Skip to main content

Love and marriage – understanding the partner visa


An Australian partner visa is for individuals that are married or in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen. You can apply for this visa in Australia or outside Australia but must either be in a de-facto relationship or married.

There are 2 stages to a partner visa application.

Stage 1 – Subclass 820 or Subclass 309 – This is the first visa that is granted after the application. It is a temporary visa.

Stage 2 – Subclass 801 or Subclass 100 – This is the permanent second visa, the applicant is eligible to apply for the permanent second stage two years after applying for the first one. .

If your application is based on a marriage,  the marriage must be legal, the parties must provide evidence of genuine and continuing relationship, you must be legally married to an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen.   

If your application is based on a de facto relationship you must have been in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen for at least 12 months prior to lodging your application or have registered your relationship in a State or Territory in Australia.

In addition to the above, both parties must be in a mutually exclusive relationship and must either live together, or live apart on a temporary basis only.

It is important to continue to update your application with any changes to the relationship or with more information/evidence. Examples include further evidence of assets purchased in both names, the birth or adoption of a child, holidays together, and any breakdown in the relationship. 


Sponsor Obligations:

It is important to note that the sponsor (the Australian spouse) has obligations that they need to comply with before and AFTER the visa is granted.

To be an eligible sponsor, before the visa is granted, the sponsor must:

  •     be an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen
  •     not have previously sponsored more than one other fiancé, partner, or spouse for migration to Australia, and not have sponsored a fiancé, spouse, or partner for migration to Australia within the last 5 years (unless there are compelling circumstances) 
  •     not have been sponsored for a Spouse, Partner or Prospective Marriage visa by someone else within the last 5 years (unless there are compelling circumstances)
  •     provide police clearance certificates for each country in which he/she has lived for at least 12 months during the last 10 years AND consent to the disclosing any conviction for a ‘relevant offence’ to you and any family members included in your application

Note: A relevant offence includes, but is not limited to offences involving violence, intimidation, breaching a protection order, people smuggling, human trafficking and dangerous weapons. A sponsor  will NOT be eligible to sponsor your visa application if he/she has a conviction for a relevant offence AND a significant criminal record. See –


Examples of evidence to include in your visa application:

  1. SOCIAL – Evidence that confirms that your relationship is known to  your friends and family, and that they view both of you as a couple.
  2. FINANCIAL – Evidence that confirms that you and your spouse/partner share financial commitments and responsibilities. A joint bank account alone is not sufficient, there should be evidence that you are both responsible for different financial commitments etc.
  3. COMMITMENT – Evidence, documents or photos that show that you are both mutually committed to each other.
  4. HOUSEHOLD – Evidence that  shows that you and your spouse/partner share responsibilities within your household. If you are living apart on a temporary basis, then provide evidence of your long term plans to live together permanently.

Partner visa applicants sometimes find it difficult to  document every area of their relationship. They find the visa application process invasive and do not understand how to provide evidence of an aspect of their lives that is, in their view, spontaneous and intimate. Holidays and dinner dates become potential evidence and this can be difficult for some couples to process.

Some complications that may arise in the course of an application includes but is not limited to, when the sponsor or applicant has a criminal conviction, if either the sponsor or applicant has sponsored or was sponsored within the last five(5) years, if there is evidence of Domestic Violence or the relationship breaks down after the first stage has been granted, death of a sponsor,  insufficient evidence provided for an application. In some cases, there may be potential family law or criminal law issues, such as unresolved conflict, domestic violence allegations, intervention orders, or divorce process with an estranged  spouse.

A partner visa application is a complex application, we understand the process and the unique difficulties each couple will encounter in their partner visa journey.  It is best to seek advice early on in the process to give you the best chance of a successful and stress free application. 


To get personalised advice on the best course of action for securing a partner visa, schedule a free 15 minute appointment with CA Legal & Migration. We will take the time to understand your situation and provide preliminary guidance on next steps.


Don’t tackle this process alone. Let us take care of it for you and get it done right.