To help keep families together, the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection is still processing Partner visas despite Covid-19 and travel restrictions. Here’s what you need to know about how to apply.

Sable International In the news: The South African

This article was originally published on The South African

Australia has made headlines for implementing one of the hardest lockdowns, stating that its borders could be closed until late 2021

Australian citizens and permanent residents are still permitted to travel home and what many don’t realise is that partners are also allowed in. In fact, Australia’s Federal Budget increased family visa allocations by a mighty 61.75% for 2021 (from 47,732 to 77,300). Of that, 93.53% (72,300) of the allocations were for partner visas (subclasses 820 and 801).

Previously, partner visas could take up to two years to be processed. However, Sable International has seen processing times reduced to as little as six months (three months where there are compassionate grounds).

This means that you can still apply for an Australian partner visa during Covid-19 to travel with, or join, your loved one Down Under. 

How to apply for an Australian partner visa from overseas

When you apply for an Australian Partner visa, you pay once for a “combined application” that covers both a temporary visa and a permanent visa. The government will issue you the appropriate visa based on the criteria you meet. 

If you have been with your Australian partner for less than three years, or can only provide less than three years of evidence, you’ll be issued with the temporary visa and will be able to apply for a permanent partner visa two years later. The permanent visa is valid for five years and can lead to citizenship. 

If you’re applying from overseas, you need to apply for the Partner visa subclasses 309 and 100. The 309 is the provisional (temporary) visa, and the 100 is the migrant (permanent) visa. 

How to qualify for an Australian partner visa

The most important factor that the government considers is that your relationship is serious, and you intend to have a future together. 

This doesn’t mean that you need to be married, but if you’re not married you need to provide proof of a “de facto” relationship, which includes living together for at least 12 months, sharing financial and emotional burdens and generally being a part of each other’s lives. 

Australia does not discriminate against same sex relationships when it comes to applying for partner visas. Civil unions are also recognised and some states allow you to register your domestic relationship without tying the knot.

If you are not married yet and feel you might struggle to prove a de facto relationship, then there’s a special visa called the Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300) that gives you permission to travel to Australia to marry your Australian partner. It is valid for nine months and during that time you need to get married and apply for a Partner visa. 

In addition to proving your relationship, you will need police and medical clearance.

The cost of a partner visa

Since the partner visas are combined applications, they cost AUD 7,715.  This fee applies to the Partner visas Subclass 309/100, which are applied for from overseas and 820/801, which are applied for from within Australia.

The Prospective Marriage (Subclass 300) visa also costs AUD 7,715, but an AUD 1,285 additional fee is charged when you apply for your 820 Partner visa.  

It’s also worth bearing in mind that you’ll need to pay for medical tests and police clearance, which are non-refundable if the application is rejected. 

Due to the financial risk associated with this visa, many applicants choose to hire a migration agent to assist with the application and increase their chance of success.

We can facilitate your Partner visa application and exemption to travel request, to allow you to travel to Australia before the borders officially open. 

We offer a no-visa, no fee guarantee, so if your visa is rejected, we will not charge you a dollar for our services. Give us a call on +44 (0) 20 7759 5307 (UK),  +27 (0) 21 657 1526 (South Africa) or +61 (0) 3 8651 4500 (Australia) or drop us an email at



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