Online Partner Visa Applications – Frequently Asked Questions

Partner visas are one of the most popular types of family-sponsored visas, attracting many applications each year from couples wanting to make a life together in Australia.

These visas enable Australian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their partners, so they may ultimately be entitled to permanent residency as well.

Despite the popularity of this visa type, there are many potential pitfalls which could apply to prospective applicants. Read on for our helpful answers to the most frequently asked questions about submitting online partner visa applications.


Do we need to be married to apply for a partner visa?

Although being married is an obvious way of demonstrating that you are in a legitimate relationship, it is not an essential criterion for submitting an application for a partner visa. The most common way of proving that you are in a spouse-like relationship if you are not married is to show that you are living together as de factos.

You can also apply for a prospective spouse visa (subclass 300). Couples who have already registered with an Australian marriage celebrant are entitled to apply for this category of visa. If successful, you will be awarded a nine-month visa with work and travel rights, on the condition that you go through with the wedding and apply for a partnership visa in that nine-month period.


How do we prove that we are in a relationship?

If you are not married and are relying on proof of your de facto relationship to support your partner visa application, you will normally need to show that you and your partner have lived together in an exclusive or marriage-like relationship for at least the preceding 12 months.

In addition to proving that you live together, the Australian Department for Immigration and Border Protection will take into account a number of factors. These include:

  • Factors proving cohabitation including mail which is addressed to one or both of you at the same address, utility or other bills in both of your names, and other evidence of joint property (such as a lease agreement or finance contract).
  • Evidence of joint financial resources including joint bank accounts or nominating each other as beneficiaries of superannuation and insurance policies or wills.
  • Proof that your friends and family consider you to be a couple. This includes how well you know each other, whether there is any evidence of your relationship on social media, any photographs of you together, or evidence of you spending important occasions together.

The same factors will be taken into account even if you are legally married.

You may be able to avoid the 12-month cohabitation requirement if:

  • You have registered your relationship with an Australian state or territory government (only applicable if one or both of you are already resident in that state or territory).
  • You and your partner have a child as a result of your relationship.
  • You are not allowed to live together in a de facto relationship according to the laws of your country of origin.


How do we avoid the waiting period?

Generally, applicants for partner visas are initially granted a temporary partner visa, which lasts for two years from the date of lodgement of the visa application. Once those two years have elapsed, you will need to prove that you are still in a relationship with the same partner.

In certain circumstances, you may be able to avoid the two-year waiting period and be awarded a permanent partner visa from the beginning. Broadly speaking, these circumstances include if you have been in a relationship with your partner for at least the preceding three years, or if you have been in a relationship for the last two years and have a child with your partner.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will not award you a permanent visa simply because you are eligible in these circumstances – it is important that you apply for a permanent partner visa to avoid being issued with the temporary visa first.


What if we have children from previous relationships?

If you have children that are still under the age of 18, they can be included in your partner application for entry into Australia, on the condition that you have obtained the consent of their other biological parent.

Even if you do not intend for your child to come to Australia with you, you must still advise the Australian Government of their existence, as the government may still undertake character and police checks of them. It is important to bear this in mind, especially if obtaining the consent from your child’s other biological parent to interviews or the provision of other information is likely to be difficult.


We are already in Australia – how could this affect our application?

If you apply for a partner visa while onshore, it is expected that you are already in Australia on a longer term visa without any “no further stay” condition. This means that if you are already supposed to leave the country at the expiration of your current visa, you will most likely not be eligible to apply for a partner visa.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to making onshore applications.

On the positive side:

  • If you are onshore, you will likely be granted a bridging visa so that you can remain in Australia while the application is being processed – which could take between 12 and 15 months. This means that you will not need to be separated from your partner for that period.
  • If awarded a bridging visa, you will most likely be entitled to work and obtain basic medical care through the Medicare program while you are awaiting a decision on your partner visa application.

