If you are in Australia and you want to remain here with your Australian citizen partner or an Australian permanent resident, you’ll need to apply for the 820/801 visa.
This is a two-part application, so having a Registered Migration Agent ensures that you are organised and up-to-date with application deadlines for both parts.
It is a temporary-to-permanent visa. Two years after lodging the initial application, you must provide Immigration with further evidence of your ongoing relationship in order to obtain Australian permanent residency.
The 820/801 visa involves two steps. It is designed to take you from temporary residency to permanent residency.
In most cases, the 820 part is granted first and the 801 part around 24 months later. You pay a single application fee at the start to cover both parts.
You can stay in Australia on your subclass 820 visa until your permanent 801 visa is granted.
On the 820 visa, you can work in Australia, study in Australia (but not with Government support), leave and re-enter as many times as you wish, enrol in Australia’s Medicare system and avail of free English classes.
You must be living together when your 820/801 visa is lodged. Any family members included in the application must also be in Australia at time of lodgement. You need to be in Australia when a decision is made on the first (820) part. However, you don’t need to be in Australia when the second (801) part is decided.
For the 820/801, you need to show evidence of your shared life, such as financial commitment to one another, shared living arrangements and social recognition of your relationship. We help you put together your evidence to demonstrate your commitment to each other. We can also assist with the preparation of your partner visa relationship statement, which is an important document explaining the nature of your relationship.
Not only do you need to gather evidence before lodging an application, you need to continue submitting evidence as your application processes, proving that your relationship is ongoing. As part of the application process, you may be interviewed by a case officer, either over the phone or face-to-face. During this interview, you may be asked to answer questions about the nature of your relationship.
Generally, you must be able to show 12 months of cohabitation evidence. However, depending on where you live, you may be able to register your relationship and waive this requirement. More information on that below.
The 12-month cohabitation requirement is also part of the criteria if a partner or spouse is being included in other applications such as student visas and skilled migration visas.
If you have been living with your partner for quite some time – the three years immediately prior to lodging your application – or you have a child together and have lived together for the previous two years, you can apply for the 801 partner visa straight away.
The partner visa (subclass 820) lasts until your PR part of the visa (subclass 801) is granted. Once you’re an Australian permanent resident, you can stay in the country indefinitely or apply for citizenship once you’re eligible.
An applicant’s children and step-children can be included in the application. They’ll be subject to the same visa conditions and have the same rights as the parent being sponsored. The applicant will need to have sole custody or legal permission from the children’s other biological parent for them to be included in the application.
You’ll be able to enrol in the Medicare system as soon as the visa application has been lodged.
When an onshore partner visa is lodged, an associated Bridging Visa A (BVA) is issued. This BVA only comes into effect at the end of your current visa. For example, if you hold a visitor visa with a three month stay limitation, your BVA would come into effect at the end of your three month stay. In this case, you would have full work rights on your BVA during the partner visa processing time.
If you hold a Working Holiday 417 visa or a Work and Holiday 462 visa, you can request a waiver of the six month work limitation – but only once you have lodged your partner visa. A Registered Migration Agent can submit a work rights waiver on your behalf.
If you hold a visa that expires well into the future (such as 2021), your BVA only comes into effect when your visa expires. Lodging a partner does NOT mean that you can stop working for a sponsor or stop attending classes. This situation generally applies to holders of a 457 visa, a 482 visa or a 500 visa.
In fact, if you do not continue to meet the requirements of your current visa, it will be cancelled and you will need to apply for a Bridging Visa E (BVE). A BVE does not have work rights.
If you hold a BVE and wish to work, you’ll need to draft a submission outlining the financial hardship you and your partner will face if you are unable to work during the partner visa processing time.
Work rights are not guaranteed as it depends on your shared financial situation. If you depart Australia, you will forfeit your partner visa application, as it is a requirement that you be in Australia when the visa is decided. Holding a BVE does not impact on partner visa eligibility but it resets your citizenship clock to zero.
The Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill is due to be introduced.
It will require your Australian partner to be approved as a sponsor before your partner visa application can be lodged. As this is a new step in partner applications, the processing time of sponsorship approval is not known.
If it takes weeks or months for your Australian partner to be approved and your visa expires in the meantime, you will need to either depart Australia or lodge another visa to remain lawful.
As of yet (June 2020), we do not know when this new framework will be applied to partner visa applications.
Partner visas must meet what is known as ‘time of application’ (TOA) criteria. The evidence you submit as part of your application must demonstrate that you were in a committed relationship at the time of lodgement. Partner visas can take a long time to process and your application can be updated with further information to demonstrate that you are still together; however, this does not cancel out TOA requirements. Your partner visa should not be lodged prematurely. If you’re unsure of your eligibility, a Registered Migration Agent can check for you.
The registration process is different in each State and not all States allow couples to register their relationship. You must be living together when your partner visa application is made. To register a relationship, both partners should be over the age of 18, not be married or in a de facto relationship with anyone else and not be related. Same sex partners can register relationships in all States where relationship registration is allowed.
To register in New South Wales, you’ll need to show that one of you has lived in NSW for a short period of time. You’ll need to show specific forms of identification and proof of residence. Registering your relationship in NSW is crucial if you have not lived together for 12 months prior to lodging the application.
Queensland registration requires you to demonstrate that at least one of you has lived in Queensland for a short period of time. You will need to include proof of ID and of living in QLD. You must register your relationship in Queensland to bypass the requirement of living together for the 12 months immediately before visa lodgement.
To register your relationship in Victoria, you’ll need to show that one of you has lived in Victoria for a short period. Victorian relationship registration is a must if you have not lived together for the past 12 months. You’ll need to show proof of residency, such as utility account or superannuation statements.
Relationship registration in the Australian Capital Territory requires one of you to show two pieces of evidence of residence in the ACT. An ACT relationship registration allows you to apply for an 820 partner visa before the 12 month mark.
To register in South Australia, you’ll need to show that one of you has been usually resident in South Australia for a short period. This relationship registration allows you to lodge an 820 partner visa even if you have not lived together for the full 12 months.
Tasmanian couples need to show that both people are living in Tasmania. Registering your relationship in Tasmania is essential for couples who have not lived together for 12 months prior to lodging their partner visa application.
Unfortunately, relationship registration is not available for migration purposes in Western Australia or the Northern Territory.
We can provide detailed information on relationship registration requirements as part of our partner visa assessment process.
The Department of Home Affairs is still processing visas ‘within the constraints’ of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is likely they are using resources to focus on onshore visas, due to overseas travel restrictions. As such, we don’t expect to see major delays for 820/801 applications.
As of June 2020, according to the Department of Home Affairs, processing for 820s currently stands at 21 – 28 months. This is why many couples engage a Registered Migration Agent to manage their application. A refusal would mean a lengthy wait whilst an appeal or new application is lodged.
Contact us today for further advice. Our team can assess your options and recommend the best visa pathway for you.
You may be eligible if you meet the following criteria: