Key Steps to Applying for a Partner Visa in Australia


Partner Visas, often known as de facto visas, are a pathway forward for partners and spouses of Australian Citizens, residents, or eligible New Zealand Citizens residing in Australia.

The process involves two stages. Initially, applicants secure a Provisional Partner Visa, categorized as Subclass 820 for onshore and Subclass 309 for offshore applicants. Upon meeting the requirements for the provisional partner visa, applicants must fulfill a residency period in the country. Subsequently, couples undergo assessment for eligibility for the permanent Partner Visa, which is further divided into two categories: Subclass 801 Visa for Subclass 820 visa holders and Subclass 100 visa for Subclass 309 visa holders. These visas cater to both heterosexual and same-sex couples seamlessly.

Under the Partner Visa Stream, applicants can be sponsored by their Australian spouse, de facto partner, or interdependent partner.

Sponsors must be Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents, or eligible New Zealand citizens aged over 18 years.

If you’re considering marriage, a prospective marriage, or have a de facto relationship in Australia, exploring Partner Visa options could be your next step towards migration. Need assistance navigating the complexities of visa applications? Consider consulting with one of our migration lawyers for expert guidance tailored to your unique situation.

NB Migration Lawyers are here to give you the best chance of a successful Partner Visa application. Click here for your free consult.

Discover the key steps to a successful Partner Visa application in Australia below.


After receiving a temporary Partner Visa, it remains valid until the Australian Immigration Department reaches a decision on your permanent Partner Visa application. Upon approval of the permanent Partner Visa, you can stay in Australia permanently.

How it works

The Partner visa is a crucial pathway for the spouse or de facto partner of an Australian citizen or permanent resident to stay in Australia.

Typically, the applicant is initially granted a temporary visa (for example, 820 for onshore and 309 for offshore applicants), with the opportunity to apply for permanent residency if the relationship remains exclusive, genuine, and ongoing after the two-year waiting period. The 820 and 309 visas do not have an expiry date. It is valid for a ‘stand-down period’ of approximately two years from the original application’s lodgement. It allows you to remain in Australia with full-time work and study rights until you become eligible to apply for the 801 or 100 visa. You will be eligible for permanent residency 2 years after lodging a successful temporary partner visa application. You will be required to provide further evidence to the DHA to establish your eligibility for permanent residency, and you may be onshore or offshore when your permanent visa is granted.

The time it takes the DHA to process your application depends on its processing time service standards and varies according to the complexity of your case, perceived risk factors and processing priorities. The current estimated visa processing timeframes are available on the DHA’s website.

Different Types of Partner Visas

Partner Visas

Australia offers three types of visas designed for sponsoring your partner; these are:

  1. Prospective Marriage Visa (Subclass 300);
  2. Partner Visa Offshore (Subclass 309/100); and
  3. Partner Visa Onshore (Subclass 820/801).

Prospective Marriage

This visa is designed for Australian citizens and permanent residents who plan to sponsor and marry their partner from overseas and settle in Australia. It provides a secure and stable pathway for your partner to enter Australia with full-time work rights. The application will mainly focus on the genuineness of your relationship and intention to marry. After your marriage ceremony, the visa holder may be able to continue their journey towards Australian permanent residency through a Partner visa.


There are two stages:

  1. Stage 1: Temporary Partner visa; and
  2. Stage 2: Permanent Partner Visa.

Both temporary and permanent partner visas allow you to work, study and stay in Australia, and you may be eligible for Medicare.

Processing Time for Partner Visas in Australia

Although there is no specified duration for processing Partner Visa applications, on average, it takes between 16 to 24 months for completion. However, the processing period for Partner Visa applications varies due to several factors, including:

  1. Whether the application includes sufficient information and supporting evidence;
  2. Promptness in responding to requests for additional information; and
  3. Time required to obtain information from external sources beyond the immigration department’s scope, such as health and biometrics examinations and character checks.

It is advisable to apply for the Partner Visa well in advance of your planned travel or migration date to ensure sufficient processing time.

Additionally, refrain from making travel arrangements, such as ticket bookings or lodging, until you receive a positive outcome for your application.

General Requirements

If your application is based on a marriage:

  • 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 (unless there are compelling or compassionate circumstances)
  • You and your partner must both be at least 18 years old, and must not be closely related

In all cases:

  • You and your spouse/partner must be in a mutually exclusive relationship
  • That relationship must be genuine and continuing
  • You and your spouse/partner must either live together, or live apart on a temporary basis only

Individual Requirements

This visa allows you to travel to Australia to marry your intended spouse and then apply for a Partner Visa. For individuals engaged to an Australian citizen, permanent Australian resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen, the Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visa, also known as a fiancé visa, is the preferred option. To obtain this visa, the other partner must reside outside of Australia at the time of application.

Partner Visa Offshore (Subclasses 309/100)
  • Partner Visa 309
  • Partner Visa 100

You can apply from overseas. This visa permits the partner or spouse of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen to reside in Australia. You apply for both the Temporary and Permanent Partner Visas concurrently.

Partner Visa Onshore (Subclass 820/801)
    • Partner Visa 820 (Temporary Partner Visa)
    • Partner Visa 801 (Permanent Partner Visa)

    The most sought-after de facto Partner Visa options are Subclass 820 and Subclass 801, both of which are onshore Partner Visa programs. As for offshore Partner Visas, one can apply to obtain Subclass 309 and Subclass 100. These options are most suitable for individuals in a long-term de facto relationship with an Australian permanent resident or New Zealand citizen.



Our Services


Our experienced migration team offers professional assistance throughout the entire visa process. We support you through every stage, from understanding your options to submitting your application, and advocating for you if there are any issues.

Family Visa

Partner & Family Visa Understanding the various visa options for partners and family members planning…

Student Visa

Student Visa Australia This visa is for students who wish to pursue their studies in…

Worker Visa

Worker Visa Australia Australia has a range of visa options, both temporary and permanent, designed…

Business Visa

Business Visa Australia For successful business owners, investors and senior executives who wish to settle…

Decision Review

Migration Review Tribunal Any decisions that the Delegates of the Minister (Case Officers) make in…

Other Visa Options

Other Visas In Australia, several types of visas cater to different needs and circumstances, making…

Do you qualify for a Visa?

We Do the Legwork

NB Migration Law has over 25 years experience and our skilled lawyers from countries all over the world, know exactly what it is like to go through migration and live as a migrant in this country.  That’s why we are so dedicated to supporting you through the visa process, bringing awareness and empathy to the emotional strain that can often go along with making such a big life change.  We untangle confusing legalities and save you time, money, and stress from unnecessary delays. We partner with you to make sure you have the right visa for your situation and a clear migration pathway.

NB Migration offers a number of migration services:

Book a free consultation today and let us help you find a way forward.