Partner Visa Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions about the Australian Partner Visa. Am I eligible to apply for a partner visa to Australia?

Partner Visa Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Questions on the Australia Partner Visa

Can I come to Australia without a visa if I’m in a relationship with an Australian?

No you cannot. Everybody requires a visa to enter Australia unless you’re an Australian or New Zealand citizen. You automatically get it upon entry but if you’re married or in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident that doesn’t give you the automatic right to enter Australia. You will require a visa.

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.

Can we get married by email?

No partner visa application has so far been lodged with a marriage by email or Skype although it would be an interesting case. The balance of opinion is that marriage by email or Skype would not satisfy Australian marriage legislation. In this instance a Prospective Marriage Visa would perhaps be more appropriate.

But do remember just getting married alone doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to be able to have that spouse enter Australia because you have married they’ll still be considered a temporary visa holder and you’ll also still have to show all the relevant evidence that you’re living together in a committed married relationship.

What is a de facto relationship?

De facto relationship criteria can be confusing. Many applicants think that because they’re living as boyfriend and girlfriend or same sex couple they are automatically in a de facto relationship and this isn’t the case.

A de facto relationship is one that you are committed in and you live together on a permanent basis and not are separated on a permanent basis. The requirement is exactly the same as a married couple.

So, a de facto couple shares a household, shares financial responsibility and doesn’t just stay at each other’s homes or travel back and forth to one another. And certainly while may be recognized by your family and friends as a couple it may still not be what’s deemed to be a de facto couple.

Partner Visa processing time

I’ve already lodged my own application but I haven’t had a response from the department of Immigration.

Processing times for the Partner Visa are 18 to 24months. However, these time frames can stretch dramatically if you’ve submitted the wrong information, or if the supporting evidence is incomplete. You will not know if there is an issue with your documentation until after the application is allocated to an Immigration Case Officer.

That doesn’t mean they’re going to be working on your application for the next 18 24 months. It means it’s sitting there in a queue and don’t expect to be responded to or given a follow up as to where you are in the queue or a status to your application until a case officer is physically allocated to your application.

You won’t hear a thing and that’s when they will either grant your visa or come with requests for further evidence. They’re not going to contact you until they’re allocated to your application and that may take 12 to 24 months.

Should I apply onshore or offshore? What’s the difference?

Applicants in Australia may apply for an 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.

What if the sponsor has sponsored someone to Australia before?

You may not be able to sponsor your partner if you have previously sponsored two 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.

Do age gaps matter in partner visa applications?

It is all about showing that you are in a genuine, committed relationship.

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.

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 considered but that alone doesn’t evidence a genuine relationship. Pregnancy doesn’t provide any priority in processing.

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’s 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.

Can I work on a partner visa in Australia?

Yes, the partner visa holders have full work rights in Australia.

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.

Migration Consultant at Migration Consultant LLC | Website | + posts

Alexander King is a leading authority in the field of migration, holding a prominent role as a Head of Compliance at Migration Consultant LLC ( With years of expertise under his belt, King has guided countless individuals and families on their journey to immigrating to Australia and Canada, shaping countless lives with his professional advice and in-depth knowledge of immigration law and procedures.

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