Australian partner visa

A Visitor’s Ultimate Guide to Australian Partner Visa 2024

From Visitor to Resident: Insider Tips for Applying for an Australian Partner Visa

Applying for an Australian Partner Visa can be a long, and often-times, daunting prospect.

Even with the processes in place to ensure that the applicant and sponsor are able to demonstrate that they are in a genuine and continuing relationship, it is a very difficult undertaking for both applicant and sponsor.

Both will normally have their lives changed in a dramatic way, for the applicant especially as they must often find a way to transfer their livelihoods and move considerable distances to a new country in order to start their new lives.

But, even within this framework there is considerations to be made if someone wants to apply for an Australian Partner Visa in Australia whilst they themselves are the holders of a visitor visa. 

Introduction to Australian partner visa from a visitor visa 

Australia’s Partner Visa offers a pathway for individuals visiting the country to stay and live with their Australian partner.

Transitioning from a Visitor Visa to a Partner Visa is a significant step toward building a life together in Australia.

Subclass 600 Visitor Visa Conditions

While you can apply for a subclass 820 temporary Australian partner visa onshore (in Australia) from a visitor visa, there are some conditions that need to be examined to ensure that there are no issues barring your ability to do so.

First and foremost, subclass 600 visitor visa may be granted with certain conditions that will forbid the ability to make another valid visa application in Australia.

The condition 8503 ‘No further stay’ states that a visa holder “Will not, after entering Australia, be entitled to be granted a substantive Visa, other than a protection visa, while the holder remains in Australia”.

This means that after entering Australia, the applicant is unable to apply for any other visa subclass (except for protection visa) unless the 8503 ‘No further stay’ condition is waived by the Department of Home Affairs.

A separate application must be lodged with the Department of Home Affairs requesting the removal of this condition based on exceptionally strong grounds. Contact VISA LOUNGE team if you require assistance with the waiver application. 

This is not the only condition that can be imposed that will impact the chances of a visitor visa holder being able to apply for another substantive visa, such as a Partner visa.

The other condition that can be applied to a subclass 600 visitor visa that can be a detriment to any attempts at applying for a substantive Visa is condition 8531.

This condition states that the visa holder “Must not remain in Australia after the end of the period of stay permitted by the Visa.” This condition means that in the event that an applicant wishes to remain in Australia after the end of their visa period, they will not be able to and must instead return to their country of origin.

It is important to note that these two conditions are discretionary for visas granted under the tourism stream, not mandatory; this means that the conditions may be imposed at the discretion of the case officer depending on the applicant’s circumstances. However, both conditions are mandatory for visitor visas granted under the sponsored family stream.

If you are stuck with these conditions, the simplest solution (but in most cases not the ideal solution) would be returning to your home country and lodging for an offshore subclass 309 partner provisional visa. This variant is like the subclass 820 Australian partner visa, except that the applicant must be outside of Australia when the lodgement is accepted and at the time of grant.

However, provided either of these conditions are not present on your visitor visa, there should be no issue in lodging a combined subclass 820 temporary partner Visa and 801 the permanent stage while you are in Australia.

Other conditions that must be imposed on visitor visas under the tourism stream are 8101 ‘The holder must not engage in work in Australia’ and 8201 ‘3 months study’.

The visa holder must comply with these conditions to ensure that they will have no issues down the track with the partner visa application.

Subclass 601 Electronic Travel Authority Visa (ETA)

This visa is available for certain passport holders only. For individuals that hold a subclass 601 Electronic Travel Authority Visa – ETA or a subclass 651 eVisitor visa, the process of application for a subclass 820 and 801 is identical and the visa holders do not need to worry about condition 8503 because this conditions is not imposed on these tourist visas.

Timeline and waiting period 

The processing times for a Subclass 820 are one of the other issues that a prospective applicant is likely to run into. While the lodgement of a successful Australian partner visa application is an important first step, the global processing times are known to vary depending on the purpose of the application as well as the visa subclass. The subclass 820 temporary partner visa is presently one of the visas with the longest processing times.

At present, the shortest time that it will take to be processed is approximately six months. However, this is a very slim chance as only around 25% of all applications for this visa subclass are processed within that amount of time. At current estimates, it is outlined that 90% of all applications for this subclass will take approximately 36 months to be processed.

