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How Can I Bring my Spouse to Australia?


Partner Visa is designed for the spouse of Australian Citizen or Permanent Residents, who wants to join their partners in Australia on a permanent basis.

To be eligible for the partner visa application, not only a marriage certificate is required but several other elements are assessed as part of the visa application to establish a genuine married relationship. If you are an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen, then you can bring your wife to Australia on a permanent basis which is subject to few conditions i.e. approved sponsor, other health, and character criterion.

Eligible applicants can apply for the following visa subclass:

  1. Partner subclass 820/801 visa (onshore) or
  2. Partner subclass 309/100 visa (offshore).

If your wife is outside Australia, then she should be seeking to apply for subclass 309/100. For the onshore applicants, subclass 820/801 will be the right option. Let’s say if your wife is already in Australia. Then she will go for the subclass 820/801.

The partner visa application comprises of two stages. In the first step, the applicant lodges the combined application for temporary and permanent visa applications. If the sponsor is approved and your wife's application is successful, then she will be granted subclass 309 which will allow her to live in Australia until subclass 100 is granted. Usually, the department takes up to 2 years to decide on the permanent visa subclass. On the temporary visa subclass, your wife will have access to Medicare (One of the best health systems in the world), she will have unlimited travel rights and up to 510 hours of free English language classes.

During the two years of the lodgement of subclass 309, the department will assess the continuous genuineness of the relationship and will require the evidentiary documents. You and your wife must meet the legislative definition of spouse under the migration provisions. You must maintain the sponsorship for your wife. 

If your wife applies for the partner visa onshore, she will be automatically granted the Bridging A visa which will allow her to remain in Australia lawfully until the decision is made on her application. But if your wife is overseas, then she will not be granted the bridging visa, which means your wife may only enter Australia once subclass 309 is granted. Usually, the visa processing time is extensive. She can consider applying for a tourist visa to join her partner in Australia. During the covid-19 travel ban, your wife can join you if you have already lodged subclass 309/100 and subsequently lodge a tourist visa. The department is processing such a tourist visa application quickly, especially on the compelling and compassionate ground so your wife can join. It is important to remember if your wife apply for a tourist visa in the family stream,  condition 8503 may be imposed on her visa, which means she will have to leave Australia to apply for another substantive visa or she will have to request the waiver. 

To ensure that your wife partner visa is granted within the expected time frame, it is important that you provide substantial documents along with the visa application, proving the strong commitment in your relation. The department usually looks into the four aspects of the relationship:

  1. Financial aspect
  2. Household aspect
  3. Social aspect
  4. Commitment to your relationship


It is prudent that your visa application demonstrates your marriage is valid as specified in the migration provisions.

  • Your marriage must be valid in Australia, if you were married overseas, your marriage must be legally recognized in Australia.
  • You must also live together or not separated on a permanent basis.
  • Your relationship also must be genuine and continuous.  
  • You and your wife must also have a commitment to a shared life as a married couple.

When the marriage is legally valid in Australia?

If your marriage took place overseas, then the department will want to see if your marriage is recognized as a valid marriage in that country. To be valid in Australia, real consent must be submitted by both applicants.

What if we had arranged marriage?

In many Asian countries, marriages are arranged by relatives and family members. Your marriage will still be considered valid as per the Australian Migration Act and Regulation as long as both parties give the real consent to the marriage taking place and if your marriage is recognized as per the laws in your country.

In arrange marriage cases, the department scrutinizes the application to confirm that the relationship is genuine.  It is highly recommended that applicant provide the strong supporting evidence to demonstrate that marriage is genuine, recognized in the home country, and meet the definition as per the Australian law.

A marriage certificate will be required as evidence, with English translation if it is written in other languages.

When marriages are not recognized?

Certain marriages will not be recognized in Australia:

  1. Polygamous marriage
  2. When both parties are in a prohibited relationship
  3. If any of the applicants were under-age at the time of marriage
  4. If either party has not given the real consent

Same-sex marriages

Same-sex marriages are legally recognized in Australia since the definition was changed. Therefore, if you are in a genuine relationship with your partner, regardless of sex, you will still be eligible for the partner visa.

Next step if your marriage is legally valid?

If you have determined your marriage is legally valid then you will have to demonstrate that you and your wife have a mutual commitment to a shared life and are in a genuine continuous relationship. You should not be separated on a permanent basis. If you are living separately due to visa restriction or other family problems. Visa officers may give disregard these facts.


p.s. The above mention information equally applies, if you want to bring your husband on a partner visa to Australia. You can read more about the Australian Spouse Visa/ Partner visa here.


Australian migration law is complex, and you must seek migration assistance from a Registered Migration Agent. If you want highly professional migration advice for your partner visa, book your confidential consultation with a highly experienced Registered Migration Agent of AEC Global here