However, on the downside:

  • Offshore applications are generally processed much faster (over a timeframe of only nine to 12 months) so you could be delaying things by lodging while onshore.
  • If you make an onshore application, you will not be allowed to leave Australia while you are awaiting a decision (except with a bridging visa B).


This is not our first involvement in a partner sponsorship – what happens now?

If you have previously sponsored a partner for entry into Australia you must wait five years before you can sponsor a different partner – and you can only sponsor two different people in your lifetime, for obvious reasons.

If you were previously sponsored as a partner to enter Australia, you must also wait five years before sponsoring a new partner yourself.

In certain circumstances, you may be able to demonstrate “compelling grounds” which remove or alter the waiting periods, but this is at the discretion of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.  


What health factors may be taken into account?

If you have applied for a partnership visa, then all family members seeking entry to Australia will need to be subjected to health checks. It is usual for the Australian Government to conduct these checks on all prospective entrants to Australia, and if one person fails the test, then the entire family is generally refused entry.

However, in the case of partnership visas, you may be able to obtain a health waiver. This can be granted if the applicant establishes that:

  • If there is a significant cost in treating a medical condition, the cost isn’t “undue.”
  • If treatment of the medical condition relies on any scarce medical or community resources, these are not provided to the detriment of any Australian citizens relying on these resources.


What if we have previously been refused a visa?

If you are onshore and on a bridging visa when lodging any visa application and it is refused, you are generally prevented from applying for any further visas under what is known as the section 48 bar. However, partnership visa applications may avoid the section 48 bar, as long as the prior refusal was not in relation to an application for a partnership visa.


Should we include partners in applications for permanent residency?

If you are trying to achieve permanent residency to Australia (via a different visa like a skilled visa), it is generally advantageous to include your partner in the same application.

This is because:

  • Adding a partner to a permanent visa application for skilled migrants attracts a cost of $1,800 – as against the $6,865 application fee for a partner visa.
  • If your application for a skilled visa is successful, both you and your partner will immediately be granted residency (avoiding the two-year waiting period).
  • Skilled visa permanent residency applications are processed more quickly, with general skilled migration applications generally only taking three or four months until completion.
  • On the flipside, a Skilled Visa may not be a possible option for you if you have a low point score. The partner visa may be a better option in this case.

Applying for a partner visa can be extremely complicated, particularly when seeking exemptions under various categories. We recommend that you obtain appropriate advice from a registered migration agent to maximise your chances of a successful partner visa application.

  1. andrew

    Hi Eugene my name is Andrew and I’m from Australia My Partner is from Nepal and we are experiencing this issue we have checked all the details and still seem to be getting this error.

    • What is the error message which you get?

  2. Felicity

    I just applied for the offshore visa with my partner on the 19th of july 2014. We were wondering how long it takes to be assigned a case officer if we applied in america as that is where my partner is from. Thanks looking forward to hearing from you. :)

    • Hi Felicity, case officers take about 6 months to be assigned. If you are looking for advice, please refer to our online consultation.

  3. Hayley

    I currently reside in Australia and will need to leave the country shortly to apply for an offshore partner visa, due to current visa restrictions. In order to prevent delays, I plan on doing the medicals while still in Australia. I listed my Austrlian address on the Health Declaration. Is this likely to cause an error message on the online offshore application? Should I notify the department of the change of address before applying? Thanks for any assistance.

    • Hi Hayley,

      Yes you should be notifying the Department of any change of circumstances.

      • miilee

        Hi there, I have applied my partner visa, later apply tourist visa too but it got refusal because insufficient evidence of genuine visit reason but case office inquiry about overstay in Korea for longer period of time, will this affect my partner visa ?

        • If I read your question properly, you say you have also overstayed in Korea?
          Your immigration history in other countries may be used to assess your risk of overstay in Australia and therefore your visit visa was refused.

  4. christie

    i was trying to submit my 47sp form online. and its asking me for payment whereas we had allready paid the visa fees at the time of file lodgment . 2 years back. cant proceede any further. please help

    • Hi Christie,
      We won’t be able to help with technical errors for non clients. Please refer to the DIBP website for help.

