From Student Visa to Partner Visa

Australian Partner Visa

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Transferring From Student Visa to Partner Visa.

A number of Student Visa holders in Australia will marry an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident while they are studying in Australia.
Thoughts then turn to applying for a Partner Visa so they can stay in Australia after their Student Visa ends.

The Student Visa holder will apply for the 820/801 Onshore Partner Visa route, and then wait..

  • Some people think it is easy, fast and automatic, but it isn’t.
  • Some realise it isn’t that easy, but are not worried, as they are expecting to get a Bridging Visa (BVA), that will give them full working rights immediately.  However that BVA will not go into effect until after the Student Visa ceases.
  • Some realise that the BVA will not go into effect until after the Student Visa ends, so they go ahead and cancel the Student Visa.. BUT, cancelling the student visa, also cancels the BVA.

Many people get caught out by these rules, as they didn’t read everything fully, and then end up hiring an Immigration Agent to try to fix up the problem.

Current Student Visa – Partner Visa Rules.

A Student Visa allows limited working rights, and the holder will stay on that Visa until it either ends, or the 820 Temporary Partner Visa is granted.

The current (May 2018) processing time for the 820 visa is: 75% are granted within 17 months and another 15% in 24 months, with 10% taking over 24 months.  More up to date times may be found at: Australian Visa Processing Times

This means that the Student will remain on the Student Visa, and have to abide by the conditions of that visa, for another one or two years, or until the Student Visa comes to an end.


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If the Student Visa ends before the 820 Visa is granted, then you will get a Bridging Visa that will allow full working rights, with Medicare etc.

This is an important thing to remember:

  • An 820/801 application will automatically grant a Bridging Visa (BVA) with full work rights, but that won’t go into effect until the student visa ceases.

A Student Visa holder who applies for the 820/801 Onshore Partner Visa just before the Student Visa expires (a week or two before) is not really affected by this, as the BVA will come into effect as soon as the Student Visa expires, so it will only be a short time having to remain under the Student Visa conditions.

Relevant Wording from the Immigration Website:

If you lodge your Partner application and your current visa ends before you are granted a temporary Partner visa (subclass 820), you can stay in Australia on a Bridging visa A (BVA) while the temporary visa is being processed. You do not have to apply for a BVA – it is automatically granted when you apply for your partner visa. www.homeaffairs.gov.au/…/820/bridging-visa.aspx

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The information we give is based on personal experiences, reading and formulation of available statistics.
Some Visa Applicants might find an Experienced Australian Migration Agent of great assistance. - ai16

49 thoughts on “From Student Visa to Partner Visa”

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  2. Hi thank you so much for the information.

    I’ve already applied for the partner visa and waiting for granted.

    I’m on a student visa which will expire in March 2022. But I delayed my graduation to July 2022 (I got a new COE from Uni). Can I ask do I still have to apply for a new student visa , OR I can just wait and study under BVA?

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Your BVA takes over when your student visa expires.

      Once the BVA is active, based on a partner visa application, you can work, study, apply for Medicare etc.

  3. Hello a question 🙋🏻‍♂️ I have a student visa for more than 4 years (500), but I married my partner who has citizenship because we had a baby, we thought I would no longer have to study anymore and also that I could work without restrictions, I think I have a great responsibility and I can no longer assume the cost of the study and also the money for my expenses does not reach me. It is a special case since I need to ensure the well-being of my son and with the restrictions I have it is very difficult for me, you can give me some advice please

    1. You now need to apply for a partner visa, probably the onshore subclass 820.

      However, the ability to no longer follow the rules of your current visa will not change until the earliest of either: The 820 is granted, or your current student visa expires (and you have a valid 820 application).

      When does your 500 visa expire?

      Unfortunately yours would not be considered a special case, as most 500 to partner visa cases are very similar.

  4. I am currently on Student Visa (subclass 500) & am applying for a Partner Visa. My student visa will expire in 5 months. I’m confused about the ‘no longer stay’ restrictions on my current visa because it states that only other study visas can be applied for. My partner visa app keeps bouncing a message back:

    An error has occurredBased on the details provided for XXX one of the following issues is preventing this application from continuing: 

    • They have a previous visa cancellation or refusal.
    • They do not hold an appropriate visa.
    • They have a condition on the current visa.
    • Their location cannot be confirmed.

    Check the details provided and correct where necessary. The application will not be able to continue and further information about the eligibility for this application is available on our website.

    Am I not able to apply for a partner visa?

    1. You do appear to have an unusual condition on your current visa. What is the condition number?

      You may need to discuss this with a migration agent.

      Going from a student visa to a partner visa is not usually a problem, unless you have prior issues.

    2. Even on the main page for Visas through the Department of Home Affairs, it lists 8534 (applied at discretion) & 8435 (mandatory for students sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or Department of Defence) “No Further Stay” restrictions.

      I don’t believe either one of these applies to me. So, I’m befuddled about why I’m getting the response on my Immi app.

