Please also see our new partner visa articles:
- Preparing your supporting declarations and the information that you should include in your supporting statutory declarations
- Detailed statutory declaration example for an Australian partner visa application, covering relevant considerations such as the development of the relationship, financial aspects of the relationship etc.
- Satisfying Schedule 3 and ‘compelling reasons’ requirement if you are lodging your partner visa application in Australia, and you currently hold any bridging visa or you currently do not hold any visa at all
The onshore 820/801 partner visa and offshore 309/100 partner visa will allow you to enter Australia as either a temporary visa holder (while you complete a wait period before you can lodge your permanent partner visa application, which is approximately two years after the date of lodgement of your initial application), or directly as a permanent residency visa holder if your relationship satisfies the long-standing relationship requirements. You can apply for a partner visa either on the basis of a de-facto relationship, or a spouse marriage relationship.
If you are firstly granted a temporary partner visa, then this visa will allow you to stay in Australia until your later permanent residency stage application is decided. You can also travel overseas and return to Australia on this visa.
Your visa application must be sponsored by your Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen partner. Your partner must be eligible to sponsor your visa, which may be affected by the sponsorship limitation requirements. Your sponsor also needs to provide police clearances and character information to demonstrate that he or she satisfies the character requirements for sponsorship, and confirm that he or she will comply with the sponsorship undertakings.
De-facto relationship and 12 month relationship requirement
Unless an exception applies, at minimum, you need to have been in a de-facto relationship with your sponsoring partner for at least a period of 12 months prior to the date of lodgement of your application.
The 12 month requirement will be waived if your relationship is registered with the relevant Australian state or territory government authority. Relationships registries operate in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. You can contact the agency for births, deaths and marriages in your state or territory for information in relation to registering your relationship, or see their relevant website for eligibility and application requirements. You are allowed to register your relationship after you lodge your partner visa application, and this would also allow you to waive the 12 month relationship at the time of application requirement. Hence, you can firstly proceed with lodging your de-facto partner visa, then apply for registration of your relationship and then upload this certificate to your application once this is issued.
This 12 month requirement can also be waived if compelling and compassionate circumstances apply to your application.
Registration of your de-facto relationship with a foreign government cannot be used to waive the ‘12 month de-facto relationship’ requirement. However, such registration can be submitted as evidence of your de-facto relationship.
Both you and your sponsoring partner need to be over 18 years of age at the time that you lodge your application. You and your sponsor also cannot be related (i.e. have a parent in common, or be a descendant or ancestor of each other).
Spouse marriage relationship
You can apply once you are legally married with your partner, either in or outside of Australia, and this marriage is legally valid in Australia. If you were married outside of Australia, then your marriage will generally be regarded as valid in Australia if your marriage is valid in the country where you were married and registered your marriage. You can contact the agency for births, deaths and marriages in your state or territory if you have any questions about the validity of your marriage under Australian law.
Common visa requirements
The following requirements will apply to all partner visa application (i.e. de-facto or spouse relationship):
- You must be living together or, if not, any separation must be only temporary (and you would need to explain how your separation is only temporary if applicable)
- Mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others
- Genuine and continuing relationship with your partner
- Health and character: Primary visa applicant and all members of his or her family unit must satisfy the health and character requirements for the grant of a permanent residency visa. If any member of the family unit fails to satisfy the health and/or character requirements, then the visa applications may be refused for the primary applicant and all family members. Members of the family unit who are not included in the visa application also need to satisfy the health and character requirements, even though he or she is not included in the permanent residency visa application. The sponsor does not have to complete any health examinations or pass any health requirements for this visa application.
Supporting documents for your application
The Department’s online system requires you to pay for the application before you access the next web pages in your Immiaccount which allows you to upload your supporting documents, and also access your HAP ID which is required for your health examinations (using the ‘View health assessment’ link).
You just need to upload clear scanned copies for all supporting documents. You do not need to provide certified or notarised copies unless the case officer specifically asks for this which is generally rare.
You need to organise the following supporting documents for your application (as applicable to your circumstances and relationship), as well as statutory declarations for both yourself and your sponsor which will outline the history and circumstances of your relationship – and English translations if applicable:
|Document type||Relevant documents may include|
|Identification and government issued documents||
|Wedding, engagement and honeymoon related documents||
|Household aspect of your relationship||
|Financial aspect of your relationship||
|Social aspect of your relationship||
|Child or children from your relationship if applicable||
|Character related documents||
Your case officer will place more weight on some forms of evidence/documents relative to others, so it is important to provide the Department with plenty of convincing, organised and understandable evidence of your relationship:
Documents that show joint assets, liabilities, undertakings, bequests etc. Examples include:
- Joint bank account which demonstrates that yourself and your sponsor have both regularly used your joint account for your general living expenses and/or both regularly contributed to your joint savings account (yourself and your sponsor do not both need to be earning your own independent incomes. You can just demonstrate that you and your sponsor have both regularly used your joint account, and explain your financial and work circumstances in your supporting declaration)
- Jointly owned assets such as real estate, investment portfolios, bonds or other investments
- Joint liabilities (e.g. loans, mortgage, insurance)
- Sharing of finances such as regular international transfers, bank transfers or online transfers to each other. This evidence is generally important if you are living apart for a significant period of time during the Department’s processing time
- Any joint undertakings such as a joint lease
- Naming each other as beneficiary of your respective wills, superannuation savings, insurance benefits etc.
