How to apply for a Partner Visa 820

stack of documents

I definitely recommend applying for your visa online, as it will give you visibility of the status of your application, and make it easier to supply additional information or documents as you go along.

How To Get Started:


You can apply for the Partner Visa if you are in a married or de-facto relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident. It’s important to understand that this visa is only for couples that are genuinely planning to spend their lives together, as the process of applying is long and expensive. DIAC does not consider couples who are “dating” de-facto partners, i.e. you have to actually live together, have combined your affairs to a certain extent, and plan a future together to be considered de-facto.

The 12-month requirement

This requirement can be tricky, as some couples may not have been able to live together (or be listed on a lease together) for various logistical reasons. If you and your partner have not lived together for 12 months at the time you apply for the visa, make sure to register your relationship before you apply.


Once you have decided to apply for a Partner Visa, it’s best to get the ball rolling as soon as possible (processing times are constantly increasing, so the earlier you submit your application, the better). Some documents will take a while to obtain, so make sure to organise these as soon as possible:

  • overseas police checks

  • your birth certificate if you don’t already have it

  • relationship registration certificate (see above)

  • 2x Forms 888: ask two people who know you and your partner as a couple to fill these out. Make sure to not have them filled out too early, as they should be max. 6 weeks old at the time of submission.

  • translations of the above documents where necessary

Here’s A Full List Of What I Submitted:

Note: Forms 47SP (Application for migration to Australia by a partner) and 40SP (Sponsorship for a partner to migrate to Australia) are filled out as part of the online application, you do not need to upload the actual forms if you are applying online.

Personal Documents (Identity):

  • certified copy of passport (scanned and uploaded)

  • certified copy of birth certificate and translation (scanned and uploaded)

  • certified copy of my German national ID card (scanned and uploaded)

  • 2x passport photo (name printed on back) – (scanned (front and back) and uploaded)

Relationship Documents:

  • certified copy of relationship registration NSW (scanned and uploaded) >> uploaded once, but applies to “social context of the relationship”, and “nature of commitment to each other”.

Health and Character Documents:

  • AFP National Police Certificate (scanned and uploaded)

  • Police certificate Germany and translation (scanned and uploaded)

  • Police certificate Switzerland and translation (scanned and uploaded) >> I included this, because I lived in Switzerland for more than 12 months.

  • Completed Form 80

  • Evidence of health insurance >> I included this, because I was still on a Student Visa when I applied.

  • I arranged for my health check before I submitted the visa, using My Health Declarations >> Note: DIAC is now asking Partner Visa applicants to not arrange the health check in advance, as they are only valid for 12 months. Your case officer will advise you when it is time to make an appointment for the health check.

Sponsorship requirements (evidence that the sponsor is an Australian citizen):

  • certified copy of passport (scanned and uploaded)

  • certified copy of birth certificate (scanned and uploaded)

  • certified copy of driver’s licence (scanned and uploaded)

  • 2x passport photo (name printed on back) – (scanned (front and back) and uploaded)

 History of relationship:

  • 2x letter (one by myself, and one by my partner) detailing the history of our relationship, our living arrangements and future plans. These were very extensive letters including info on how we distribute housework, share finances etc., as this was easier than writing separate letters for the “nature of the household”, “financial evidence of the relationship” and “nature of commitment to each other” parts of the application. Note that we didn’t do these as statuary declarations, but normal letters (signed and dated).

 Financial evidence of relationship:

  • complete transaction history of our joint bank account (around 7 months worth of transactions)

  • statement of joint savings account

 Nature of the household:

  • certified copy of our lease agreement (scanned and uploaded)

  • all electricity and internet bills that we had received in both our names (we receive these via email, so uploaded the pdf documents)

  • one letter from the bank addressed to both of us (scanned and uploaded)

  • one letter from our real estate agent (it was just a notice regarding some work that they were planning to do to the building) addressed to both of us (scanned and uploaded)

 Social context of the relationship:

  • 2x forms 888 (one filled out by a close friend, one by my partner’s brother) and certified copies of identity docs (scanned and uploaded)

  • I created a short presentation (9 slides) with photos of myself and my partner travelling or at social events – most of these were from Facebook, and I took screenshots of the posts incl. the date stamps. I picked 1-2 photos from each year we are together and included a description of the event or trip on each slide. I uploaded it as a pdf.

