If you have been in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident for more than 12 months, or if you are married to an Australian citizen or permanent resident you are generally eligible to apply for a “partner visa” to remain in Australia. There are two types of partner visas, the subclass 309/100 for offshore applicants and the 820/801 for onshore applicants. If you are in Australia and eligible to apply for the visa onshore you will then be granted a bridging visa that allows you to wait in the country during the processing time. If you apply from overseas you will have to wait for the temporary subclass 309 visa to be granted before coming to Australia.
How does the application work?
The application is a two-stage process where an applicant submits a combined subclass 820/801 or 309/100 visa application. This is an application for both the temporary subclass 820 or 309 two-year provisional Partner visa, along with an application for a subclass 801 or 100 Partner visa which are permanent visas. Once two years has elapsed since the time of application for the temporary visa you are able to make an application for a permanent partner visa. The processing times for partner visas have increased significantly over recent years with expected wait times stretching to anywhere between 18 to 29 months. Because of this reason it is possible in some cases that the permanent partner visa application will be assessed straight after the grant of the temporary visa.