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Partner Visa Options – September 2021


I think all of you who are reading this know that on the 18th of August 2021 the Department in Australia finally allowed Travel Ban Exemptions to be applied-for for Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visa (PMV) holders. It was the end of a horrible and heartbreaking time for those who (a) had their visas finally granted but (b) couldn’t enter Australia! Awful time, but thankfully now at an end! This has helped them, and also has changed the possibilities and opportunities for partner visa applications for Australian Filipina couples.

To those of you who put pressure on parliamentarians and signed petitions? Well done! End of the day, the likes of Mr Morrison are worried about being re-elected, and this may be the one factor that will bring the world back to normalcy especially in Australia. 


partner visa options september 2021

It’s a hard road, but Down Under Visa are still working!


What do the changes mean for options for partner visas?


Fairly significant actually!

We at Down Under Visa have a job, and that is to help our Australian Filipina clients get what they want. If you say “I want an offshore partner visa” or “I want a prospective marriage visa”, as long as you’re qualified (and we won’t waste your time and money!) we will help you to achieve just that. It’s your life. Not ours. We are here to make it happen for you.


We will try to encourage you to take the option that will make life easier for you! And for a time, we certainly were NOT encouraging anyone to take the PMV route because of the unresolved Australian Travel Ban issue. No exemptions! Fortunately that has now changed, and the Prospective Marriage Visa is once again a viable option to those who wish to marry in Australia.


Partner Visa Options in September 2021


Onshore Partner Visa (Subclass 820) with a Tourist Visa (to get you onshore in the first place)


For many years this was the Number One option to bring partners from Philippines to Australia. It brought clients together in Australia fairly quickly, and allowed the Onshore Partner Visa applicant to remain in Australia on a bridging visa whilst the partner visa is being processed. 



  • Applicant travels to Australia from Philippines on a tourist visa, which takes less processing time (so in normal times arrives in Australia sooner)
  • As long as the partner visa is finalised, the applicant goes onto a Bridging Visa automatically and is allowed to remain inside Australia
  • Work rights normally granted on a bridging visa
  • Able to apply for Medicare
  • Processing time really not an issue, because you’re already together inside Australia and can remain until the partner visa is processed



  • High-pressure, due to deadlines. You need to marry and finalise the partner visa application before the tourist visa runs out, and you can’t waste time finalising any missing visa requirements!
  • Must be *married OR in an existing (NOT new!) de facto relationship before applying for the visa
  • Online weddings must be registered at the Philippines Consulate in San Francisco, therefore must be registered ASAP to avoid delays. Down Under Visa can do this for you!***
  • Any kids (school age) included in the visa application have very expensive school fees whilst on the bridging visa (varies between states, so contact the state Education Department….not us!!)
  • Main issue: **Requires a Travel Ban Exemption first before you may travel to Australia. 


NOTES re. the above (and below):

1. *Pressure to marry? I sometimes get people saying “We don’t want to get married just to satisfy the Government!” Well, guess what? You HAVE to! And unless you are in a de facto relationship (with evidence of a shared-life!) you will need to marry online before we lodge any application, be it tourist visa or onshore partner visa!

2. **Travel Ban Exemptions? These are available (on application) to spouses of Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents, however whilst most that we apply-for are granted, sometimes we have issues. Most eventually go through, but we do have a sad few which are in limbo. So basically we’re saying that this more-stressful option is sometimes very stressful and takes longer than we all expect.

And the TRAVEL BAN EXEMPTION requires that you be MARRIED or in a DE FACTO RELATIONSHIP before applying for a tourist visa. So no chance of marrying later in Australia (at this time) on an Onshore Partner Visa. None at all!

3. ***You will have seen in our last article that we can manage your Report Of Marriage for you, to save you from making mistakes and wasting time. EMAIL US!


Offshore Partner Visa (Subclass 309)


We apply for this in Manila while the visa applicant is in the Philippines. The visa applicant needs to be married or in an established de facto relationship. The applicant remains in Philippines until the visa is granted, and may then travel to Australia.



  • Right now (2021), they are processing these fairly quickly. They are not taking years like they used to. 
  • No tourist visa is needed
  • Tourist visa applications MAY be made at the same time (with a travel ban exemption if qualified)
  • No TRAVEL BAN EXEMPTION is needed for the partner visa, and the visa-holder may enter Australia freely
  • Must be married or in a de facto relationship for the visa to be granted, but may in fact apply earlier as long as the marriage takes place before the visa grant (see notes above)
  • Almost tailor-made for online weddings!
  • As long as the applicant and sponsor have a genuine and committed spousal relationship (which we can prove), there is nothing in the legislation that requires the couple have met in person! So this can work for couples in long-term relationships stuck apart due to COVID.
  • May also work in Australia and apply for Medicare
  • Kids included in the visa application are treated just like Aussie kids in Australia (so you save a fortune in school fees!)



  • In a normal year (everyone remember “normal years”??) you would spend more time apart than with an onshore partner visa. These days? Not necessarily! But it remains for consideration.
  • Online weddings must be registered at the Philippines Consulate in San Francisco, therefore must be registered ASAP to avoid delays. Down Under Visa can do this for you! (see notes above)
  • Unless you’ve met in person before, waste of time trying to apply for a Travel Ban Exemption and a Tourist Visa




Yes, back on the cards again!

The old fiancee visa! Many years ago this was the Number One option for Australian Filipina couples. Used to be speedy to process, and suited most peoples plans which was to marry inside Australia at their leisure. This is still the plan of many couples.



  • You don’t need to marry first. You just need to have that firm intention to marry.
  • You may marry in Australia within (currently) 12 months of the visa grant (NOT the date she arrives in Australia)
  • Processing times are getting faster, and not taking years to finalise like they were
  • Less shared-life evidence required
  • No tourist visas needed
  • No pressure to meet deadlines (except the 12 months after the visa is granted)
  • A Travel Ban Exemption is now available, so when granted (the exemption as well as the visa) the applicant may enter Australia freely
  • The visa holder may work in Australia
  • Included-children may attend school and be treated like other Aussie kids, ie no high fees



  • At the moment the travel ban exemptions are not available unless it has been 12 months since the visa application was lodged (ie not from the grant date!). This may be an issue if the visa is granted earlier.
  • Tourist visas are not a possibility because fiancee’s don’t qualify for Travel Ban Exemptions (before the PMV is granted)
  • Visa holders may not apply for Medicare until after applying for the permanent partner visa later (so really do need private health insurance)
  • After marrying, there is an onshore partner visa application to be made before the 12 months after the grant period. (NOTE: This is a serious visa application, however is not horribly expensive. It must be done though, and Down Under Visa may be engaged to manage this for you.)


So there you have it! Let us know if you want us to manage a successful visa application for you. Start with by spending five minutes doing the free assessment (link below).


Further information:


Offshore Partner Visa

Prospective Marriage Visa

Onshore Partner Visa

Online weddings

Travel ban exemptions for PMV holders

Registering online marriages with Philippines Consulate



Free online visa assessment form from Down Under Visa


COVID CONCERNS? From 21 Feb 2022 the Australian border will be open. You just need a visa and to be double-vaxed! Click above and get a free assessment!


Jeff Harvie is a Registered Migration Agent from Australia, but resident in Philippines since 2010 with his Filipina wife Mila and large extended family. Experienced with the Philippines culture, cross-cultural relationships and bureaucracy as well as Australian visas and Australian Migration Law, he writes with authority and fortunately with enough informality and humour that the average Aussie gets it! Down Under Visa specialises in visas for Australians in relationships with ladies and gents from Philippines, Thailand, China and Vietnam. Read MORE


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