  5. Bibek

    Hi I applied my partner offshore visa and try to attached the document. But now it’s says unable to attach the document maximum number of files allowed has been reached … How can I solve this issue I have still need to put more other document …how can I delete the uploaded document ? Pls advice me as soon as possible

    • Hi Bibek,

      We are unable to help on technical issues if you are not a client. Please contact DIBP for these issues.

  6. Mark

    I am an Australian citizen and wish to apply for my wife (Chinese) to reside with me in Australia via subclass 309 Partner Visa. Can i confirm that i may apply and complete all applicable forms online?

    Thank you for your help

    • Hi Mark,

      I am unable to give any advice based on the limited information you have provided. If you need help, we are able to provide you with comprehensive and detailed advice based on your circumstances with our online consultation.

  7. thanh

    I apply online visa100 for my wife but can not proceed as page 4 eventhough i checked carefully Id name DOB…
    Any helps appreciated

    • Hi Thanh,

      I will not be able to help on technical issues when you are not a client. Please contact DIBP.

  8. oliver bbrown


    my wife has sumbitted her 47 form do i need to create a new immi account to fill in the 40s form or use the same immi account that she used for her application?

    Many Thanks

  9. Phil

    Please Eugene Liu
    A Prospective marriage Visa 300 application was lodged offshore together with a 47SP and a 40SP.
    The 300 has now been received. And what a shock to find we must now do an application for a 820 which also seems to need the 47SP and 40SP. Is this duplication necessary. A lovestuck guy needing his soulmate.

  10. Dinky

    I am currently on 573 visa and my vusa grant letter is not showing any “no further condition”.i got married to Australian citizen and now when we are applying for spouse visa is showing an error msg. If you can help me for this.we are very worried for this problem.

    • Dear Dinky,

      You will have to contact the department directly for any technical errors on your application.

  11. Joel

    I recently submitted and paid for my online partner visa application successfully. The critical information page was completed correctly, all dates were correct and matched my passport, however under “my applications summary” my birthday is shown incorrectly (off by 3 days). Just wondering how to fix this? I dont want there to be any confusion or potential delays to be caused by this error.

    • Hi Joel,

      We are only able to help our current clients with technical errors. This is because you will be required to give us a specific authority to act on your behalf. Please contact us if you wish to do this.

  12. Bee

    Hi, It is time to lodge permanent visa, my husband and I are going to lodge after the issue date (13/05/2015) due to we could not gather documents in time. What is the risk?

    • Dear Bee,

      It sounds like you need some advice on this. Please order a consultation and we will be able to guide you through your issues.

  13. Amer

    my wife is overseas and I have applied for her partner visa online, would that be considered as lodged in Australia for processing purposes. as its 8 months if Lodged in Australia and 12 month if Lodged outside Australia.

    kind Regards,

  14. sandeep

    we have applied 309/100 visa online on 18th april, still have not received acknowledgement….how much time it will take? plz reply if anybody know?

  15. SHAN

    Hi Eugene, my name is Shan, my wife has stayed in Australia for more than 2 years, she is trying to apply for a Class BC (Partner – Residence) (subclass 100) as a new application on line, and she got stuck on Page4, the confirmation issue, could you please help us out, does the application ID mean to be the ID NO. when she applied for the temporary visa( VISITOR (Class FA) VISITOR(Subclass 600))?
    Thanks very much.

    • If she is onshore, she should not be applying for the 100 as that is an offshore visa.
      I suggest that you contact us for help.

      Also, it looks like you are applying only for the permanent stage visa, without having applied for the temporary stage as well. What you are doing is all wrong. Again, you will need help on this. You may order an online consultation for quick ad hoc help.

  16. Sindy

    Hi Eugene,

    Im currently on the second stage of partner visa application 820/801. Not long ago, I got an email from DIAC, saying that my permanent residency will be considered since It has been 2 years from my temporary visa grant.