      I did have a name change/change of passport details recently & updated my Student Visa through Immi. Could that have caused issue? Maybe my name hasn’t been updated yet on the Student Visa and so when I try to make my way through the partner visa application, it doesn’t find that I am in the country legally on the student visa?

  5. Hi
    Can I ask the question ,I applied partner visa, what will happen if my COE cancelled when my bringing A visa active after my student visa. Because my course longer than my student visa, i dont want to study more when my Bringing visa A active.

    1. If the Student Visa ends before the 820 Visa is granted, then you will get a Bridging Visa that will allow full working rights, with Medicare etc.

      You need to comply with the conditions of your current visa until the bridging visa comes into effect.

  6. I really appreciate this Website, there are so many useful information.

    I applied partner visa 820 with my partner recently, and waiting for grand
    And my current visa is student visa ( until Feb 2022)

    Now I’m planning to go back to my country before Christmas.

    And now I need some advices

    If I go back to my country as student visa, but I’m not sure when I can come back Australia.

    If I can’t come back to Aus before Feb what would happen ?? I know bridging visa normally effects automatically, but if I am oversea, and if I get stuck there,,,

    1. Getting back might be a major problem. There are so many people stuck overseas, including Citizens and permanent residents, but so many more are students who cannot return, even with a valid visa.

      Even with a valid visa, you need to apply for an exemption to come back, and most of those are refused.

      Now is not yet the time to leave, and risk being unable to return.

      There are changes happening in the next few weeks, and some students might be permitted to return in early 2022, but in my mind it is a very big gamble.

      And of course, if you can’t get back before the visa ends, you switch to a BVA for the 820. That does not allow you to return though.

      You need to either be assured of a BVB from immigration, in writing! Or, use a migration agent to ensure you can return once a 820 BVB is active, ie: February 2022.

  7. hi my wife has applied for 820 partner visa and have got bridging visa which is not active while she is on student visa which ends on may 2022.incase if she doesnt get her 820 visa by may 2022.does she have to extend student visa or the bridging visa will be activated?

    1. The Bridging visa will activate in May 2022, when the student visa expiry date is reached, unless the 820 is granted before then.

      The student visa conditions must continue to be met until May 2022, or when the 820 is granted. The consequence of not meeting the conditions can result in the student visa being cancelled AND the bridging visa never being activated.

  8. Hi. I have applied for 820 visa on June this year. I am on student visa but have got the BVA which isn’t active yet until the student visa ceases. My student visa expires on March 2022. I am doing masters in engineering in a reputated university. But because of COVID-19 and my father’s death my family is in a very bad shape financially and I was not able to study full time for last one year. I studied part time. And recently my university decided to cancel my COE as I haven’t been able to comply with the conditions of full time student. From my university it is kind of final that they are going to cancel my COE and inform home affairs about this cancellation. I know that if my student visa gets cancelled my BVA will be cancelled as well. In that case can I go for a diploma degree so that I can still have a valid COE until March 2022? My question is that there is a condition that all the students must continue the level of study and in my case it is AQF level 9. Now does that mean that I need to continue AQF level 9 to extend my visa? My guess is if I have a valid COE until my student VISA expires there won’t be any problem. But I am also confused about continuing AQF Lev 9. Please advise.

    1. That is a bit too complex for me to give 100% correct advice.

      I would suggest using a migration agent to get the correct advice to avoid messing up your visa options.

      1. Okay got it. If I keep continuing my studies and in march when the student visa expires will the BVA gets activated automatically?

  9. Thanks for that information. My partner holds a subclass 866 and was granted its residency month and a half ago. Now we want to apply for a partner visa (I am the applicant) can we do that? I am trying to find information online but with no luck.

    1. From what I see on the subclass 866 Protection visa, the holder is a permanent resident and can sponsor eligible family members for permanent residence through the offshore Humanitarian Program.

      Are you onshore or offshore?
      How long have you been in a committed relationship. ?

  10. Hi,

    Just a quick clarification. I am on STUDENT VISA atm and getting married soon. Do I just apply PARTNER VISA after marriage and wait until it is granted and not defer or cancel the STUDENT VISA because that should override the STUDENT VISA to PARTNER VISA? Is that right? Pls correct me if I’m wrong. Thanks a lot.

    1. You can apply for a Partner visa when eligible, and then wait.
      You stay on the Student Visa conditions etc., until the partner visa is granted, or the Student visa reaches its original expiry date.
      When the Student visa reaches its original expiry date, the bridging visa will become active, and only then do you change to Partner Visa rules and conditions.

      If you were to cancel the Student visa (which would also cancel the attached bridging visa) before the Partner visa is granted, you would need to leave Australia, as it is the student visa that allows you to stay in Australia.

      1. My student visa doesn’t expire until year 2023. Would that mean that I just have to wait for my partner visa to be granted and not defer or cancel my student visa? Is that right? Thanks a lot.

        1. Yes. You stay on the student visa, complying with its terms, until the partner visa is granted. Or, until the student visa expiry date is reached.

