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Partner Visa Subclass 820/Subclass 309


What is a partner visa?

Partner visas allow spouses and de-facto partners of Australian citizens, permanent residents and eligible New Zealand citizens to live, work and study in Australia. 

The Australian partner visa application process is a two-stage process which includes a provisional and permanent visa. At the time of applying for the partner visa, applicants lodge a combined application for both stages. 

How long does the process take?

Typically, most applicants receive the provisional visa and are eligible for the permanent visa two years from when the application was lodged. Applicants that meet the ‘long term partner relationship’ criteria are likely to be eligible to be granted the permanent visa without having to wait the two years.

The visa subclass for the provisional visa will depend on where the application was lodged:

  • Subclass 820 – visa application lodged in Australia
  • Subclass 309 – visa application lodged outside Australia

How long is the provisional visa valid for?

The subclass 820/subclass 309 visa is valid until an outcome on the permanent visa (subclass 801/ subclass 100) is finalised. The length of time on the provisional partner visa will differ for each visa holder depending on their individual circumstances. 

Most often provisional visa holders will only be eligible for the grant of the permanent visa 2 years after the date of lodgement of their visa application. 

The current processing time for permanent visa applications are as follows:

  • Subclass 801 – 11- 18 months
  • Subclass 100 – 12 -24 months

Therefore some individuals may be on the provisional visa for up to 4 years until an outcome on their visa application is made.

If the permanent visa application is refused and the applicant is in Australia at that time of the decision, the applicant will receive a bridging visa. This will allow them to remain in Australia for a prescribed period until they can make arrangements to leave Australia or have their application reviewed.

Can subclass 820/subclass 309 visa holders work?

Yes, they can. There are no restrictions or limitations placed on their ability to work in Australia.

What should I be aware of as an employer?

The lengthy processing time means that some visa holders may have a breakdown in relationship during this time. This could lead to visa cancellations or refusals which will impact their immigration status and ability to work in Australia. Therefore, their visas need to be checked on a regular basis.