    I was asked to provide some documents and what I am wondering is if there will be time limitation for me to lodge the application?

    Thank you.

    • There is a 28 day limit to give a response to the Department. However, I have not tested the time limits of the permanent stage spouse visa as we always provide documents pretty quickly.

  17. Ahmad


    I was trying to upload the form 47sp for my wife partner’s visa, I couldn’t upload it because of the weight of the file, finally when i fixed the problem with the weight of the file, now the option where form 47sp could be attached has disappeared. I tried to contact the department as well but I couldn’t succeed. It is been just a couple of months that visa is been lodged and the payment is been made. what do you think would be the solution ?
    I appreciate you suggest me a solution for it.


  18. Natalia

    Hello have a question. I am married to an Australian city and I want to apply for partner in Australia are now in Romania it. before we married we were in Australia in 2014-2015.I applied with long visa.. visitor and visitor visa. to go to my husband, and after that we plan to apply for a partner visa in Australia,,,I of course refused to visitor visa to apply to have a prayer partner tell me … that my husband can apply it to Australia for me ?.and if you can not apply online partner visa can apply?Kindly give me a response as possible … thank you so much!!

    • Hi Natalia,

      We only help with Australian visas here. If your husband is an Australian PR or citizen, we may by able to help with a partner visa for Australia.

  19. Natalia

    If filing for a partner visa. shortly submitted for Visitor Visa to not stand apart from each other I think it is possible to accepote Visitor Visa? or lodge and visitor visa in Australia and only when you get to submit to partner visa? you say go right?

    • Hi Natalia,

      A partner visa application may be made while on a visit visa, as long as you are not limited by a ‘no further stay’ condition. Also, you will of course need to be eligible for the partner visa. I would need to perform an eligibility assessment for you before I am able to provide any advice to you.

  20. Anca

    I do not understand is why im not i approve of Visitor visa moment when I actually want to stay in Romania with my daughter still about 2 years…They saw that I did not want to stay there for now.I want her to finish the eighth grade here in ropmania, learn very good. and has activities that make them 5 years (singing and dancing in TV),,afraid that if I want to emigrate, I do not think that without filing for visa fumble gata..Am partner and was in Australia.I met all the requirements that you require when you approve visa, Australian .I came out 3 times, after which I returned to Romania on to my daughter and mother. i do not understand why I do not approve of visitor visa ???

    • You should have received a visa refusal letter which states the reasons for refusal.Please read it carefully. I’d suggest using a translator.

  21. Khushbu

    Hi Eugene,
    Appreciate you taking out time to respond to everyone’s question.
    My husband already has a PR for Australia and we need to apply for our partner visa – now I am in dilemma whether to apply an offshore visa or onshore visa and what could be the implications. Though i understand the difference between the two categories. Just worried what could be the implications.

    • Hi Khushbu,

      If the application is made onshore, you will have a right to review if the application is refused. Offshore applications will not have this right. However, depending on your visa, you may be barred from applying onshore.

  22. Muddasir

    Hi Eugene,

    Iam an Australian PR holder and sponsoring my wife for a partner visa. She is already in the country on a temporary visitor visa and has no conditions on her current visa. We have completed the online application but haven’t submitted yet as the document review is in process.

    Appreciate your time and effort. Please do reply.
    My questions are:
    1) Do we need to upload/attach the 40SP and 47SP in the document checklist again as we have filled the similar information online?
    2) Should all the documents be signed by JP/Local police?
    3) As she has lived in India for long should the Original police certificates be obtained from India or Australia?
    4) Should we get the medical tests done post the application or wait for the CO?
    5) Should I make a WILL to support the application?

    Thanks a ton,

    • Hi Muddasir,

      Please order a consultation for your questions to be answered. Professional advice is provided at a very reasonable rate.

  23. tim

    Myself an Australian, i wanto apply for a partnership visa with and for my partner who is German. The question is do we need to pay the full amount before we even start getting looked at?
    Can we apply and start the process of the aplication but pay the amount later on before finalised?

