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All You Need to Know About the Australian Offshore Partner Visa

by Maria Berg
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Partner visa subclass 309 is an offshore visa that will let the partner of an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australia with their spouse. The partner must be outside of Australia when submitting their application and when they receive their visa after the processing time.

All You Need to Know About the Australian Offshore Partner Visa

An offshore partner visa has two stages. The first one is the partner visa subclass 309, which is the temporary visa allowing the partner to inter the country for a specific period. The second stage is the partner visa subclass 100. In this stage, the applicant can lodge a new application for a permanent visa and finally become an Australian citizen. The fee for the first stage is payable at once when you apply for the temporary version, and there is no fee required for the second and permanent partner visa.

The first stage: offshore partner visa (subclass 309)

Partner visa 309 is the first visa that an Australian partner living abroad needs to apply for. It is a temporary visa, and the applicant can live in Australia for 24 months. After that, the applicant is eligible to apply for the final and permanent visa (subclass 100). This is the only natural visa stage available for offshore partners of Australian citizens and permanent residents.

What can I do with partner visa 309?

With the partner visa subclass 309, the applicant can:

  • Live, work and study in Australia with your partner
  • Travel around Australia without any limitation
  • Attend English language classes for adult migrants

Requirements for the first stage (subclass 309):

There are certain requirements that you and your sponsor (your Australian partner) must meet to be eligible for the temporary partner visa subclass 309:

  • Both the applicant and their partner must be 18 or older
  • When applying for the visa, the applicant must not be in Australia
  • The applicant must either be married, in a long-term or in a de facto relationship with their sponsor (partner). Obviously, their partner has to be either an Australian citizen or permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen
  • The applicant must meet and pass the health and character test
  • They must not have any financial debt to the Australian government

Important side notes to take into consideration:

  • The partners can be of the same sex. (No sexuality limitation)
  • If your partner dies or the relationship ends before the applicant is granted a visa there is still a chance to be eligible for one

The second stage: offshore partner visa (subclass 100)

After the applicant is granted a temporary visa (subclass 309). He or she can live in Australia for 24 months and then apply for the permanent partner visa subclass 100. It is the natural offshore partner visa process that every applicant has to follow.

What can I do with partner visa 100?

This phase of the partner visa is considered the second stage. With this visa, you can:

  • Live, work, and study in Australia for as long as you want
  • Become eligible to sponsor family members to move to Australia
  • Apply to become an Australian citizen.

Requirements for the second stage (subclass 100):

There are certain requirements that both the applicant and their partner must meet to become eligible for the permanent partner visa subclass 100:

  • The applicant must already hold a temporary partner visa subclass 309or a Dependent Child Visa (subclass 445)
  • Most of the time, the applicants need to wait out the granted 24 months temporary visa to be considered eligible for the permanent visa.
  • Both the applicant and their partner must be able to provide written documents that support their sincerer and serious relationship
    Important side notes you need to take into consideration:
  • If you can prove that you have been in a long-term relationship with your Australian partner, you can probably apply for a permanent visa within less than two years
  • It is best to be married or in a de facto relationship with your Australian partner (you still might be eligible for the permanent visa if your partner dies or the relationship ends)

What is considered “Married”?

You need the following requirements to be seen as a married couple:

  • Both the applicants and their partners must prove that they are devoted to each other and have shared their life together.
  • The relationship must be genuine and very serious
  • The applicant and their partner must have lived with each other for a period of time and must not be apart permanently
  • Their marriage must be considered valid according to the Australian laws

What is considered “De facto”?

Under the following circumstances, the applicant and their partner are considered to be in a de facto relationship:

  • They are not married
  • The relationship is exclusive, which means they are committed to each other
  • The relationship is strong and continuing
  • They either live with each other or haven’t been apart for a long period of time
  • They can’t be related to each other by family

The Australian department usually asks for at least 12 months of genuine de facto relationship to become eligible for the temporary partner visa. However, there are certain conditions that the relationship can be less than 12 months too.

What is considered a “Long-term relationship”?

If both the applicant and their partner pass the following requirements, they are considered to be in a long-term relationship.

  • They have lived with each other for at least three years or more.
  • They live with each other for at least two years and have a child.

It is possible that after passing all the points mentioned above, you’d be granted the partner visa subclass 100 and live permanently in Australia right after you’re granted the temporary partner visa subclass 309.

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