Partner | Definitions

Sponsorship Limitations and Character requirements

A sponsor who has previously sponsored a partner or prospective marriage visa applicant cannot sponsor another partner or prospective marriage visa applicant until at least five years have passed since the first application was made.

A person who themselves were granted a partner or prospective marriage visa is also prevented from sponsoring a partner or prospective marriage visa applicant until at least five years have passed since they made their own visa application.

A person may sponsor two partner or prospective marriage visa applicants in total.

The sponsorship limitations referred to above may be waived if the sponsor has compelling circumstances affecting them. These include but are not limited to situations where:

  • the previous fiancé or partner has died or left  the relationship, leaving young children
  • a new relationship is formed that is long-standing or involves dependent children of the relationship.

Contributory parent visa holders

A person who has been granted a contributory parent category visa on or after 1 July 2009 is unable to sponsor a partner or prospective marriage visa applicant until at least five years have passed since they were granted their visa,  if they were in a married or de facto relationship with that person on or before the date they were granted the last contributory parent category visa. There are some exceptions to this limitation in compelling circumstances.

Character requirements & police clearances

From 18 November 2016, sponsors of these visa applications will need to:

  • provide Australian and/or foreign police checks when requested
  • consent to us disclosing their convictions for relevant offences to the visa applicant(s).

If the sponsor does not provide this consent, the visa application will be refused. We could also refuse an application if the sponsor does not provide the police checks within a reasonable time. Sponsors can apply for a police check using the application form available from the Australian Federal Police.

A relevant offence is an offence against a law, either in Australia or overseas, involving:

  • violence, including murder, assault, sexual assault and the threat of violence
  • harassment, molestation, intimidation or stalking
  • the breach of an apprehended violence order, or a similar order
  • firearms or other dangerous weapons
  • people smuggling
  • human trafficking, slavery or slavery-like practices (including forced marriage), kidnapping or unlawful confinement
  • attempting to commit any of these offences
  • aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring such offences.

This does not include convictions for relevant offences that have been quashed or otherwise nullified or pardoned.

We will not refuse a visa application if a sponsor has convictions for a relevant offence but does not have a significant criminal record. We will, however, disclose the convictions for relevant offences to the visa applicant(s) to help them make an informed decision about continuing with their application.

A sponsor is considered to have a significant criminal record if they have been sentenced to:

  • death
  • imprisonment for life
  • a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more
  • 2 or more terms of imprisonment, where the total of those terms is 12 months or more.

If a sponsor has convictions for a relevant offence and a significant criminal record, we must refuse the visa unless we assess that it is reasonable not to. When making this assessment, we will consider all the circumstances of the application. This could include, but is not limited to:

  • the length of time since the sponsor completed the sentence(s) for the relevant offence(s)
  • the best interest of any children of the sponsor or primary visa applicant
  • the length of the relationship between the sponsor and primary visa applicant.

If we refuse a visa application, the visa application charge will not be refunded.

We urge you to consider carefully what effect, if any, these changes might have before you lodge an application.

Applications lodged before 18 November 2016

The changes do not affect visa applications lodged before 18 November 2016, even if your sponsor lodges their sponsorship form on or after 18 November.

If you already hold a Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309) or Partner (subclass 820) visa on 18 November 2016 and are waiting for a decision on a Partner (Migrant) visa (subclass 100) or Partner (subclass 801) visa, these changes will not affect you.

Sponsorship undertakings & obligations

As part of his or her sponsorship of a partner visa application, the Australian citizen or permanent resident sponsor (or eligible New Zealand citizen) undertakes the following obligations:

  1. Responsible for all financial obligations which are owed to the Australian government which you may incur while in Australia
  2. Provide you with reasonable accommodation and financial assistance while you are the holder of a temporary partner visa
  3. Provide you with financial and other forms of support (e.g. childcare) that are required to allow you to attend any English classes that you need
  4. Help you settle into Australia by providing information and advice, including help with finding a job
  5. Immediately notify the Department if your relationship ends or if your sponsor withdraws his or her sponsorship for your application

Long-Standing Relationship

You would need to demonstrate that at the time you lodged your application, if you had been with your partner for either:

  • three years or more
  • two years or more and you and your partner have a dependent child of your relationship.

You will need to provide documents that show you have been in your relationship for this length of time and if applicable, that you have a dependent child.

This is a time of application requirement, which means that you cannot satisfy this requirement after visa lodgement during the Department’s processing time.