    • My fees are split up into monthly fees which makes it easier on my clients.
      However, the visa application fee will have to be paid in full for the visa to be considered at all.

  24. Ricky casey

    I’m needing some help
    On my immiaccount me and my partner have paid for our defacto visa and submitted the applacation but on the immiaccount I have somehow selected remove on it and I can’t get it back is there any way to get it back ?

    • I’d suggest you get in touch with technical support.

  25. sam

    hi eugene,

    i am an australian citizen and my wife looking to apply for partner visa 309 from sri lanka. but at this stage we struggling financially for the application fee. we can pay that whole amount after one month. so i just want to know whether is it possible to lodge partner 309 application first and pay the fee after one month?

    • Hi Sam,

      I do have flexibility in my service fees. However, the actual visa application fees need to be paid in full for a valid submission.

  26. Sodra

    Hi, I have applied online for Partner visa and its says that its received. When i go to edit my application there is section where is my name and where i can attach my documents and under my name is my husbands (sponsor) name where he can attach his documents as evidence. we attached everything we had includin hand writtern Form 40sp for sponsorship scanned and attached… but i have read Partner migration booklet and i saw that my partner has to apply Sponsorhip for a partner to migrate to Australia and it says that he needs my TRN number to complete that Sponsorship. and now im not sure does he has to complete this application , and does he need after that to send all documents again which he already sent at my application in the section where is his name.

  27. Bhandari

    Hi Eugene. I received an email from immigration for 2nd stage for my partner visa in Dec 2015. I will be elligible in Feb 2016, however accidentally I submitted in Jan 2016 as I was worried that I would miss the deadline. What happens next? I lodged my first stage partner visa in Feb 2014. Now I have submitted online application, what am I supposed to do? Is it a good idea to remove that application? Will doing that affect my current visa status? Thank you


    Hi Eugene,

    Thank you for the informative FAQs. I have saved your website as a Favourite. I have a question I believe you can provide an answer for.

    My partner (Italian) and I (Australian), currently holding 820 visa, are preparing our online application for the 801 visa which will be eligible for submitting around July 2016.

    My question is – will we be able to submit our online application from outside Australia? We plan to be travelling outside Australia when we will be eligible to submit our application.

    Looking forward to hearing from you Eugene!

    • There are two types of partner visas – onshore and offshore. The correct subclass has to be applied for. If you need advice, please order an online consultation.

  29. Gur

    Hi Liu …… Im trying to apply my partner 820 visa file and she is in Australia on tourist visa without no further stay once I complete all file online and submit and status shows incomplete. Edit the application and complete all the forms . But I did already. Thanx

  30. Michelle

    Hi, we are in the middle of applying online for partner visa (subclass 309). I wanted to add a comment to supplement part of the application (further explain something). Does the online application have a ‘additional information’ section at the end where we can do this? or is there anything in the application that allows us to do this?

  31. dung

    Hi Eugene
    Im australian and applying for 309 visa online for my partner who is in vietnam. Can I take photos of the Certifed documents and upload them. Im a little confuse as how I upload them.

  32. Heidi

    hi! I deleted an entry in the supporting witnesses for a partner visa application. now it wont let me go past the page saying “errors” and wanting me to add details….

    • I’d suggest contacting DIBP’s technical support.

  33. Ha

    Hi, I just submitted the partner visa. I have already finished all the 60 files of my applicant which is 47sp. And I still have some value documents that I need to attach, but the file is limit. So is that possible if I attach my files though my partner applicant which is 40sp form.

  34. kaim

    My friend who was migrated to Australia in 2013 on subclass 100 visa can sponsor someone else as partner now as he has already taken divorce from his earlier partner. The condition of five years counts from their date of lodging file or getting visa

    • I’d suggest your friend make an enquiry.

  35. John

    Hi guys, a silly question pardon my lack of knowledge with this visa’s . There is a question. Do you have a DIBP Client ID number (CID)? Is the DIBP client number the same as the TRN?

