Visitor (Tourist) Visas intersect with Partner Visas in two ways:
- If you are visiting Australia and wish to apply for a Partner Visa (Subclass 820) while you are in Australia, or
- If you have applied for a Partner Visa (Subclass 309) from overseas and wish to visit Australia while your application is being considered.
Already in Australia and want to apply for a Partner Visa (Tourist Visa then Partner Visa)
Many people travel to Australia on a visitor visa and then, while they’re here, decide to make an application for a Partner Visa so they can stay together as a couple. There’s nothing wrong with this and the Department grants visas in this situation all the time.
However, it is not always this straightforward. Simply having an Australian partner does not entitle a person to travel to Australia, even for a holiday. Unfortunately, some individuals, especially those from countries deemed by the Immigration Department to be ‘high risk’, can struggle to get visas to visit Australia. The main reason is the Department’s concern that they might overstay, or that their stated reason for visiting is not genuine.
Remember, if you are applying for a visitor visa, you are supposed to have an intention to leave Australia before that visa expires (‘Genuine Temporary Entry’) – this means that you aren’t supposed to be planning to make an application for another visa, including a partner visa, while you’re visiting.
For this reason, the Department may, in its absolute discretion, impose the dreaded ‘Condition 8503 – No Further Stay’. As it sounds, this condition prevents a visa holder from staying beyond the expiry of their current visa – practically, this prevents them from making any further visa application from inside Australia (other than a refugee visa).
If you have Condition 8503 imposed on your visa, and are unable to have the condition waived by the Department, you will need to leave Australia before your visa expires and make an application from outside Australia for the Offshore Partner Visa (Subclass 309).
The fact that you have lodged a partner visa application offshore does not prevent you from being granted a visitor visa to come back to Australia while your Partner Visa application is under consideration. Which leads us to scenario two.