Key criteria to qualify for a partner visa

Proving a genuine relationship exists sounds easier than it is. How do you prove that two people are in a genuine relationship?

It is not enough to just say well we are in a relationship to the Department should just accept that. They are sceptical because all too often fraud has occurred.

The onus of proof falls on the applicant to demonstrate the existence of a genuine relationship to satisfy the Department for approval of a partner visa.

And then there is the length of time – is it 12 months? Is it 6 months? Is there any time period required if the relationship is registered?

And then there are the other criteria such as visa status, health and character, dependent children and approval to migrate them to Australia, impediments such as previous marriages and other technical requirements all of which can have catastrophic results if not respected and addressed appropriately.

Don’t leave it to chance. Get an expert on the case and allow us to take the stress off your shoulders. Contact us for a no obligation discussion about how we can help you with your partner visa.

The type of visa you apply for depends on the stage of your application and whether you are onshore or offshore:


Temporary Partner Visa (820) → Permanent Partner Visa (801)


Temporary Partner Visa (309) → Permanent Partner Visa (100)


Prospective Marriage Visa (300) → Temporary Partner Visa (820) → Permanent Partner Visa (801)

Type of Relationship

In order to qualify for a partner visa, there must be a relationship which is either :

  • A marriage;
  • A de facto relationship;
  • A registered relationship under Australian or Territory law; or
  • A prospective marriage

Genuine and Continuing

Whether or not the couple is married, in a registered relationship or de facto, the case officer must be satisfied that the relationship is genuine and continuing.

There is no single way to prove that your relationship is genuine and continuing. Rather, a case officer will look at the totality of evidence provided that point to these factors:


  • Joint ownership of real estate or other major assets
  • Joint bank accounts, joint loans, and any other pooling of financial resources
  • Sharing of household expenses

Living Arrangements:

  • Sharing of care and support of any children
  • Sharing a house and the responsibility for housework

Social Aspects:

  • The opinion of friends and acquaintances about the couple
  • Joint social activities planned or undertaken


  • Duration of the relationship and the length of time living together
  • The degree of companionship and emotional support between the couple
  • Whether the person see the relationship as a long-term one

Not living apart on a permanent basis

It is a requirement for all partner visas except for the prospective marriage visa, that the couple has lived together. Sometimes couples live apart for extended periods of time. As long as the living apart is not on a permanent basis these periods will still be included as ‘living together’ for the purposes of the visa. A good example of this is where one member of the couple has to travel for work under fly in fly out arrangements.

Minimum length of the relationship

There is no minimum length for a married couple or a couple that has registered their relationship. However, it is important to remember that the length of the relationship is always a consideration in deciding whether the couple meet the genuine and continuing criterion.

For de facto couples a minimum 12 month de facto relationship must exist unless there are compassionate or compelling circumstances, in which case there is no minimum length for the relationship.

Prospective Marriage

Otherwise known as the ‘fiance visa’ this visa is valid for 9 months and carries full work and study rights. Once the applicant has entered Australia and married the sponsor, an application for a subclass 820 visa can be made just like any other spouse application.

Public Interest Criteria

Like almost all visas, partner visas carry these general requirements for Health, Character, Debts to the Commonwealth, and Australian Values Statement.

If you are unsure of meeting any of these criteria you should contact a professional to assess your ability to overcome any potential refusal on these grounds. Migration agents can prepare submissions on your behalf to give your application every opportunity for approval.

English language Requirement

There is no English language requirement for a partner visa.

Period of Visa

Partner visas are issued in two stages – first, the temporary visa is issued and then, after 2 years, a permanent partner visa is issued.

Both forms of partner visa carry multiple entry rights.

Work Rights

A partner visa carries full work rights.

Key conditions for holders of partner visas

Must notify the Department of any change of details

Until you receive your permanent visa, you must notify the Department of Immigration if:

  • you change address
  • your circumstances change
  • your relationship with your partner ends

Sponsor Obligations

The sponsoring partner has certain responsibilities until permanent residency is granted:

  • responsible for all financial obligations to the Australian Government that your partner might incur while they are in Australia
  • agree to provide adequate accommodation and financial assistance as required to meet your partner’s reasonable living needs
  • will provide financial and other support, such as childcare, that will enable your partner to attend any English classes they need
  • will provide information and advice to help your partner settle in Australia. This information and advice include telling your partner about employment in Australia.
  • immediately notify the department if your relationship with your partner breaks down.

School-age family members

Any family members of school age (between five and 18 years) living in Australia must attend school in Australia.

Family Member Obligations

All dependent family members must also abide by their visa conditions, which in most cases will be the same as the primary visa holder. A breach of these conditions may result in visa cancellation. It is the primary visa holder’s responsibility to ensure that family members abide by the conditions of their visa.