Is your partner offshore and you’d like them to stay with you in Melbourne, Australia? The Subclass 309 Partner Visa allows you to reunite with your partner here in Australia and build a future together by providing a pathway to Permanent Residence through the Subclass 100 Visa. The subclass 309 Visa to Melbourne or Partner (Provisional) Visa is commonly referred to as the Offshore Partner Visa because the applicant must apply for the visa from outside of Australia.
Once onshore, a 309 visa holder can temporarily stay in Melbourne while waiting for the Department of Home Affair’s decision to grant the permanent Partner (Migrant) Visa (subclass 100) application. With the 309 visas, your partner can temporarily live, work and study in Melbourne as well as travel in and out of the country and have a provisional pathway to permanent residence through the subsequent 100 Visa.
To apply for this visa, the visa applicant needs to be outside Australia when the application is lodged; and be in a genuine relationship with the spouse or de facto partner who is an Australian Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen. A valid Partner Visa application must include evidence that the relationship is genuine and ongoing, and that the visa applicants meet several requirements of a ‘financial’, ‘social’, ‘household’ and ‘commitment’ nature. The relationship can be with someone of the same or different sex. As you can see, for family visas, your eligibility depends on your personal circumstances and whether you have substantial evidence to show your relationship meets the visa criteria. An experienced migration agent can guide you through these requirements for your particular case.
One consideration is that the applicant needs to meet Australian legal requirements relating to marriage laws. For example, under Australian law, you must be 18 years or older to be married. Therefore, married applicants must usually be 18 or older when applying for this visa. Applicants in de-facto relationships must also be 18 or older when they apply. The Department may not grant this visa if they believe it is not in the best interests of the applicant.
Like for many other visas, the Department requires the main applicant and any dependent family members who apply for the visa to meet specific health and character requirements. The applicants may need to have health examinations to prove they meet the health requirement. To prove that the applicants have good character, the Department may also request documents such as police certificates. The visa applicants will also need to pay the debts to the Australian Government if there is money owed. Applicants who had a visa cancelled or refused while they were in Australia may also be ineligible for this visa.
As your eligibility for a Partner Visa largely depends on your personal circumstances, we would usually recommend a consultation as the first step to assisting you to understand your options and the requirements for your individual case.
When applying for this visa, the visa applicant can include members of their family unit such as dependent children who are not engaged, married or in a de facto relationship. (age limits apply). It is also possible for your partner’s dependent children (if any) to be added to the application after it is lodged. The ability to add overseas family members to the visa is a lovely option to include not only your partner but also loved ones to join you here in Melbourne, Australia.
During the pandemic, it is still possible to apply for an Offshore 309 Partner Visa for partners that are overseas. Once an Offshore Subclass 309 Partner Visa is granted, these visa holders can come to Australia without requesting a Travel Exemption. The below graph shows the impact of the pandemic on Offshore 309 Partner Visa grants from the Financial Years 2018-19 (pre-pandemic times) to 2021-22.
Once the visa is granted, your partner can:
Eligible visa 309 holders may also attend free English language classes provided by the Adult Migrant English Program – a service to help improve English language skills so your partner can more easily settle into Australia.
As mentioned above, a key benefit is that this visa allows the visa holder to stay in Australia until the Department of Home Affairs makes a decision on whether to grant the permanent Partner (Migrant) Visa (subclass 100). Importantly for many couples, a Subclass 309 Visa offers a pathway to permanent residence in Australia for de-facto and married applicants through the subsequent 100 Visa.
When applying for the Permanent 100 Partner Visa, the visa applicant will again need to provide evidence that the relationship with the sponsor is genuine and continuing. as The Department will reassess these criteria when deciding whether to grant the permanent visa. The sponsor must support their partner during the period of waiting for the subclass 100 to be granted.
The visa applicant must continue to be in a married or de-facto relationship with the sponsor. Should complexities arise, such as a relationship breakdown or other unfortunate circumstances that could impact your application, you may wish to seek professional migration advice.
Once the permanent 100 Visa is granted, it allows your partner to stay in Australia indefinitely as it is a permanent visa. Your partner becomes a permanent resident on the day the visa is granted. Therefore, they could live, work and study in Australia, enrol in Australia’s public healthcare scheme, Medicare, sponsor eligible relatives to come to Australia, and apply for Australian citizenship if eligible. They can also travel to and from Australia as many times as they like for 5 years from the date the visa is granted and apply for a Resident Return Visa after 5 years if they want to travel after the initial 5-year travel provision (although you should consider any travel restrictions that may apply during the pandemic).
Since 1988, Interstaff’s Registered Migration Agents have helped couples by providing comprehensive advice on how they should prepare their visa application and sponsorship application according to the Partner Visa criteria. During the pandemic, the Government is prioritising Partner Visa applications to help reunite couples and provide pathways for people to stay.
Our migration agents assist by:
If you are interested in a Partner Visa to live in Melbourne or anywhere in Australia with your partner, contact us here or get in touch with our visa agents in Melbourne on 03 8319 0902 to discuss how we can help. It would be our pleasure to assist you and your partner to start your lives together here in Australia.
“I just wanted to say thank you and to let you know you have been very helpful and professional during this process. I would definitely recommend Interstaff to any of my friends in the future if they require immigration assistance.”
On behalf of my family and I, we would like to thank the staff at Interstaff for working around the clock to achieve our goal of Permanent Residency. They are a great team of professionals and handled our case with very high standards. We greatly appreciate it – thank you!
We applied for the Offshore Partner 309/100 Visa with the advice and representation from the team here and am happy to say, after a very long period apart from my partner due to Covid, our application recently got granted the 309 Visa with my partner looking to arrive shortly and our plan is to apply for the 100 visa mid/late next year. I highly recommend the team at Interstaff for any Partner Visa applications and I feel the fee is well worth the peace of mind you have given the high level of experience the team here offers and knowing you will be represented correctly/reliably based on the evidence you provide.
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