The different types of Australian partner visa

Australian spouse, de facto, fiance, wife or husband visa, marriage visa … people are not always sure what to call the different partner visa types.

So here is a basic explanation of the real and used names of the different Australian partner visa options:

Spouse visa:

The spouse visa name also has the official label ‘de jure’, which means ‘of law’ … which therefore means married.

So this visa type is for a couple who are married before applying for their Australian partner visa.

It does not matter where they married, but if already married, then this is the option. The subclasses used are 309 and 100 (for applications where the applicant is outside Australia), and subclass 820 and 801 when the applicant is inside Australia.

De facto or de facto spouse visa:

This visa is for couples who are not married, but have lived together for 12 months. This can be living together anywhere — inside or outside Australia. But they must have good evidence of living together. It does not need to be evidence in joint names (though this can help), but any normal evidence such as mail, registrations, bills and such, that both people have these kinds of things to the same address in their name.

Prospective spouse visa:

This is for couples who are not married but plan to marry – in Australia – within 9 months of the visa visa being granted.


This is for same-sex couples, and works in the same way as the de facto spouse visa, with 12 months cohabitation being important.

New Zealand partner visa:

If a New Zealand citizen has a spouse (married partner) or de facto (lived together for 12 months), they they can apply for their partner to have a 5 year NZ partner visa, subclass 461.


This is a very basic guide as to the options.

For costs, partner / spouse visa processing times, evidence required for a spouse visa application and more, simply go to Get Assessed at the top or bottom and begin your process as explained.



Australia partner visa options

To go into more detail about one key area – Australian partner visas.

These are split into different options, or sub-options:

Married, ‘de jure’ spouse:

Such an Australian spouse visa application would be for people who are married before they apply. (or technically will be married before the time of the decision on the visa grant)

If the couple have been married for 5 years – or married for 2 years and have a child – at the time of visa application, then they may apply for the full Permanent Resident visa.

If not, then they may apply for the two year provisional Permanent Resident visa. Then, two years after that visa grant, they re-apply for the full Permanent Resident visa, of course if they are still in a spousal relationship!

‘De facto’ spouse visa:

This means if the couple are not married, but are in a spousal relationship, and have been – living together – for at least 12 months before their Australian partner visa application.

They need to prove evidence of cohabitation such as mail or registrations at the same address.

If they have been living together for 5 years – with real evidence – or for two years with a child, then they may apply for the full Permanent Resident visa.

If not, then they also may apply for a two year provisional Permanent Resident visa, as above.


The interdependent route is for ‘same-sex’ couples, which means homosexual (gay, lesbian) relationships.

In the visa route, this is the same as the defacto spouse visa – 12 months of cohabitation is required to be able to lodge the application.

Prospective spouse visa:

This is for unmarried couples who do plan to marry in Australia. After the visa is granted, they would have 9 months to do so.

Then the applicant would receive the two year provisional Permanent Resident visa, and then after two years, apply for full Permanent Residence.


The provisional phase:

On the provisional Permanent Resident visa, in all aboves routes, the sponsorship of the sponsor is still valid and the relationship must remain as a genuine spouse relationship, in order to finally apply for the full Permanent Residence.

So if the relationship breaks down, the sponsor may remove their sponsorship, for any reason, and the applicant would need to leave Australia.

As soon as the applicant has full Permanent Residence, they are an independent PR and there is no sponsorship – i.e. it does not matter what happens to the relationship.

Evidencing a spouse relationship for an Australian visa application:

The evidence that a case officer may want to see, is such as:

Social recognition: this means that they should show evidence that their family and friends recognise and are aware of the relationship. This means showing photos of such people together, and getting statements from such people about the relationship. They can state things such as they knew when the relationship started, where and when they live together, and what plans they know the couple has for the future.

Financial aspects: It is not a must for a couple to have e.g. a joint bank account or share finances, but they should be able to explain or show how they use their funds as a normal couple together, supporting each other.

Cohabitation: for the claimed times spent together, they should be able to show and explain where they lived, and the relevant details.

Other aspects: Explaining what plans they have for the applicant in Australia (jobs, language classes if needed, where they will live etc.), as well as how they communicate when apart. Evidence such as telephone bills, emails or communication records and such, can all help.