So, you’ve fallen in love, and want to spend the rest of your life in Australia with your partner. What an exciting time in your life!

You may be wondering – how do I make this happen?

Applying for a Partner Visa allows you, as the spouse or de facto partner of an Australian permanent resident, citizen or eligible New Zealand citizen, to live in Australia.

Depending on your location – either offshore or onshore in Australia, you may have different needs and options. We know that, if you are living overseas and your partner is in Australia, you usually want to be reunited as soon as possible!  Finding a solution that allows you to reunite quickly, may therefore be your priority. Others, however, have ongoing commitments overseas that they must deal with first. So determining the right timing and order of actions is important. 

Let’s look at some of the opportunities and restrictions that might apply, depending on whether you are onshore or offshore . 

But first a quick recap of the criteria (read more in our Guidebook “Reunite with your loved one).

  • You must be sponsored by your Australian permanent resident / citizen / Eligible NZ Citizen partner. S/he must have the capacity to provide you with food clothing and shelter
  • You must be in a partner relationship, that is, either married or in a de facto relationship
  • Your relationship must be genuine and continuing
  • You must meet public interest criteria

Ok, so you meet all these criteria? Then let’s move on! 

I’m in Australia and want to apply for a Partner visa

To apply onshore, you must hold a visa that allows you to do so. Some visas may have a ‘no further stay’ condition attached, so be sure to check. Also, it is preferable to apply prior to the expiry of your substantive visa, although there are options for applying with an expired visa as well (best to seek advice about this). 

In applying onshore, you must be ready to also be in Australia at the time of decision. So, think about your travel plans and commitments overseas before deciding whether an onshore application is right for you. 

Once you have validly lodged your Partner visa application onshore, you will be granted a Bridging Visa to allow you to remain lawfully in Australia until a decision is made on your application. 

The type of bridging visa granted will depend on your visa status at the time of lodgement – and therefore may come with restrictions around travel and working in Australia. Understanding this before you apply may influence your consideration of whether or not to apply onshore. 

If you have been lucky enough to obtain a Bridging Visa A, then what happens if you need to visit family back home, or are planning an overseas  holiday? If you have good reasons for travel, then you may apply for a Bridging Visa B to make one or more trips and return to Australia to await your application outcome. 

And a final benefit to most onshore applicants is their eligibility to apply for a Medicare card.

I’m overseas and my partner is in Australia 

For partners who are not in Australia, and either cannot obtain a visa for Australia or choose not to, you will apply for the Partner visa from offshore. An offshore applicant must be offshore both at the time of lodgement and time of decision.

During processing, however, you might like to apply for a visa to visit your Partner in Australia. The Department of Home Affairs, recognising that Partner visa applications can take some time (six to eighteen months), have a policy to facilitate Tourist visa applications in genuine cases. 

But remember, you must be offshore for grant of the Partner visa, then can return on the Partner visa, once granted.

How to ensure your application is approved

It’s important that your application for a Partner visa is carefully prepared and submitted – or there could be delays or, worse still, a refusal. At Aspire Australia, we guide you through the process, from start to finish. We go above and beyond just telling you what documents need to be included. 

Helping you with informative and easy to understand resources is just the first step in our 7-Step Proven Pathway.

At Aspire Australia, we want you to stay focused on the positive things – and not get dragged down by the administrative stress that often comes with preparing a visa application.

With extensive experience in uniting couples for good, you can be assured we know what works and what doesn’t.

Providing strategic advice, we will guide you through the preparation from beginning to end, taking the pain out of the paperwork, to lodge your application approval-ready!

Want more information?

To get started, we invite you to download our Partner Visa Guidebook to help you understand the visa options and process. If you’re ready for a chat, please book an appointment to discuss your specific circumstances!