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: 16 March 2020

Temporary visas to apply onshore for a partner visa in Australia

Today’s questions are about other types of visas and how they can help your partner visa applications.

Q. Hi, I got a question about Australian Partner visa subclass 309. If I apply off shore, besides the visitor visa, can I apply for the short term working visa like Temporary skill Shortage Visa subclass 482 to go back to Australia before subclass 309 is issued?

Q. Will it help to answer the question of which visa my partner should go to Australia on first, if we want to apply onshore (not tourist, but any other kind of visitor visa), before applying for partner visa.

Q. Hi there. My girlfriend and I have been dating for over 2 years, most of which has been in Canada, where she (Aussie) came to study and work and where I am from. Now that her visa status is up, I’m considering moving to Australia to be with her. I was thinking of doing a working holiday visa for the year and then doing a prospective marriage or partner visa after, but the processing times are longer than my working holiday would be for. The purpose of the working holiday visa would be so that we could actually be together! Can I apply for a prospective marriage or partner visa so that they can process and then apply for a working holiday visa so I can be with her while it processes? She can’t be in Canada as he doesn’t have work sponsorship! What can I do? What are my options?

We’ve talked a lot about the processing times and how couples can still be together during this really long and stressful time. One way to do this is to apply for other temporary visas if you are eligible for them.

As many readers are aware these can be tourist, working holiday visas, student visas or other sponsored visas or other types of temporary visas that you may be eligible for.

Bottom line, if you are eligible for other types of visas to come to Australia then you may apply for those irrespective of your partner visa application.

Generally, visa applications progress separate from each other.

In an earlier post, we dealt with getting a tourist visa to apply for a partner visa onshore. As explained in that post, a tourist visa is the most common way for many foreign partners to come to Australia in order to apply for a partner visa onshore and obtain a Bridging Visa A. However, there are other temporary visas that you could apply for. The tourist visa or visitor visa is just the easiest one to apply for if you meet the requirements.

This post, we’re going to talk about other temporary visas that you can apply for in order to get to Australia. Once your partner is in Australia, you can apply for a partner visa onshore. However, I do have to warn you that there is NO visa that is solely for this purpose except the Prospective Marriage visa, also known as the Fiancee visa.

Each temporary visa has its own set of requirements and criteria and you must be able to satisfy the eligibility requirements before the visa will be granted. That is, travelling to Australia to lodge a partner visa application is not a reason for a temporary visa grant.

To be absolutely clear, if you write ‘travel to Australia to lodge a partner visa application’ on your temporary visa application, whether it is a tourist visa, a working holiday visa or any other type of temporary visa, you will not be granted a visa.

Just because you have an Australian permanent resident or citizen as your partner does not guarantee you entry into Australia, you will still need to satisfy the eligibility criteria and requirements of the individual temporary visa that you are applying for.

OK, now that that is clear, here are the lists!

Visitor visas

This category of visas is the one that most couples explore in order to get to Australia. These visas grant you temporary entry into Australia, sometimes for multiple times and over a longer period of time. These are the relatively easy visas to apply for as they are straight forward and you can do them yourself. However, each visa type has very different requirements and although straight forward to apply for, they do require different types of evidence.

Once again, these visas are not intended for you to come to Australia in order to lodge an onshore application. Each visa has a very specific purpose and intention and if you cannot satisfy the case officer that you intend to do what the visa allows you to do, then you may have your application denied.

I go through these specific issues in the partner visa book and talk through a few scenarios with examples from my and other readers’ experiences.

These visas are:

Studying and training visas

Once again, studying and training visas are not intended for you to come to Australia in order to marry your Australian partner or to apply for an onshore partner visa application but they are temporary visas that provide you temporary entry to Australia.

Working and skilled visas

I’ve not included these types of visas because they don’t grant you immediate access to Australia and they require their own lengthy visa process. But you are still entitled to apply for any of these types of visas if you are eligible.

For the full list of these visas head to the Department’s website here.

Other visas

These are an odd bunch of visas that are quite specific but nevertheless you may apply for these if you are eligible. They get you temporary access to Australia but each visa comes with its own conditions once granted that may or may not exclude you from applying for a partner visa onshore.

Once you are granted a temporary visa to Australia, and provided there you meet the eligibility criteria again, you may lodge an onshore partner visa application.

That concludes this week’s Thursday Answers.

Until next time,


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Australian partner visa guides download 2019