Australian Onshore Partner Visa 820 GRANTED!

6 Jan

Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting that! Five hours after I turned in my FBI police clearance, my partner visa was granted! I’m still a little bit in shock! Is this too many exclamation points?!

This has been quite the 9-month roller coaster and to be honest, I’m glad to be off of it. In this post I’ll do a brief synopsis of our visa journey so far. At the end I’ll link the posts I’ve written about applying for this visa. I hope this information helps someone out, and as always, if you have any questions feel free to ask them.

First, my Australian husband and I met online in 2005 and met for the first time in 2008 when he traveled to my home in Michigan. We spent the next several years going back and forth between the US and Australia. After I finished university in May 2012, I arrived in Australia on a Work and Holiday Visa (462) with the intention of staying with him and working until he graduated that November.

A few months in, he decided he wanted to pursue a teaching degree which would take an additional year. That meant if we didn’t do something, we would be separated again, as my visa expired June 2013. So, as we were already engaged, we simply eloped and decided to apply for a partner visa.

After several months of collecting documents and evidence, we lodged our application in person at the Brisbane Department of Immigration and Citizenship (as it was then called) on March 25, 2013. Forked over an arm and a leg, and started the wait.

I applied for my police checks around the same time. The Australian one came within a week. At the end of April, I received notice from the FBI that my fingerprints were not readable and to send in another set. I did, and waited. and waited. and waited. Unable to find the customer service phone number at the time, I sent in another application at the end of September. Cue government shut down. Finally, money left my account on November 15 for the application.

On November 25, one day after our first anniversary of married life, and eight months after lodging our initial application, I received a request for more information–that meant the police checks and medical.

My medical was completed on December 9, 2013 and I turned in my Australian police check that same day. I received notice that my medicals had cleared on December 13, 2013.

Still waiting for my FBI police check, I made several calls and eventually learned that my fingerprints were readable, they had sent out the certificate on November 25, and had made a mistake on the address, which is why it never reached me. A second copy was sent December 12.

At the end of my rope, it finally appeared in my letterbox on January 6, 2014. I immediately scanned it in to my case officer, and five hours later I received my visa grant!

If you’d like more details, follow these links to more information about my visa journey:

That isn’t the end of visa posts, however. I was granted the 820, which is the first step toward Australian permanent residency and citizenship. In March 2015, I’ll be eligible for the 801, which is permanent residency. Afterwards, I will probably pursue citizenship barring any sudden changes in plan. At the very least, it will make traveling back and forth between Australia and the US a lot simpler!

I’d like to thank everyone for following these posts, offering support, advice, and asking questions! I love hearing from people going through the same thing so if you have any questions at all, please feel free to ask. Wishing you luck on your visa journey!


35 Responses to “Australian Onshore Partner Visa 820 GRANTED!”

  1. Gem January 6, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

    You were so unbelievably lucky to get granted in 9 months. We have been waiting 13 months and still get told to bugger off by immi. Let alone the nightmare that we are also having with the FBI checks. Do you have a workable number for the FBI checks so we can keep trying to push them? It’s getting ridiculous to be waiting quite this long.

    I have a feeling that until we get our FBI checks in, we will still be waiting and thats whats concerning me right now. BTW I’m the aussie, my husband is american. Thanks.

    • inkhearted January 7, 2014 at 12:31 am #

      Hi Gem! I am so sorry to hear about your FBI troubles. I HATED dealing with them. I was trying to get my clearance out of them for ten months, which is absolutely ridiculous. They need to sort out their systems and make this process a lot less painful.

      The number I’ve been calling is 1-(304)-625-5590. A few of the customer service representatives can be a bit grumpy and you really have to push to make sure you’re getting what you want. From what I’ve read on forums, a LOT of clearances have been going missing in the mail lately. It might be good just to make sure they’ve entered your address correctly in their computers.

      Have you already turned in the medical and Australian police check (if needed), or had any contact with immigration at all? At 13 months, they are supposed to be answering questions about how much longer it’s going to take. I’m so sorry it’s been such a long wait for you. Low-risk countries don’t usually take so long, though I did see a case of an American who had an Australian-citizen baby with his Australian wife who didn’t get approved until the 18-month mark, and you’d think they would process people with children a little faster! There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to why people have to wait or get approved quicker, unfortunately. :/

      Let me know how it goes with the FBI. Getting this clearance is an absolute nightmare to deal with.

      • Gem January 11, 2014 at 4:48 am #

        Thanks Emily for the follow up.
        Our application was front loaded (so medicals have already expired, they’ve told us in writing they can ‘elect’ to extend them by 6 months).

        Still no word on FBI. Nor from a case officer. Will try to follow up next week and see what DIBP say.

