The Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309) is the first stage towards a Permanent Partner Visa (subclass 100). An individual can only lodge only one application for their temporary and permanent visas and pay one application charge. Their application is processed in two stages, about two years apart.
An individual must be outside Australia and married or in a de facto relationship with:
- An Australian citizen
- An Australian permanent resident
- An eligible New Zealand citizen.
- Meet health and character requirements
They must be in a genuine and ongoing relationship. They must live with their partner or, if they do not, any separation must be only temporary. Both parties must freely consent to the relationship.
An individual can apply if they intend to marry their partner before a decision on their visa is made.
In most cases, permanent residence cannot be granted less than two years from when the application is lodged. An individual could be granted a permanent visa without having to fulfil the usual two-year waiting period if:
- At the time of application, they have been in a partner relationship with their partner for three years or more, or two years or more if they and their partner have a dependent child of their relationship
- Their partner holds or held a permanent humanitarian visa and they were in the relationship before the visa was granted and this relationship was declared to the department at the time.
The marriage must be valid under Australian law. Underage, polygamous and same-sex marriages are not legal in Australia. The marriage could be valid under limited circumstances if one person is younger than 18 years of age. Same-sex couples can apply for this visa based on their de facto relationship.
De facto applicants:
Their de facto relationship must have existed for at least 12 months immediately before an individual applies for this visa. Time spent dating does not count towards the length of their de facto relationship.
An individual might be granted a visa without having been in a de facto relationship for 12 months if:
- They can demonstrate compelling and compassionate circumstances, such as having dependent children
- Their partner has been granted a permanent humanitarian visa and their de facto relationship existed before it was issued, and they had informed about their relationship before the humanitarian visa was granted
- Their de facto relationship has been registered in Australia (this is not available in all states and territories).
The individual must be older than 18 years of age and not be related to their partner by family. This means they cannot be an ancestor or descendant of one another, or have a parent in common.
What does this visa allow for:
The Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309) allows an individual to:
- Enter Australia and stay here until a decision is made about their permanent Partner visa
- Work in Australia
- Study in Australia, but with no access to government funding
- Enroll in Medicare, Australia’s scheme for health-related care and expenses.
If they are later granted a permanent visa, they can:
- Stay in Australia indefinitely
- Work and study in Australia
- Apply for Australian citizenship (if they are eligible)
- Sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence
- Receive some social security payments
- Travel to and from Australia for five years from the date the visa is granted – after that time they will need another visa to enter Australia.
The visa application charges are listed in Fees and charges.
An individual might have to pay other costs, such as the costs of health assessments, police certificates, or any other certificates or tests. They are responsible for making the necessary arrangements.
Who can be a sponsor:
To be a sponsor an individual must-
- Be an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen
- Be married, be in a de facto relationship with their partner, or intend to marry before the visa is decided
- Be older than 18 years of age.
If they are married and younger than 18 years of age, a parent or guardian must be the sponsor. That parent or guardian must be an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen.
If an individual has been granted a Woman at Risk (subclass 204) visa in the last five years, they cannot sponsor:
- Someone who was their partner when they were granted a Woman at Risk visa (subclass 204)
- A previous partner that the applicant did not tell about when she was granted her Woman at Risk visa (subclass 204).
Limitations on sponsorship:
An individual cannot be a sponsor if they:
- Were sponsored for a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa within the last five years
- Have successfully sponsored two people for migration to Australia on a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa
- Have successfully sponsored another person for migration to Australia on a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa within the last five years.
The sponsorship could still be approved in compelling circumstances, such as:
- The previous partner has died or abandoned the relationship, leaving them with young children
- Their relationship with their current partner has been longer than two years
- The applicant and their current partner have dependent children from their relationship.
Contributory parent visa holders:
There might be limits on the sponsorship if:
- They were granted a permanent Contributory Parent visa on or after 1 July 2009
- They were in a partner relationship on or before the Contributory Parent visa grant date
- Their partner did not apply for the Contributory Parent visa at the same time as they did, or they withdrew that application (before it was finalised).
The sponsorship could still be approved if:
- 5 years have passed since the Contributory Parent visa grant date
- Their partner did not apply at the same time as them due to compelling reasons, (other than financial reasons)
- Their partner applied at the same time as them but withdrew their application for compelling reasons (other than financial reasons).
Best interests of the child
This visa will not be granted if it is against the best interests of a child younger than 18 years of age. There is more information in measures for the protection of children.
In addition to the above-mentioned conditions, there are other factors and criteria to be taken into consideration.