I’m on a provisional partner visa and my relationship is over! Can I still get my permanent partner visa?

Partner visas are a two stage affair, with the permanent second stage visa to follow after two years are fulfilled on the temporary subclass 820 / 309 visa. If you have completed stage two and you have a permanent visa, the end of your relationship will not create grounds for a cancellation of your visa. However, if you are still on a provisional 820 or 309 visa, there is an obligation on the couple to inform the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) should the relationship end, and the sponsored applicant will be given 28 days from when the DIBP acknowledges the change in circumstances to respond.

What a stressful, unhappy situation to be in. We would not wish this on anyone but we’re going to write about it so you don’t have to go through that added stress of ploughing through heartbreaking forums with no actual information.

We hate being the bringer of bad news, but to be completely honest if you are still looking to stay in Australia, the options are quite limited. Only under the following circumstances would your permanent visa be considered.


DIBP Gobbledegook

  1. would meet the requirements of subclause (2) or except that the sponsoring partner has died; and
  2. satisfies the Minister that the applicant would have continued to be the spouse or de facto partner of the sponsoring partner if the sponsoring partner had not died; and
  3. has developed close business, cultural or personal ties in Australia


  1. the applicant would meet the requirements of subclause(2) or except that the relationship between the applicant and the sponsoring partner has ceased; and
  2. either or both of the following circumstances applies:
    1. either or both of the following:
      1. the applicant;
      2. a dependent child of the sponsoring partner or of the applicant or  of both of them; has suffered family violence committed by the sponsoring partner;
    2. the applicant:
        1. has custody or joint custody of, or access to; or
        2. has a residence order or contact order made under the Family Law Act 1975 relating to; at least 1 child in respect of whom the sponsoring partner;
        3. has been granted joint custody or access by a court; or
        4. has a residence order or contact order made under the Family Law Act 1975; or
        5. has an obligation under a child maintenance order made under the Family Law Act 1975, or any other formal maintenance obligation.


Translated, this means…

In limited circumstances, if a relationship on a 820 visa falls apart during the two year wait, the applicant may still be eligible for their permanent visa if:

  • Your sponsor has passed away after the application has been applied for and had he/she had not passed away you would have met the 2 year requirement for your PR grant. However you will still need to prove to the department that you have developed close business, cultural or personal ties in Australia. An example of this of course that you still have a close relationship with your deceased sponsors family, or
  • You and/or a dependent child has suffered from family violence under the hands of the sponsor, or
  • You have child(ren) with or custody to child(ren) with the sponsor. Basically if you have a child from your relationship and the child resides in Australia, you will automatically have some form of custody rights so they cannot kick you out of Australia.

If the above applies to you, you will need to inform the DIBP in writing of your circumstances. As with every visa, you will need to furnish the DIBP with evidence of your claims – death certificate, Family Court custody papers, report(s) from an independent expert on family violence and so forth. If you do not fall under any of those circumstances, then you will have to look at other visa options.

Karl Konrad is one of Australia’s most respected migration agents. He founded Australian Immigration Law Services in 1998 together with his wife, Emi, and has been advising and acting for clients on migration matters for nearly two decades. He has extensive experience in all areas of Australian migration law.

It is important to have a good think about how much you want to stay in Australia given your situation. If you have decided that this is the place you want to be in, you will need to put in the legwork to stay. You could speak to your current employer to see if they are able and willing to sponsor you. Alternatively, it’s a good time to pick up on studies if you have been thinking about doing so, or look to see if you will be eligible for general skilled migration. In limited circumstances, if you have another partner, you might be able to apply for another provisional partner visa. This is with an understanding of the requirements on such a visa (see one year de facto requirement ). However looking for a new partner sponsor at the end of your relationship for the purpose of a visa will likely be an unsuccessful endeavour.