As all applications are judged on a case-by-case basis, this means that the length of time that an application will take to be finally decided will vary considerably depending upon the individual case along with other factors that may influence the department’s decision.

Bridging Visa A – Work Rights, Study and Travel Flexibility 

On successfully applying for a combined Subclass 820, and subclass 801, you will be required to go onto a Bridging Visa A, subclass 010 for an extended period (more precisely during the processing of the partner visa application).

This bridging visa comes with no conditions, meaning that you can:

  • work full-time without any restrictions,
  • study any course, and
  • access the Australian health care system, Medicare.

There are different types of Bridging Visas that are all utilized for different situations, but all of them enable for a holder to legally remain within Australia until the approval of another visa or the resolution of circumstances that may have kept them stranded.

A bridging visa A is given to those who have lodged a valid Australian partner visa application whilst you are the holder of a substantive visa, either a subclass 600 visitor visa or an ETA visa.

This bridging visa allows the applicant to remain in Australia until a decision has been reached on the new Australian partner visa application.

The bridging visa A comes into effect at the expiration of the visitor Visa. Same mechanism applies if you hold an ETA visa. 

Permanent Residency through Australian Partner Visa 

Two years after you have applied for your Australian temporary partner visa, subclass 820, you will need to lodge your permanent residency application, to allow the Department of Home Affairs to grant the subclass 801 permanent partner visa.

The processing time for a permanent partner visa will start from the date when the initial partner visa application was made, generally being two years after the successful lodgement of the combined temporary and permanent partner Visa applications.

The processing times of a permanent partner subclass 801 are lesser than a temporary partner visa but are still a considerable investment of time compared to many other visa subclasses. In the best possible scenario, a permanent partner visa will be approved within 7 months. However, this is only true for around 25% of current applications.

The processing times can change over time however if you lodge a partner visa application with the assistance of a registered migration specialist, there will be no unpleasant surprises down the track.

Additionally, it is likely that the processing time will be less than the published global processing times due to the fact that a registered migration specialist will always make sure that the visa application is lodged as a decision ready application.  

Celebrating the approval of your Australian partner visa

Upon approval of the permanent residency stage, the partner visa holder has permanent resident status including unlimited work rights, access to Medicare, social benefits, study any course and unlimited travel.

Importance of professional assistance for a successful Australian partner visa

It is important to understand what conditions your Australian visitor, tourist, eVisitor or Electronic Travel Authority visa have so that you don’t unintentionally act in a way that is detrimental to you successfully lodging a Partner Visa application in Australia.

Contact the registered migration specialists from VISA LOUNGE to assess your eligibility for an Australian Partner Visa and

  1. ensure all required documents are complete, genuine and uploaded to the correct item of the online checklist
  2. submit your visa application well before the deadline to allow for any unforeseen delays
  3. ensure you meet all eligibility criteria for the visa category you’re applying for
  4. answer all questions on the application form thoroughly and comprehensively
  5. respond promptly to any requests for additional information received from immigration authorities

As experts in Australian immigration, VISA LOUNGE AUSTRALIA can help you navigate the application process effectively and tailor a strategy suitable for your circumstances. For more information about our visa services, please visit our Partner and Family Visa page.

FAQ Australian Partner Visa 
  • Can I apply for a Partner Visa while on a Visitor Visa in Australia?

Yes, it’s possible to apply for a Partner Visa while on a Visitor Visa.

  • What documents are crucial for the Partner Visa application?

Evidence of the genuine relationship, financial documents, and health assessments are essential.

  • How long does the Partner Visa application process take?

Processing times vary but can range from several months to over a year.

  • Is professional help necessary for the application?

While not mandatory, seeking professional guidance can streamline the process.

  • What happens after the Partner Visa is approved?

After approval, visa holders can live, work, and study in Australia and apply for permanent residency.

Published by Maddie Phillips

Australian Immigration Law Specialist with over 12 years experience, I provide high touch immigration solutions for businesses and individuals, all aspects of Australian immigration law. OMARA Licenced, Member Migration Institute of Australia and Australian Human Resources Institute.

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