Client reviews


rosie · September 17, 2019 at 2:49 pm

Hi, i just got enggaged with my boyfriend and moved with me a month ago, he’s job is fly in fly out. Im wondering if we can apply for a de facto visa while we saving up for a big wedding next year, is there any chance we can do that? Thanks

    My Access Australia · September 22, 2019 at 8:18 am

    Hi Rosie,
    Sorry but I would need to refer you to our consultation services if you need such advice that is personalised for your history and circumstances.
    Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service.

Girlie · September 5, 2019 at 8:36 pm

Hi, I’m Separated for 2 years now, but not divorced yet, I’m with new relationship and I’m thinking to sponsor him as defacto relationship, is it possible?

    My Access Australia · September 7, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    Hi Girlie,
    You can sponsor under a de facto relationship while you finalise your divorce.

      Girlie · September 8, 2019 at 9:29 am

      Im a bit confused with your reply, so I need to be divorced first? Thanks

        My Access Australia · September 15, 2019 at 1:49 pm

        You can lodge the partner visa first but generally speaking, the Department will need the divorce certificate before deciding your application.

Troy May · August 6, 2019 at 11:26 pm

Must the Australia citizen sponsor have a minimum source of income to qualify as sponsor in Partner VISA?

My wife and I have been legally married for over 6 years in the USA. Before that, while I completed my Masters at Uni Adelaide, we lived de facto for over two and a half years. And for five odd years before that, I have a dozen Passport stamps showing I have visited no other place in Australia than my wife’s home in Adelaide.

    My Access Australia · August 7, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    There isn’t any income test for the sponsor.

Belle · July 11, 2019 at 11:03 pm

Hi, i have a valid tourist visa until feb 2020 and just recently been back in Phil after staying 3 mos with my partner and our son. We’ve been together since feb 2018 and been seeing every 3 mos. now our plan is for me and our son to come back in aust by end of 2019 or early jan 2020 and file for partners visa onshore. If given the bridging visa, does it mean that i can stay in aust until a decision is made to my partners visa application considering my tourist visa ends in feb 15, 2020? Thnx

Jules · July 6, 2019 at 2:38 pm

Hi, we have been in a defacto relationship for 3.5 years now. I was previously on a student visa but am now looking into changing to partner visa. I understand that the 2-year waiting period can be waived away, as we have been together for over 3 years. How long does it usually take for this visa to go through? Thanks

Charlotte Pet · June 20, 2019 at 1:46 am


I was wondering if I am able to work/live in Oz while the 309 visa is processing, or if it is better to get a working visa then apply for the 801 visa while in Oz?


    My Access Australia · June 24, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    Hi Charlotte,
    There is no bridging visa associated with a 309 which would allow you to work and live onshore. If you lodge offshore you will need a work visa, otherwise you can only come here on a Visitor Visa with no work rights. If you lodge onshore you will then be granted with a bridging visa in association with the 801. Once your substantive visa has expired this will allow you to work and live onshore. Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your partner visa options.

Brad · June 14, 2019 at 9:56 am

I am a UK citizen, my partner is an Australian citizen, we have been in an exclusive relationship since March ’17 but I have been working in the US for work for 18 months. She moved here with me then went to the UK for a job opportunity and we have been travelling every month to see each other for the last 6 months.

I am going to move back to the UK so we can be together and we hope to move to the Australia at the end of 2020.

Will I be eligible for a 309 partner visa?


    My Access Australia · June 14, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    Hi Brad,
    You need to be in a committed de facto relationship for at least 12 months before lodgement:
    Sounds like you may be able to apply but I’d need to have a look over your history and documents.
    Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service if you would like further advice about the partner visa requirements.

Sam · March 24, 2019 at 10:01 pm

I am an Australian Permanent Resident , very recently married to Canadian Permanent Resident.
I understand my options are :

1- Apply for Spouse Visa 309 first and apply for tourist visa 600 then after
With risk of rejection of the 600 visa

2- Apply for 600 visa first and when she is here I apply for 820 visa and she will be granted a bridging visa while waiting for 82
what option should i go with ?
thank you

Jaymarie Winkler · October 8, 2018 at 6:27 am

My Australian partner and I recently got married on September 9th, 2018 in Las Vegas. We met each other June 2016 in London. We have been an exclusive couple since October 2016 (living together starting January 2017) . I had to move back to my hometown San Diego, California in May 2018 because me work visa expired. He is still in London and we would like to start the partner visa application asap so we can both relocate to Sydney, Australia. Do we qualify as a long standing relationship?

samina mm · August 30, 2018 at 5:08 pm

Do my sponsor need to live in Australia at the time when I lodge my application? Because we have been living in Norway for three years now and want to move to Australia.

    Peng Cheng · August 31, 2018 at 10:33 am

    No the sponsor can be living outside of Australia, such as in the situation where the applicant and sponsor are living together outside of Australia.

Comments are closed.