
Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300)
If you are intending to marry an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, you may be able to apply for the Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300). You must be outside of Australia when applying for, and being granted this visa. The provisional visa is valid for nine months. The marriage itself can take place in or outside of Australia.
Obtaining this visa will allow you to travel to and from Australia as often as you desire; enter Australia before you marry; work and study in Australia and apply for a partner visa after you marry.
Note regarding Eligible New Zealand Citizens: The definition of eligible New Zealand Citizen is a New Zealand citizen who was living in Australia on 26 February 2001 or for at least one year in the two years immediately before 26 February 2001.
If you are a New Zealand passport holder but you do not meet that criteria, then please check visa options for New Zealand citizens and their family members.