    • The client number is different from the TRN. You should have both.

      • Sheryl santiago

        Hi Eugene Liu,
        I woould like to ask a question, i apply for prospective marriage visa and i recieved email from embassy asking for my certificate of no marriage. Recently i have requested for the said documents last may 2016.. But now after i requested it was reflected that i have certificate of marriage now, which the ecensus forward to embassy,, my question is does this my cause of visa refusal????

        • You need to sort this out with the embassy if ecensus sent the wrong document.

  36. Nim

    Hi There, I have a quick question.
    I am Currently Holding partner visa 820, and my situation is i have applied onshore Partner visa in
    820/801 applied -24/08/2013
    820 granted- 08/09 /2014
    801 applied – 24/ 08 /2016
    As it has been 13 months and 12 days since i have applied for 801 visa and there is no contact from immigration so far and i am travelling overseas for a month in October and also my partner is travelling to overseas as well on end of November. So Basically i am bit worried that what happen if they cancel my visa while i am in overseas?
    Am I still be eligible to come back and apply for review?
    As they say decision can be finalised when you are overseas?
    Do they usually make decisions ( cancel) while applicant is in overseas?
    I would really appreciate if you Could give me some suggestions from your experience.
    Many Thanks

    • The processing time for partner visas has gone up significantly recently. The Department seems to be having problems with staff. You should contact them with your query.

  37. Yasas

    Hi Eugene,

    I’m a Australian citizen. My wife is currently on a visitor visa subclass 600 for 1 year multiple entry.
    With no further stay. We are going back to our ountry to lodge her 309, what will happen to the current multiple visa when she applies 309 visa? Will it get cancelled?

    Also if we consult you will you be able to lodge this application for us.

    Kind regards

  38. Cathy

    Hi Eugene,

    I am under sponsorship visa 457, was granted in Sept 2016, only 3 months ago (However, I would like to change to another company to have better career advancement). My partner was granted PR in August 2016 under his ex-wife sponsorship, marriage broke down due to family violence and he was the victim of the family abuse, they had no children. We met during his deep emotional damage in 2015 after two yrs separate from his ex. Fortunately his partner visa appeals was successfully.

    Passing thru all difficulties time to together, we’ve have planned to get married next year and have purchased new property together, we wonder if he can sponsor me under his current PR due to his compelling circumstance (victim of family violence) and all genuine evidences that we have? We aware that there is restriction of his sponsorship eligibility as he was grant PR under partner visa. He was granted 820 visa in August 2013. Thanks for your helps.

  39. Daud

    Hi Eugene,
    I got married recently and want to apply Partner Visa for my wife. However, after visiting multiple websites I came to know that it’s taking up to 12 months of processing time. My wife wants to visit me earlier and I am thinking to apply a Visitor visa for her in addition to the Partner Visa. However, I am not clear which visa should I apply first: Partner Visa or Visit Visa? Can you please guide me in this regard,

    • Hi Daud,

      Please put in an enquiry and we will discuss this.

  40. mark

    Hi Eugene I am an Australian citizen (born here 1979) and my fiance and I are currently applying for a Marriage Visa subclasses 820 & 801 and cannot go any further past page 4 due to this message (The related application details provided cannot be verified, check the details and amend if necessary. The applicant will not be able to continue and should review the eligibility information on our website.) Is there some way i can find out what the issue is as we are leaving the country early next week and need to process it before we leave.

  41. John

    Hi Eugene I am John here . I applied 309 offshore visa for my wife from India. Currently she is in Australia and have received out of Australia email . We have replied to the department with out intented date and country of travel as Indonesia . But have’nt recived confirmation should she leave Australia without email confirmation from the department ?

  42. khan

    Hi Eugene
    I am currently on 573 visa , me and my partner are living together since last 8,9 months , she have got government housing but officially i dont have any proof of we living together coz house Leese is under my partner name , could we consider this tome for defacto visa or we need to move out to another joint leese property because on current one i cant put my name .

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