      • inkhearted January 11, 2014 at 9:47 am #

        So you’ve had to deal with the FBI twice! I’m so sorry.

        I would definitely enquire about the status when you can. There’s no reason for it to be taking that long! Hoping for good news for you soon.

  2. Bri February 19, 2014 at 10:38 pm #

    Hi there! Congratulations on being granted the partner visa. I have another question for you. πŸ™‚ Are you able to travel outside of Australia on the temporary partner visa for the first two years before being considered for the permanent partner visa? It makes note on the permanent visa that you can travel to and from Australia for up to 5 years but says nothing about traveling on the temporary partner visa. Let me know if you know! Thanks. πŸ™‚

    • inkhearted February 19, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

      Thanks! Yes, you are able to travel on your temporary visa once it’s granted–no restrictions. My visa grant letter says: “Travel Facility: Multiple.” So you can leave and reenter Australia as many times as you want. Hope that helps!

      • Bri February 20, 2014 at 12:56 am #

        Awesome. That helps a lot, thank you!

  3. Nick February 28, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    Hi there!
    Congratulations on being granted your Visa!
    I’m about to start a very similar process with my US partner by entering Australia on a Work and Holiday (462) Visa then applying for a Partner Visa, I would really appreciate it if you could answer a couple of questions for me, I hope you haven’t been asked them aleady:
    – The Immi website isn’t very clear on wether the “No Further Stay” condition will be applied to a Work and Holiday visa. Did you or anyone you know from the US have this applied to their visa?
    – How long after you entered Australia on your 462 visa did you start the application process for the Partner Visa? I’ve read Some people doing it on the very last day…
    – Did you get granted a bridging visa automatically when you submitted your Partner visa and waiting for your temporary partner visa?

    • inkhearted February 28, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

      Hi Nick! Congratulations on starting the visa process.

      The NFS condition CAN be applied to the 462–it can be applied to any visa, from what I understand. However, I personally haven’t encountered it. It wasn’t attached to my 462 when I came over, and I’ve actually had 3 friends come over on the 462 and none of them had a NFS condition either. I think it’s more commonly applied to visas of people from high risk countries. So, it COULD be applied to your partner’s visa but my guess is that it likely won’t be.

      I entered Australia in June 2012, got married November 2012, and applied for my partner visa at the end of March 2013. So, about nine months into my stay. A lot of the people who apply on the last day of their visa are in de facto relationships and need to prove that they were living together for a year (for me, getting married waived that requirement). It also helps to apply later on so that you can build up evidence of your relationship–shared bills, social events, travel, etc. Personally, I wouldn’t leave it until the VERY last day just in case there was a technical issue or something happened to delay the immediate processing of your application, but it is possible.

      I handed my visa in in person which I don’t think you can do anymore, and my Bridging Visa was granted at that time, though I didn’t receive a letter about it until a week later. If you apply online, I believe you get the Bridging Visa letter almost immediately. However, the BV doesn’t come into effect until after the 462 expires. (So, I applied in March and granted the BV, but wasn’t actually on the BV until June.)

      Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions, and good luck with your application!

      • Nick March 1, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

        Thank-you so much for your detailed reply. I really appreciate it.
        I have just one more for you, if you don’t mind.
        When you entered Australia for the first time on the 462 did you get a lot of questions from the authorities (if any)?
        For example, the proof of $5000 and enough funds to cover a return ticket? Or what and where you planned on being in Australia?

        I know this depends a lot on the person at the border (and their current mood sometimes!) but any information you have I would greatly appreciate.

        Thanks again,


      • inkhearted March 1, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

        It definitely does depend on the person, but I’ve never had any issues at customs. I always say Australian customs officials are some of the nicest I’ve ever met.

        When I first arrived on the 462, I was asked what I planned to do and where I was going to stay–but it was in a friendly, conversational sort of manner, so I’m not sure if the person was just being polite or if this is something they ask everyone. I wasn’t asked for proof of $5000, or health insurance, or anything else. The lady at the counter just scanned my passport, asked what I’d be doing, and waved me through.

        I actually left on the 462 for a few days to go to New Zealand and came back, and didn’t get any questions at all then.

        Hope that helps!

  4. Brett June 1, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    Thanks so much for writing about your experience. I have one question. If my partner was to come over to Australia and then lodge our application as soon as possible, would she need some sort of temporary visa for this or could she just come over on the Visa Waiver and then apply? She did the Work and Holiday Visa here all of 2013 so we have proof of living together for 12 months.


