Australia Onshore Partner Visa (subclass 820 & 801)
The Onshore Partner visa applies to de facto couples as well as married couples who are located in Australia at the time the visa application is lodged. Usually the Department of Home Affairs will first grant a two year temporary visa, before granting the permanent residence visa.
This visa is suitable for a married partner, a de facto partner, or same-sex partner of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen.
If granted, this visa will allow a married partner, a de facto partner, or same-sex partner to travel to and enter Australia.
- Visa applicants
- Visa Holders
This is a temporary visa for a partner of an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen. It is usually valid for two years.
This is a permanent visa for a partner of an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.
Below is a list of what you can do with each of the different onshore partner visas:
Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 820)
- stay with your partner in Australia until a decision for a permanent visa has been made
- work in Australia
- you may study in Australia, however you will not have access to government funding, you will be considered an international student and will be required to pay international fees upfront for tertiary study
- enrol in medical benefits expenses and the hospital care scheme
Partner (Migrant) visa (subclass 801)
- stay with your partner in Australia on a permanent basis
- work or study in Australia
- enrol in medical benefits expenses and the hospital care scheme
- you will become eligible for certain social security payments
- you can apply to become a permanent citizen of Australia (subject to residency eligibility criteria)
Who can apply for the Onshore Partner visa?
Applications can be made by individuals who are sponsored by an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen. After holding the 2 year temporary visa, you may be eligible for the permanent partner visa.
The Department of Home Affairs has a list of eligibility criteria which stipulate who is eligible for this visa. When applying for this visa, you must be in Australia. For further information about eligibility please continue to the
Meeting the visa application requirements
If you apply for this visa it is your responsibility to provide adequate evidence of a genuine relationship. If your case officer is unsatisfied with the evidence or quality of the evidence provided, you may be subject to a visa refusal. In this case, your application fee will not be refunded.
Producing an incomplete or insufficient application will often result in a visa refusal. If you are unsure of what is required to make a successful visa application it’s highly recommended to seek advice from a registered Australian immigration consultant.
Usually your sponsor will be your partner. An eligible sponsor must be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen.
Married applicant requirements
It is required under Australian Law that your marriage is legal. A marriage in a country other than Australia will generally be accepted as legal if the marriage is valid in that country.
Underage, polygamous and same-sex marriages are not accepted in Australia, however same-sex couples will be considered as a de facto relationship for the purposes of this visa.
De facto applicant requirements
To be eligible for a de facto visa, you must be at least 18 years old at the time the application is submitted.
The relation between your partner and you must not be family orientated. This means that you must not:
- be a relative of one another i.e. descendant or ancestor
- have the same parents
If you apply for an Onshore Partner visa there are two main categories your application will fall under – a married application or de facto application. Ensuring that you meet the criteria for the application category you fall under will help you achieve a successful outcome.
You must be able to prove to the government that your marriage is legal. Same-sex, under-age, or polygamous marriages are not legal in Australia.
De facto application
You must be able to prove that your relationship is genuine and ongoing. Detailed information about the relationship criteria for this type of application is listed under relationship requirements.
Married relationship requirements
In a married relationship, it is required that you and your partner can demonstrate that your relationship excludes all others and that you have a mutual commitment to each other.
You and your partner will be required to live to together on an ongoing basis, any separation between you and your partner can only be temporarily i.e. a business trip or family visit abroad.
There are some exceptions to this. In certain cases, you may still be considered eligible to apply for, continue being an applicant or be granted a visa in Australia if:
- the relationship between you and your partner ends and both of you have custodial rights under the Family Law Act 1975 over any children under 18 years old
- your partner passes away, and you are able to prove that your relationship with your partner would have been continuing had your partner not passed away and you have been able to develop close ties with Australia
De facto relationship requirements
You and your partner must have been in a de facto relationship for at least 12 months prior to making the application.
The one year relationship requirement may not apply if the applicant can establish that one of the following circumstances exists:
- you are able to demonstrate compelling and compassionate circumstances, such as if you and your partner have children together
- you are able to demonstrate that all of the following apply:
- your partner currently holds, or did hold, a permanent humanitarian visa
- before your partner’s permanent humanitarian visa was granted, you and your partner were in a relationship that meets the requirements of a de facto relationship
- the Department had been informed of this prior to granting the permanent humanitarian visa
You and your partner must have a genuine and continuing relationship and show a mutual commitment to a shared life together, to the exclusion of all other.
