Australian Partner Visa for North Americans

Are you an US or Canadian citizen who has an Australian citizen/permanent resident spouse or de-facto partner and are looking into temporarily or permanently migrating to Australia?

If so, we may be able to assist!

Applying for an Australian Partner visa can be overwhelming and very technical in nature. Augustine & Co. Immigration Lawyers works in strategic alliance with several US and Canadian immigration firms who have referred many spouses or partners of Australian expats living in North America who were keen on moving to Australia with their Australian spouse or de-facto partners. Consequently, our Firm has gained a long-standing, highly successful track-record in assisting North American visa applicants with obtaining their Australian permanent residency via the Partner visa route. 

Partner Visa Categories

An Australian Partner visa is a 2-stage visa pathway. Its visa subclasses depend on the applicant’s location at the time of application. 

  • Subclass 309/100 Offshore Partner Visa 

If you prefer to stay in the US or anywhere else in the world whilst awaiting the outcome of your visa application due to ongoing work or personal commitments outside Australia, then this subclass combination may suit you best. 

Both Subclasses 309 and 100 are offshore visas. Subclass 309 is a temporary visa, while the sc100 is a permanent visa. Unless you are in a long-term relationship and/or have a child with your spouse or partner, then the sc309 will be granted first and will allow you to stay in Australia for 2 years. Two years after the sc309 visa application was made, you will become eligible to apply for the permanent sc100 visa stage as long as your relationship is still genuinely ongoing.

Offshore visa applications lodged by American citizens are usually assessed and decided by the Australian Visa Processing Centre Office in Washington DC.

  • Subclass 820/801 Onshore Partner Visa 

These two subclasses on the other hand, are for visa applicants who are already in Australia on a temporary visa (e.g., ETA, Student, Working Holiday, etc.) and would like to apply for this visa while onshore. 

If you are currently overseas, one common strategy used by many of our North American clients is to apply for an ETA to be able to enter Australia, then subsequently lodge the partner visa application onshore. Depending on each person’s circumstances, many applicants would opt for the onshore Partner visa due to its benefits of being automatically granted a bridging visa A (BVA) upon the partner visa application. This BVA allows you to lawfully remain in Australia whilst awaiting the outcome of your visa application and provides you with full work and study rights. It also gives you access to Medicare, which is the publicly funded universal health care insurance scheme in Australia. 

For further detail about Augustine & Co.’s strategic action plans, please see our website service pages here.

Both Partner visa categories require you to prove that you are in a genuine and continuing relationship with your Australian citizen/permanent resident/eligible New Zealand citizen spouse or de-facto partner.

Most often than not, our American clients have already been through a similar visa process in the US/Canada for their Australian spouses or partners. Though there are some similarities in terms of the key criteria and documentary evidence required by the US government for instance. The Australian immigration law structure for this visa pathway can be much more complex and require extensive documentary evidence to demonstrate that you satisfy all legislative criteria and departmental policy. 

How Can We Assist?

As experts in Australian immigration law and extensive experience in successfully dealing with North American citizen clients, Augustine & Co. can guide you in identifying the best immigration pathway and be able to provide you with a strategic action plan that fits into YOUR Australian dream. 

Our Migration Consultants (RMAs) and Immigration Lawyers are able to explain the legislative complexities involved in the Australian Partner visa process and are able to thoroughly assess your circumstances and your eligibility by law for this visa pathway during an initial consultation session. We highly recommend that you schedule a consultation with us before embarking on this visa route – consults can be booked in through our website here


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Calvin Augustine is the founding solicitor of Augustine & Co. Immigration Lawyers. He graduated with Honors from the University of London law school, before being admitted to practice in Malaysia and Australia (admitted in SA, appears in all Victorian Courts and Tribunals, at trial and appellate levels).