    • inkhearted June 2, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

      Hi Brett! It is possible to apply on a visa waiver, however you must be clear that applying for another visa is not your intention. You should say that your partner is going to Australia for a holiday and to see the country, get to know your friends, etc., and then you “suddenly” decide to apply. Are you applying on de facto grounds rather than on marriage grounds? I’m not as familiar with de facto applications, but I think you might run into difficulties applying that way if you haven’t lived together since 2013, regardless of the 12 months of living together, but I could be wrong! You might want to check with a visa forum or something similar to make sure it’s okay–others who have applied de facto will be able to advise you better.

  5. lamia kamal June 23, 2014 at 5:01 pm #


    congratulations on your visa. Just one question if i have given them both police clearance and health check on first time when i applied do i have to give it to them again as its 9 months passed since i applied( 1/10/13)??


    • inkhearted June 23, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

      Hi Lamia! The police clearances and the health check both expire after a year, so you won’t need to redo them just yet. After a year, it’s up to your case officer. I have heard that in some cases a case officer might extend the expiry of the health check by six months, but it’s really up to them.

      You still have three months left, though–fingers crossed you get an approval before then! πŸ™‚

      • Lamia July 16, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

        Thanks for your reply. I am hoping that my visa would get approve within next 3 months. Lamia

  6. Matt July 16, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    Hi Emily, thanks so much for this blog. It’s a treasure trove of information for people starting this journey. Just a quick question: once you hand in your application for the partner visa are you allowed to leave the country, or do you have to wait till the temp visa is granted? My WHV expires in January and we have a wedding in the UK in June, and I’m trying to work out if it’s possible to make it
    Any help would be much appreciated,

    • inkhearted July 16, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

      Hi Matt! I’m glad the blog has been helpful. πŸ™‚ When you hand in your application, you’ll be granted a Bridging Visa A which will kick in when your WHV expires in January. You can’t travel on the BVA. However, you can apply for a Bridging Visa B at an extra cost which will allow you to travel for a certain length of time. I never applied for a BVB but plenty of people have and it looks like a fairly straightforward process. Here’s a link for more info:

      Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more questions. πŸ™‚

  7. Nasif August 24, 2014 at 8:45 am #

    Hi inkhearted,

    Let me tell you my story. I guess you will be able to give me some advise.

    I am an Australia PR and I am planning to get married with one girl who I met through my family by Dec 2014. We are chatting/talking/texting for the last 8-9 months and by our family we have decide that we will marry. Now my next plan is that I will be going back to my country in Dec and get married.

    In the mean time, she is trying to get admitted in an University for her Masters (which she would have tried even we did not get married) and planning to apply for a student visa. if she gets student visa, she will come with me after getting married in December.

    I did considered applying for PMV but I don’t have that much time and my partner want to come ASAP. That’s why I am considering this approach.

    I can show all related documents to establish the relation including marriage certificate, email/chat logs, wedding photos, etc.

    My Questions is:

    1. Can I apply for Onshore Partner/Spouse Visa after she arrives in Australia?
    2. Please note that we will be married by December before we enter Australia and she will be coming as aStudent and I will be coming as PR. Will there be any issue?
    3. Will there be any issue applying for partner visa after she arrive here in Australia as a student ? or is it valid to apply for a partner visa while on a student visa?

    Any other help or advise regarding my issue will be highly appreciated.


    • inkhearted August 24, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

      Hi Nasif! I want to preface this by saying I’m by no means an expert, but it seems to me you shouldn’t have too much of a problem applying for a partner visa while your wife is on a student visa–in fact, being able to live together for a while and build up even more evidence will likely help your case.

      The only problem would arise if your partner’s student visa is issued with a No Further Stay condition. From what I understand, the No Further Stay condition would be outlined in her visa acceptance letter IF it is applied to her visa. NFS simply means that she would not be able to apply for any other visa that would allow her to stay beyond her student visa (so, she wouldn’t be able to apply for the partner visa onshore). However, I haven’t seen many NFS conditions in the several years I have been reading through immigration forums, so I don’t think they’re incredibly common, and you likely won’t get one.

      So–once she’s in Australia on a valid visa without a NFS condition, there would be no issue whatsoever with her applying for a partner visa while on a student visa.

      Alternatively, have you looked into getting her added to your PR? I’m not entirely sure how this works as I haven’t gone through it myself, but from what I’ve read elsewhere it sounds like immediate family members such as spouses and children are often able to be added to permanent residency visas. Again, I don’t know much about it, and it would likely depend on what sort of visa you’re on, but I think it’s something that might be worth looking into!

      I hope that helped. Let me know if you have any other questions.