This type of evidence is strong because it can be relevant to multiple factors which your case officer needs to consider. These documents usually state both your name and your sponsoring partner’s name, your address and a date. Consequently, these documents can evidence your co-habitation as well as the duration of your relationship. More importantly, these documents demonstrate the joint commitments that you and your partner have made together, such as jointly incurring a loan or mortgage, or ensuring that your assets are left to each other under your wills and/or superannuation savings.
As part of your application, you and your partner confirm that you have a ‘mutual commitment to a shared life (to the exclusion of all others)’. Hence, the Department expects you to share various aspects of your lives with each other, such as finances, liabilities, assets, contractual obligations, sharing income etc.
Child or children from your relationship
Demonstrating that you and your partner are jointly responsible for the care and support of your child or children will likely be seen as strong evidence of your relationship:
- Full unabridged birth certificates
- Evidence of school attendance such as bills, report cards etc.
- Evidence of the child’s or children’s cost of living, such as receipt for clothing, membership with sporting club, education fee receipts etc.
- Evidence that the applicant has the legal right to determine where the included child or children shall live (e.g. court order of custody, divorce decree with custody details) if applicable
- If any child included in your application is adopted, then relevant adoption papers will be required
- Evidence of dependency for any dependant child or children aged 18 years or over included in your application. You will need to demonstrate that any included child or children who are 18 years of age or over are financially dependant on you or your sponsor for his or her basic needs of food, shelter and clothing, and how long this support has been provided. Evidence may include bank statements, money transfers, rent receipts, education fee receipts etc.
You can also include documents generated by third parties/companies/businesses/friends or relatives that are addressed to you and your partner (such correspondence can be addressed to just you or your partner, although correspondence that are addressed to both you and your partner are better). Examples include:
- Bank statements
- Bills, invoices, receipts etc.
- Letters, invitations
- Flight tickets or receipts evidencing your joint holidays or travels
These documents show that you and your partner live together,and also evidence how long you have been living together. In my view, there is a difference between documents that are addressed to you both, and documents that are only addressed to one of you. I have seen case officers take the view that just providing documents that are addressed to you or your partner only is not sufficient. Their reasoning is that there isn’t enough evidence of your ‘shared life’.
So you should really look at everything that you ‘share’ and determine whether you can demonstrate this. Do you have your membership at the same gym? Do you attend the same church? Do you share any other hobbies, classes or activities? If these bodies or companies send you correspondence, ask whether they can send you documents in your joint names. Of course, some of these bodies and companies will be a lot more accommodating then others, but it never hurts to ask.
I would also include third party evidence of your travels/holidays and social activities under useful evidence. Showing consistent travel, vacations and social activities together is good evidence of your shared life and interests.
Regular communication and contact evidence
This category is evidence that you or your partner can directly generate. Examples include:
- Emails/letters to each other
- Social media interaction with each other
- Records of telephone conversations and messages
It is critical that you provide this type of evidence as it adds context, colour and life to your application. These documents also demonstrate several factors which your case officer is required to take into consideration such as the ‘social aspect of your relationship’.
But since this type of evidence is self generated, if you submit nothing but documents under this category, it is difficult for your case officer to confidently conclude that your relationship satisfies the relevant legal requirements. The risk of refusal is particularly high if you cannot provide any evidence in relation to the shared aspects of your lives, such as the financial commitments and obligations that you have together.
Planning your evidence
Now that you have an idea of the types of evidence that you are expected to provide, and the relative usefulness of the different types of evidence, I hope that this will assist you and your partner with planning out your application before you prepare and lodge it. It is a lot easier to prepare a properly evidenced application if you start to plan your application from the moment that you decide that you want to apply for a partner visa (i.e. give yourself as much time as possible to gather relevant and quality evidence, and preparing your supporting declarations).
If you are lacking strong forms of evidence, then you may want to consider delaying your application and taking steps towards organising better evidence in the meantime. For example, you can contact your household utility providers and see if you can change your accounts to joint accounts. You can apply the same principle to your insurance policy, gym membership etc. Sure, this may be a hassle, but showing this level of commitment and the sharing of various aspects of your lives will really make it easier for your case officer to conclude that your application satisfies the relevant partner visa and sponsorship requirements.
Preparing your online forms
You firstly need to create an Immiaccount with the Department’s website before you can access the online forms.
After you log into your account, use the following links:
- New application (top left)
- Stage 1 – Partner or Prospective Marriage Visa (300,309/100,820/801)
- With the sponsorship form (Sponsorship for a Partner to Migrate to Australia (300,309/100,820/801)), you prepare and lodge this after you pay for and lodge your partner visa. You need to lodge a valid partner visa before you can proceed with the online sponsorship form, as you need the Transaction Reference Number (TRN) from your partner visa application when you prepare the sponsorship form
FAQ about online partner visa form
Q: Applicant’s Immediate Family Members section – I don’t have exact details for my parents and/or other family members such as dates of birth, or marriage date. Can I provide an approximate date based on best available information and recollection?
A: Yes this is fine. The same applies for the section asking for the sponsor’s family’s details.
Q: Date committed relationship began AND Date applicant and sponsor committed to a shared life together to the exclusion of all others:
A: Your answers for these dates should be the same. You can both decide your own date for when this occurred based on your relationship history – this doesn’t necessarily need to be the date that you started living together/got married/got engaged etc.
Q: Has the applicant lived separately and apart from the sponsor for any periods of time since committing to a shared life together to the exclusion of all others?
A: You are allowed to be temporarily living apart, as long as you intend to live together on a permanent basis in the future. If you are living apart, then you should provide the Department with an explanation in relation to why you are living apart on a temporary basis (due to visa issues, ability to work, temporary family/business obligations outside of Australia etc.), and when you will be living together on a permanent and long term basis.