  • Several flight tickets and hotel bookings showing both our names

  • Screenshots of airbnb reviews where hosts mention that my partner and I are a lovely couple 🙂

 Nature of commitment to each other:

  • Full log of our Facebook message history (I simply copied and pasted them all). Uploaded as pdf (total of 80 pages worth of correspondence).

  • A log of all our Skype calls (I was able to copy and paste the date/time and duration from our Skype history into a word document). I included this because our relationship was long-distance for quite a while.

Translations: I had my translations done by Language Professionals. They have lots of experience with doing translations for visa purposes. The service was professional, and translations were done within a few days.

A Few Things I Wish I Knew Before I Applied

Decision ready applications

There are rumours all over the internet claiming that “decision ready” applications are being processed quicker. This is not true. Applications are more or less processed in the order DIAC receives them, and processing times are constantly increasing due to the high number of applications.

Low risk countries

DIAC has also stopped making a difference between applications from low-risk vs. high-risk countries, i.e. your application is not going to be processed quicker just because you are from a low risk country.

Because of the above points, no one at DIAC will even look at your application for at least 12 months after you handed it in (15-18 months are more likely). It is therefore better to submit your application as soon as possible, even if you are still missing a few documents (e.g. if you are waiting for a translation). You can simply upload any delayed documents via your ImmiAccount once you receive them. I still wouldn’t wait too long, as it’s nice to not have to worry about the application (see Emotional Advice), however please don’t delay your application just because you’re still waiting for one or two documents. The earlier you get in the queue, the better.

Form 80 (personal particulars for assessment including character assessment)

This form isn’t listed as a “must-submit” on the document checklist for the Partner Visa, yet DIAC asks pretty much everyone to submit this form once a case officer has been assigned to an application. The form is quite extensive, so you might as well submit it straight away, rather than having to freak out over it because DIAC is asking you to submit one.

Emotional Advice

It took me a while to get used to the thought that I would be waiting for my visa to be assessed for at least 12 months. At the time I submitted my application for the Partner Visa 820, I was just about to finish my postgraduate degree, and I was very worried about finding a job after my graduation (most job ads on Seek etc. will specifically call out that you need to be a permanent resident to apply).

I felt this was very unfair, as I just wanted to be with my partner, and I felt like the long processing times were holding us back from building our life together, and also that my career would be affected negatively. I obsessively logged into ImmiAccount to check if there has been any progress for a couple of weeks, but soon realised that this isn’t doing me (or my partner) any good.

I had to take a step back and remember that the visa is an investment in our future as a couple, and that I am not alone in this. I forced myself to stop checking the status of the visa and just focus on living my life in Sydney. I also forced myself to believe that, given the sheer number of immigrants in Sydney, many companies would be open to hiring someone on a Bridging Visa, and that I could always focus on finding a good contract role, should it be too hard to find something permanent straight away. It all worked out just fine in the end.

My advice to you is to just live your life. Work on your relationship. Build a network, both private and professional. Hone your skills. Enjoy living in Australia. Explore. The time will pass anyway and processing times aren’t getting any shorter, so you might as well make the most of it.

Don’t forget that this is only the first stage of the application, i.e. it’s important that you continue to collect evidence of your relationship even after you have submitted all your documents for stage one.

Good luck with your application!


If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below or contact me directly via

Please note that I am not a qualified migration agent, nor do I work for immigration. This post simply details my experience with applying for the visa. If you need additional advice or more up-to-date information, please contact DIAC.

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