In short? Yes, you can lodge an Australian partner visa (Subclass 820) onshore (ie. inside Australia).
In not-so-short? Yes, as long as you are organized and don’t think you can fumble your way through. Australian visa applications are a serious business. It’s not like renewing the dog license at the local council. Get it right, or you get nothing!
What we’re talking about here is:
- Arriving in Australia on a tourist visa
- Applying for a Subclass 820 partner visa before the tourist visa runs out
Not as easy as that sounds! Chances are you have three months on a tourist visa stay to do a lot of things.
- If you’re not married, or already in a de facto relationship that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is going to accept as sufficient to grant a partner visa on, then you have a legal wedding to organize and fulfil.
- You then need to have a partner visa application that’s ready to lodge, and to lodge it before the visa stay (normally 3 months) runs out
Stuff it up and you either run out of time, or you lodge a terrible application that will come back and bite you. That means full of mistakes, wrong information, insufficient evidence of your relationship, missing documents or possibly documents that later turn out to be false. Run out of time or get a refusal, and you’re on the plane and out of there. Can you imagine anything so awful?
See Down Under Visa sooner rather than later and get some professional help and some sound organisational directions!
Can you marry in Australia on a tourist visa?
You’ve always been able to marry in Australia on a tourist visa. Perfectly OK, and perfectly legal. And if your intention has been primarily to visit and spend time with your fiancé, then also perfectly OK if you then marry at the same time.
Be aware that you need to give a 30 day notice to get a marriage license in Australia. You both sign the Notice of Intent to Marry (NOIM) with the marriage celebrant (priest, pastor or private celebrant) and in 30 days you may legally marry. And there are not too many celebrants who are sitting around with nothing to do. Assume that they may have appointments months ahead.
So yes, it may be done legally and it may be done practically. And if you’re not married or not genuine de factos, then you can’t apply for a partner visa.
Can you apply for a partner visa when you’re on a tourist visa?
Yes, you can. Again, your intention should be primarily to visit and spend time with your fiancé in Australia to enhance your relationship, but the Departmental Procedures Advice Manual (PAM3) even states that it’s OK that marriage was your intention as well.
And unless your tourist visa has a Condition 8503 (no further stay) on it, there is nothing preventing you from applying for a permanent visa like a partner visa while you are inside Australia. Condition 8503’s used to be fairly standard from Manila once upon a time. Nearly all tourist visas had them. But we haven’t seen a client issued with one for around 3 years now, so it’s very unlikely that it will happen.
What can go wrong?
As I said before, the main issue is being disorganized and underestimating the amount of work involved. There is a lot! And there are also documents that you need from inside Philippines which are hard to get from inside Australia. This is coupled with the fact that most sponsors are not on holidays during the 3 month visit, and the fact that the romance of being together often seems to take priority. Prepare boring and confusing paperwork, or have a romantic evening and maybe make some babies? Which one of THOSE two tends to get put off until tomorrow?
So please talk to us about your intentions, and for goodness sakes make a start on everything before heading to Australia. Ideally we’d like to see at least ½ of the application prepared before the visa applicant gets on the plane at Manila bound for Australia! This is your future happiness and family stability at stake. Don’t try to put off the work and the payments, or this process could take you a lot of years.