You and your partner must be living together on a permanent basis, or, if not, any separation must be on a temporary basis only.
For the initial visa you will be required to undergo a health examination, however if an examination has already been carried out you are not likely to have to undergo further examinations.
The health examination is critical because it:
- helps reduce and constrains public spending on health and community services, which also affects social security, pensions and allowances
- reduces the threat of the Australian community being exposed to potential health risks and illnesses
- improves access to health care and community services in short supply
Generally all visa applicants must meet the health requirements, and sometimes their dependents must also meet the requirements, regardless of whether they are migrating to Australia.
In certain cases where a condition or disease has been identified which requires a follow up medical check, you may be required to sign a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (MOC). In this case you will need to sign a Health Undertaking to meet the health requirement.
Every visa applicant is required to meet the character requirements set out by the Department of Immigration before entering Australia.
Character requirements for temporary and permanent migration
To be considered good of character, you will be asked to provide police clearance certificates for every country that you have lived in for 12 months or more in the last 10 years since turning 16 years of age.
The information provided below only applies to the Partner (Temporary) visa (Subclass 820). If you have already been granted this visa, the Department of Home Affairs will issue a check-list when you are eligible to apply for the permanent visa.
Note: Original documents should only be supplied on request (penal clearance certificates must be original), and all foreign documents must be translated, preferably by an accredited translator.
Proving your identity
You must be able to prove your identity by providing a certified copy of your birth certificate. If you do not have one, you must provide certified copies of the identity pages of at least one of the following:
- family book showing both parents’ names
- ID documentation provided by the government
- document issued by the court that verifies your identity
Evidence supporting your relationship
You will be asked to provide evidence that you have met in person and that you plan to marry. Evidence may include photos, witness statements, letter from celebrant, and NOIM form.
Health and character clearance
You will be required to undergo a health examination, as well as provide original penal clearance certificates for countries you have lived in for 12 months or more in the last 10 years.
The Department of Home Affairs only accepts documents that are translated into English. It is therefore your responsibility to ensure that documents are accurately translated.
Only certain people can witness a Commonwealth statuary declaration. If you cannot find a suitable person, all departmental offices outside Australia have facilities to witness statuary declarations, although you may be charged.
Application process for temporary and permanent visas
When you apply for these visas, you apply for both of them at the same time by completing and submitting one application.
- a temporary Partner visa (subclass 820) may be granted if you meet the legal requirements for this visa. The temporary visa will remain valid until a decision for the permanent visa has been made
- if after the waiting period, you still meet all the legal criteria you may be granted a Permanent partner visa (subclass 801)
In certain cases, a permanent visa may be granted without having to wait the two year period if you can demonstrate that:
- you have been married or in a de facto relationship for more than three years at the time of application
- you have been married or in a de factor relationship for more than two years and you have a dependent child in that relationship
- you were in a relationship with your partner before he/she was granted a Protection visa or permanent visa under the humanitarian program, however this should be declared to the Department of Home Affairs at the time of the application
You must sign a sponsorship undertaking if you wish to sponsor your partner’s visa application.
After signing the sponsorship undertaking, the following applies while your partner is in Australia on this visa:
- you will be fully responsible for any financial obligations to the Australian government that your partner may incur
- in order to meet your partner’s reasonable living needs, you are required to provide satisfactory accommodation and financial assistance following the grant of their temporary Partner visa (usually for a two year period).
- you will provide any support required to enable you partner to take part in English lessons
- you must provide any advice which will help your partner settle in Australia i.e. employment opportunities
- in the case that your relationship comes to an end or you stop supporting your partner before the application is finalised, you must notify the Department of Immigration immediately
Provided you are 18 years or older, you will be required to sign an Australian values statement. This statement is included in your visa application form. All applicants which are 18 years or older with be required to sign this form in order to confirm that you will respect the Australian way of life and Australian law.
Before signing this document, it is required that you have read, or have had explained to you the book on Life in Australia, which is provided by the government.