Partner Visas

Did you know you may be eligible for a partner visa if you are married to, or in a de-facto relationship with, an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen? If your application is successful this will result in permanent residence, in most cases after a period of about 2 years.

There are two overall types of partner visas; namely a partner visa and prospective marriage visa. The type of visa for which you should apply depends on the type of relationship you are in, but essentially visa applicants must:

  • Have a mutual commitment to a shared life together, to the exclusion of all others;
  • Have a genuine and continuing relationship; and
  • Live together or not live separately and apart on a permanent basis.

 Your relationship type

For legally married applicants it doesn’t matter if you were married in Australia or overseas. For those married overseas, this would generally be recognised in Australia providing you were both over eighteen years of age and of the opposite sex.

For applicants in a de-facto relationship the rules would generally require you to show that you have lived together for at least 12 months. In some circumstances a shorter period may be adequate, such as having had a child together or if you were unable to live together in your country or if you have “registered” your relationship with a State or Territory in Australia.

Applying for a Prospective Marriage Visa

 For people outside Australia who intend to marry their Australian sponsoring partner after they enter Australia, a prospective marriage visa is also available. It is not available for visa applicants already in Australia.

In these cases an applicant must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have met their sponsor, in person, since they both turned 18
  • Be known to their sponsor
  • Be able to enter into a marriage that is valid under Australian law (that is, there must be no impediment to their marriage).

A prospective marriage visa is valid for nine months from the date of grant. To convert this to a permanent visa in Australia, a prospective marriage visa holder must enter Australia, marry their sponsoring partner and apply for a partner visa in Australia within the nine month period.

Temporary Partner Visas

If you apply for a permanent partner visa, you make a combined application for both a temporary partner and a permanent partner visa at the same time.

The temporary partner visa is usually granted first. It this gives you full work and travel rights in Australia. You should also be eligible for Medicare, but would not be able to access full social security benefits. This lasts until a decision is made on the permanent partner visa and this is generally at least 2 years after lodgement of the partner visa application.

Processing Time Period

Some applications are decided quickly. But currently Partner visas are taking about 9 to 12 months or so on average. Although, this can be longer if (for example) your application necessitates difficult security clearances and this in turn will depend on your place of residence.


There are many rules applying to partner visas and to family migration cases generally.

With the right advice at the start you give yourself the best chance of success and you can also minimise unnecessary delays.

If you would like an experienced immigration lawyer to check your application to make sure it complies with the many rules, please call us on 07 3281 6644 or email