Australian Spouse Visa, Partner Visa – 309 Visa FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions: The 309 Visa

The 309 Visa is an offshore partner visa that provides a direct pathway to permanent residency in Australia. The 309 visa is for those who are the spouse or de facto partner of an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident and allows you to live and work in the country while the permanent 100 visa is being processed. You must apply for and be granted the 309 visa while you are outside of Australia, however, recent concessions due to Covid-19 will allow 309 visa applicants already onshore in Australia to remain in the country to be granted the visa.


Below are some of the most frequently asked questions for the 309 visa.


Q: Is the 309 visa a permanent visa?

A: The 309 is a provisional visa and is the first step towards the permanent Partner subclass 100 visa. Generally, you will be eligible for the 100 visa two years after the date you originally lodged the 309 visa. You must hold the 309 visa in order to be granted the 100 visa and should not apply for any other visa as it will replace the 309.


Q: Can I be granted the 309 and 100 visa simultaneously?

A: You may be eligible to have the 100 visa granted simultaneously with the 309 visa, provided that you can establish that you have been in a ‘long-term relationship’ with your partner at the time of lodgement. A long-term relationship is defined as a de facto or spousal relationship for at least 3 years, or 2 years in the event that there is a dependent child of both you and your partner. The authority to grant the permanent 100 visa immediately after the provisional 309 is discretionary and may not be enforced or appealed.


In our experience, the 100 visa will generally be granted with the 309 visa if you can sufficiently establish your long-term relationship with strong documentary evidence.


Q: Do I need a travel exemption if I have been granted a 309 visa?

A: No, you will not need a travel exemption to enter Australia if you have been granted a 309 visa. You will still be subject to quarantine arrangements so you must ensure that you comply with the requirements of the State or Territory in which you are entering.


Q: What is the processing time in 2021 for a 309 visa?

A: The Department’s website advises that the 309 visa will be processed between 18 and 23 months, however, the Federal Government announced that priority will be given to processing the overwhelming volume of partner visas currently in the backlog. For the remainder of 2021, the Department is committed to reducing the estimated processing time for partner visas, and in our experience, have been responding within several months of lodgement. If you are eligible for a partner visa, we would recommend that you seriously consider lodging sooner rather than later to take advantage of the current processing time.


Q: Am I entitled to any benefits from the Australian Government?

A: The 309 visa is technically a temporary visa so you will not be entitled to any of the benefits enjoyed by permanent residents. You will, however, be eligible to enrol in Medicare from the date you arrive in Australia, as the application must be lodged while you are offshore.


Q: Can I travel to Australia while awaiting a decision on my 309 visa application?

A: Subject to current travel restrictions, there is nothing preventing you from entering Australia while your 309 visa is processing, although the genuine temporary entrant criteria will continue to apply to certain temporary visas. As the 309 is an offshore application, you would generally be required to depart Australia in order for the visa to be granted, however, the government has recently announced a temporary concession to alleviate the difficulties of those 309 visa applicants already onshore in Australia. The concession allows certain offshore visas, including the 309, to be granted while the visa applicant is inside Australia.


Q: Can I work on a 309 visa?

A: The 309 visa grants full and unrestricted work and study rights. There are no limitations or conditions attached to this visa which affect your work rights in Australia.


Q: Can I travel while holding a 309 visa?

A: Again, subject to current travel restrictions, you may travel on a 309 visa.


The 309 visa is the first step towards permanent residency and ultimately provides a pathway to Australian citizenship. If you believe that you may be eligible for a partner visa or would like to know more information, contact No Borders Law Group to arrange a free initial assessment.


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We will help you by exploring visa options and securing application. As part of our services, we will assess the eligibility of the application for a partner visa and help you to get out of the abusive relationship and provide you with detailed advice on your chances of success. If you would like to discuss your visa options and evaluate the pathway to permanent residency, please make an enquiry or book a consultation to get expert advice with one of our knowledgeable and experienced Migration Lawyers on 07 3876 4000 or email: [email protected].

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