Australian partner visa answers

Thursday Answers are a response to questions submitted by readers on our regular Ask Mondays posts.

Every Monday I ask people to send in their questions and concerns and I select one to answer. In doing this, I hope you will see that a) you’re not alone in this, b) there are no stupid questions and c) we’re all here to help!

Last updated: 17 January 2021

I’ve grouped together a few examples of the common questions I’m getting and they’re generally in the vein of whether getting married will help a partner visa application or whether they should apply as defacto partners.

Q. Will the book guide me what to prepare if I want to get married with my partner?
I am a permanent resident and we plan to get married maybe after July.

Q. I’m here on a tourist visa and planning to get married soon. What should I do, is the book for me?

Q. Hi just wanted to know which is the best idea to do? Partner visa or getting married?

Q. Are there partner visas for students in Australia?

Q. Should I get a partner visa or a prospective marriage visa to Australia?

OK so I think there are a few issues here and misconceptions around which visa to apply for and how the book would help with each.

Firstly, if you plan to marry your partner and your partner is not in Australia yet, then you can apply for a Prospective Marriage visa which is sometimes called the fiancée visa. This allows your partner to come to Australia and marry you within 9 months of the moment they land in Australia. Then you will apply for the Partner Visa onshore.

If you are already onshore by whatever means (temporary visas including working holiday, student, tourist or even sponsored business visas) you can apply for the Partner Visa (820 and 801).

To qualify for a partner visa, you must either be married to your partner or be in a defacto relationship with your partner. So although the question of when you want to marry your partner may determine which visa you apply for (whether you’re onshore or offshore) but in terms of process of proving your relationship, there are no significant differences.

There may be slight differences, such as in a married relationship, there’d be a marriage certificate that you’ll need to provide as evidence but aside from that, the 4 aspects of the relationship need to be satisfied whichever kind of relationship it is.

Being onshore and wanting to apply for a partner visa is not a special or unique circumstance. A lot of people come to Australia first with a tourist visa to either see how they like living in Australia or to simply visit their Australian partners. A lot will then decide to stay with their Australian partner by applying for a partner visa.

The book goes through this exact situation regarding tourist visas and this post also deals a bit about the tourist visa issue.

The only thing that the book won’t do is to tell you whether to marry your partner or not. That is a personal decision and as far as I’m concerned, whether you marry your partner or not is not relevant to the partner visa process because you can apply as a defacto couple in a registered relationship. In fact, most readers that I’ve had the pleasure of talking with apply as defacto couples by registering their relationships. I have only encountered a handful who are married or wish to come to Australia to get married.

Bonus question – because we can!

In a related note:

Q. To register a relationship, do both people in the relationship need to live in Victoria for 3 months or just one?

Registering a relationship is one method of getting around the 12 months of living together requirement for defacto relationships. But not all States and Territories provide this mechanism for migration purposes, for example, Western Australia allows registration of relationships but for the time being it is not fit for migration purposes.

Registration of relationships is available to everyone now, including same-sex couples who do not wish to get married (although you can now!)

The short answer to the question is that only one of you has to be a usual resident of the State and it doesn’t even have to be the Australian sponsor.

For more details read this post regarding registration of relationships.

That concludes this week’s Thursday Answers.

Until next time,


P.S Don’t forget to send me your questions! Use the contact form here or send us an email.

P.P.S Sign up for the newsletter too if you want exclusive hints and tips not shared anywhere else.

If you’ve found this post helpful, join our mailing list to be the first to know about more hints and tips. Once a month I share a partner visa secret exclusive to our list. Don’t miss out on the tip that could make or break your application.

Australian partner visa guides download 2019