  11. Thank you for such an informative post.

    Just to clarify. If my partner applies for a Subclass 820 while he is on his student visa, the processing time will determine when that 820 visa is determined — they won’t delay the processing because he is already on a student visa and make him wait longer?

    So am I correct in saying that, if the 820 is granted, my partner will not have to wait until his student visa expires, he can continue his studies on the 820 visa while the processing of the Subclass 801 continues? Is that correct?

    1. The student visa will have no adverse affect on the processing times of the 820.

      That time varies based your relationship proofs, completeness of application etc.

      Once the 820 is granted, the student visa expires and you are totally under the 820 rules, and you can study, work full time, etc., etc.

      All 820 applications transition from another temporary visa, such as Student, Visitor, temporary work, prospective marriage, etc.

      All those visas expire on the date that the 820 is granted.

      1. if a offshore 309 applicant currently having student visa 500, when the applicant will get 309 grant what will happen to 500 visa? is it same as 820 mentioned above ?

        1. When the 309 visa is granted, the previous visa, the 500 in your case, will no longer be in effect.

          That is currently the same as the 820 mentioned above.

          Once Covid exemptions are over, the 500 visa holder would be told to leave the country so that the 309 can be finalised, and the 309 will be finalised while the applicant is outside Australia.

  12. Hi,
    Just wanted to clarify that once I’ve been granted the 820 partner visa, my student visa will automatically cancel? Thanks

    1. That is what should happen to everyone who gets granted a new visa, and the old one is over-ridden.

      You can only hold one Australian Visa at a time, and for them to give you a new one, they must cancel the old one.

      When our 820 was granted, the old visa was no longer valid, even though it still had 5 months or so to its expiry date.

  13. Hello dear,
    My student visa is end 15 March 2022 but I would like to cancel me student visa. However, my partner visa already grated. Is it possible to cancel??

  14. Hi,
    I have been in partner visa for 6 years and me and my partner recently had the PR approved.

    We have broken up and I am with another person which is on student visa.

    Can I sponsorship her and apply for a partner visa?

    I know it has to be over 5 years since the first time I was sponsored/sponsored my first partner but I am not sure if the time we were in student visa counts.

    1. 5 years must have passed since the date of making the application for the first partner visa and the approval of the new partner visa.

      1. Yes but I understand that joining anothers student visa does not count as sponsoring?
        Hence the 5 years we were in de facto visa as international students do not count but the time since we applied for permanent residency does, which is only 1 yr.
        That is my confusion.

  15. Hi Jessica thanks for this article. I’m in a LDR with my BF, he’s In Brazil, Unfortunately we met online just before the borders shut. So we are looking at Visa options for him to come to Aus. We will get married approx a year after he lands in Aus.. but not sure what visa he should get on. Should we put him on the student visa and then apply for the partner visa, wait for the student visa to end, as you described above? What would you recommend is the easiest way for us. I want him to be an aus citizen asap

  16. Hello, I would like to end my studies and cancel my student visa (that is valid until Jan 2022) in order to get a partner visa. What is the process? Thank you very much.

    1. If you cancel your student visa, you will not have a valid visa to stay in Australia, and you must return home and apply for the offshore partner visa (309).

      If you apply for the onshore partner visa (820), you will automatically be granted a Bridging Visa (BVA) with full work rights, which will go into effect when the student visa ceases, Jan 2022 in your case.

      Cancelling the student visa after applying for the 820 will also cancel the bridging visa.

      Note the original post:

      Some realise that the BVA will not go into effect until after the Student Visa ends, so they go ahead and cancel the Student Visa.. BUT, cancelling the student visa, also cancels the BVA.
      Many people get caught out by these rules, as they didn’t read everything fully, and then end up hiring an Immigration Agent to try to fix up the problem.

  17. Hello, thanks for the info. My student visa expires in late 2023 and I intend to apply for 820 soon, and I wonder when I am eligible to apply for medicare (when the bridging visa is granted or when 820 visa is activated?). BTW, when should I stop using my foreign driver’s license? Thanks very much.

    1. Have a look at this page for Medicare.
      https://www.abcdiamond.com.au/partner-visas-and-medicare/

      The answer for the driver licence can depend on what State you are in.

      eg: An Overseas Driver Licence holder is only allowed to drive in the state of Victoria, Australia for up to 6 Months, on their foreign licence, irrespective of Visa held.
      https://www.abcdiamond.com.au/overseas-driver-licence-6-month-limit-in-victoria/

      In NSW you can use a foreign until 3 months after you get ‘Permanent’ Residency.

  18. Thanks for this post. Do you think one can still apply for a partner visa if you have a ‘No further stay’ condition attached to your student visa? Would appreciate your thought.

    1. Not while your visa has that condition.

      However, you can apply to have the “No Further Stay” condition waived. This then allows the partner visa application.

      I would hope that a waiver application would be looked upon more favourably during COVID.

      You need to ensure your ‘wording’ in that application gets the desired result.

  19. Hello, thanks for the explanation. is there any way to finish the course before? To anticipate the end? To take the course faster?

    Thank you so much.

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