The Partner subclass 820/ 801 visa allows onshore visa applicants who are married or in a defacto relationship with an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australia.
Applicants submit a combined application for both the provisional subclass 820 visa and the permanent subclass 801 visa. The subclass 820 visa is a temporary visa which allows the holder to live and work in Australia until the subclass 801 application is processed. The subclass 801 application is normally processed around two years after the date of the original visa application.
The two stage processing arrangement aims to minimise potential abuse of the partner visa program by persons who are not in a genuine relationship (please note that there are certain circumstances where a visa applicant can be granted a subclass 801 visa without having to wait for 2 years).
What are the requirements?
The couple must be in a genuine and continuing relationship and must live together, or if they don't, must not live separately and apart on a permanent basis.
The marriage must be valid under Australian law and generally speaking migration law mirrors the Marriage Act 1961 in determining the validity of a marriage.
Defacto relationships must have existed for at least 12 months before the partner application is submitted. However there are certain circumstances where applicants can be granted a defacto partner visa without meeting the 12 month rule. These are :
- Where the relationship has been registered in Australia ( please note that relationship registration is not available in all States and Territories)
- There are 'compelling and compassionate' circumstances
How is the permanent partner visa processed?
Around 22 months after the original visa application was lodged, the Department of Immigration will contact the visa applicant at the nominated address for receiving communications to determine whether the couple are still in a genuine and continuing relationship. The Department will request information to be provided to confirm the status of the relationship and proceed to process the permanent visa application on the basis of the information provided.
If the sponsor of a partner visa applicant has previously sponsored a partner or was sponsored themselves then there may be a limitation which affects the validity of the current partner application and legal advice should be sought before the application is lodged.
Limitations may also apply to holders of contributory parent and contributory aged parent visas as well as woman at risk visa holders.