      • Nasif August 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

        Thank you so much Emily for your detailed reply. πŸ™‚
        I could apply for an offshore visa but that would mean she have to stay offshore and she does not want to be that way. πŸ™‚

        One more thing, once I apply for an onshore partner/spouse visa, I heard that she’ll continue to be bound by the terms of her student visa until either the student visa expires on its own or her visa is granted.I understand, She’ll need to ensure she continues to study and follow any restrictions on her work hours until then but will she be eligible for medicare? My question is when the bridging visa will be active? What has happened in your case?


      • inkhearted August 24, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

        Yes, she will be bound by the terms of her student visa in regards to work, but I believe she will be eligible for Medicare as soon as she applies for the other visa. I was on a Work and Holiday visa when I applied, and I was eligible for Medicare straight away even though I was still on my other visa for a few months.

        As for the Bridging Visa, it doesn’t go into effect until the student visa has expired. But that shouldn’t affect when she is eligible for Medicare. Check out this thread for more info:



  8. Theo November 20, 2014 at 5:29 am #

    Hi Emily

    Encouraging story!

    I am a PR living in Australia most of my life,

    My girlfriend has been granted TOURIST visa (Subclass 600) which does NOT have a NFS condition on it.

    DOes that mean we could apply for a 820 while she is here in Australia?

    Do you AUTOMATICALLY get the bridging visa after the tourist visa expires or do you have to have some VALID visa (eg student) to stay here?

    Thank you!


    • inkhearted November 20, 2014 at 6:36 am #

      Hi Theo! Yes, you should be able to apply for an 820 while she’s in Australia. Plenty of people apply on a tourist visa, which is a valid visa (that is, she isn’t breaking any laws by not being on any visa at all, or being on an expired visa). The bridging visa will kick in immediately after the tourist visa expires. Hope that helps–let me know if you have any other questions! Good luck!

  9. Rebecca January 9, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    Your blog is very helpful. Quick question: I am just now starting the application and I’m looking at the document checklist. Is states that I need certified copies of marriage certificates for me and anyone else included in the application even if they are not joining me in Australia. Do I seriously need to include certified copies (plain old copies would be a pain enough) of marriage certificates for all of my family members who are married?!

    • inkhearted January 9, 2015 at 7:12 pm #

      If your family members aren’t included in the application, you won’t need to include certified copies of marriage certificates for them. I know you have to mention your family on some of the forms, but if they’re not listed under applicants then you don’t need to worry about it. (You should be the primary applicant, and there is room for a handful of others as well–if no one else is in those spaces, they’re not applicants.)

      Hope that helps!! Good luck!

  10. Lisa brown October 27, 2015 at 10:54 am #

    Hi, I’m just reading your online visa blog. Just to clarify how long did permanent residency take to come through? We’re just at the start. My bridging visa starts on Jan 3rd 2016. It can’t come soon enough. I miss working. We are also in the same situation as you were. Who saves receipts. It’s crazy

    • Ali October 29, 2015 at 11:07 pm #

      Hi, Just went through your posts and delighted to see how many smiling face are there.

      Anyway…I got married on 23-08-2015 and applied for 820/801 on 6th September, we know each other since 2012 and have son 2.5 year old. I have got the BV however unsure on further process.

      Could you help?

      • inkhearted October 31, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

        Hi Ali! At the moment all you have to do is wait. Your visa will be granted eventually. I think with a child there’s a possibility that you will go straight to the 801, but I could be wrong about that. If not, your 820 will be granted and in September 2017 you will be asked to submit more information showing that you are still in a committed relationship, and then your 801 will be granted.

  11. Sarah lynn November 20, 2015 at 8:22 am #

    Hello, I have a question for you. My Fiance and I are about to go through the same process, but I am from the U.S. and he is from Australia. We want to have the wedding in the U.S and then travel to australia to begin the exact same process you did. Do you have any clue what visa i should be on to go back to australia with him after the wedding? We want to definitely do the onshore partner visa so we don’t have to be apart any longer. We were thinking I apply for a travel visa but I don’t know how that would work. Thank you.

    • inkhearted November 20, 2015 at 9:02 am #

      Plenty of people do successfully apply for the onshore partner visa while on a travel visa, but here’s the thing: technically a travel visa is for travelling, not for intending to stay permanently. That means that if immigration suspects you intend to apply for a permanent visa onshore while on a travel visa, they have the right to refuse you entry into the country. Being married to an Australian citizen and not having a return ticket to the US may look a bit suspicious.

      That said, plenty of people have done it. There just is that risk factor to be aware of, but that’s going to come with any visa if you’re already married to your fiance. Another visa option would be the Work and Holiday visa if you qualify. Hope that helps!

  12. Molly December 2, 2015 at 11:45 pm #

    Thank you so much ..the information help me so much


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