A subclass 309 visa is a temporary partner visa for Australia. Getting a 309 visa is your first step towards becoming an Australian permanent resident as the spouse or de facto partner of an eligible sponsor. It is designed for applicants who are in a long term relationship with an Australian partner and who want to move from overseas to Australia.
But, before you apply, you need to be sure you meet the eligibility requirements. This page will outline what you need to know.
What is a Subclass 309 Provisional Spouse Visa?
A subclass 309 visa is a provisional spouse visa, also known as a partner migrant visa. This means that it lets the de facto partner or spouse of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen live in Australia temporarily while you wait on the outcome of your permanent residency application (via a subclass 100 permanent visa).
It is an offshore visa, however, so you will need to apply for and be granted the 309 visa when you’re overseas. You can’t be in Australia when you lodge your application and you must usually be outside Australia when a decision is made about your 309 visa.
Partner Visa Subclass 309 Eligibility
There are 8 eligibility criteria you must meet to be granted a temporary visa. You need to meet relationship requirements, be 18 years of age or older, pay any debts to the Australian Government, and you must meet health and character requirements. Your visa partner must be an eligible sponsor – and you must have a sponsor to be granted this visa.
If the main applicant has any children, the Australian Government must be satisfied that granting the visa is in the best interest of your child. You may experience eligibility issues if you’ve had an application refused or your visa cancelled in the past. Here’s an overview of the eligibility requirements:
You need to be married or in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen to be eligible for the partner visa subclass 309. If you are married to your Australian partner, you will need to prove that your marriage is valid under Australian law and that your relationship is genuine and continuing.
For your marriage to be valid, you must usually be 18 years old. If you are in a de facto relationship, you will need to show that you have lived together for at least 12 months (in most cases) and that your relationship is genuine. Time you spent dating or in an online relationship won’t usually count towards the 12 month requirement for a de facto relationship.
In both cases, you will need to show that your marriage or de facto relationship is ‘to the exclusion of all others’ to meet eligibility requirements. A migration agent at Altria Law can help you gather the documents you need to prove your long-term relationship is genuine and continuing for your partner visa application.
You must have a suitable sponsor to be eligible for this visa. To be deemed suitable, your sponsor must be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen. They must be 18 years old or older and must provide police certificates from Australia and other countries they’ve resided in.
They must also agree to disclose any relevant offences, including domestic violence offences, to the visa applicant.
Health and Character Requirements
You must meet health and character requirements to be eligible for a subclass 309 visa. Generally speaking, this means that you can’t have a significant criminal history or have illnesses or injuries that would place the Australian healthcare system under undue stress.
You will need to provide police checks from countries you have lived in and you will need to attend a health exam with an approved doctor.
Temporary Partner Visa Subclass 309 Application Process
You apply for the subclass 309 100 visa at the same time, but the temporary and the permanent visa will likely be granted at different times. This means the application process is very similar for the temporary partner visa and the permanent visa. But there are some differences.
Here’s the application process for the temporary partner visa subclass 309:
Step 1: Get help from a migration agent.
Seeking assistance with your application isn’t mandatory, but the Department of Home Affairs does recommend it. There are really stringent requirements for submitting documents and, since the application fees are not refundable, getting help from a migration agent is usually worth it.
Step 2: Gather your documents.
You should gather all the documents before you submit your application. The documents you need to provide will provide evidence about your identity, your family members, your current and past relationships, and your character. To prove your relationship, you’ll need to provide evidence of your shared life and your commitment to a long-term relationship with your partner. The documents submitted should show that you have shared financial commitments and mutual friends, and that you attend social events and/or travel together. You should know about and have met each other’s family members and friends. You will need them to provide statutory declarations about your relationship too.
Step 3: Apply for the visa.
When you have collected all the documentation you need to prove your relationship with your spouse or de facto partner, you can apply online for the partner provisional visa. Remember, when applying for the visa subclass 309, you must be outside Australia. You cannot apply for this visa while you are in Australia and you cannot stay in Australia while you wait for your visa application to be decided. You usually need to be outside Australia when a decision is made about your visa.
Step 4: Keep your information up to date.
While you wait for your visa application to be decided, you need to update your information if it changes. You may need to submit biometrics and attend a health exam while you wait. During the waiting period and before your 309 partner migrant visa is granted, you can add a dependent child (or children) to your visa application. If your relationships breaks down while you wait for your visa application to be determined, you will need to notify Home Affairs as soon as possible.
Step 5: Receive your partner provisional visa outcome.
If your temporary visa is granted, you will receive your visa grant number, the date your visa starts, and your visa conditions. With this visa, you can stay in Australia temporarily. You can travel to and from Australia as many times as you want while you wait for your partner visa subclass 100 to be decided.
The 309 visa lets you study in Australia, work in Australia, and access Australia’s public health care scheme – Medicare. You can attend English lessons for free too – which will help you receive your subclass 100 visa in the future.
If your subclass 309 partner visa application is rejected, you will find out why and whether you have a right to review the decision. You will not receive a refund of your application fee. If this happens, it is essential that you contact your migration agent at Altria Law as soon as possible. There are very strict timelines for lodging a review request.
What Happens After You Receive Your Temporary Subclass 309 Visa
Once you have your temporary visa, you need to wait until you receive your permanent partner visa subclass 100. You can stay in Australia while you wait for your visa to be decided, but your temporary visa does not let you live in Australia indefinitely. You will receive more rights and permanent residency if you become a visa holder of the migrant visa subclass 100.
Partner Visa Subclass 309 Processing Time
The processing time for your 309 visa will vary, depending on how many other applications need to be processed as well as whether you provide the right information to the Department of Home Affairs. A 309 visa is granted within 18 months for 75% of applicants. 90% of temporary partner visa subclass 309 applications are processed within 23 months.
The processing time for the partner visa subclass 100 is at least 2 years. If your visa subclass 309 100 applications are considered for the first time after 2 years have passed, you may be granted both visas at the same time. But, since more than 90% of applications are processed for the subclass 309 partner visa, it is more likely that you will need to wait for your permanent visa subclass 100. The processing time for the 100 visa is between 17 and 23 months for most applicants.
Live in Australia with Altria Law
Our immigration consultants are highly experienced and highly knowledgable about Australia’s complex visa system. We will help you determine which visa is best suited to your individual situation. Then, we’ll guide you through the process. You’ll always know what’s going on and we’ll always be available to assist with your queries or concerns.
Start with a free consultation.