Partner Visa Sponsorship Limitations: 5 Years and Lifetime


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What if a partner visa sponsor has sponsored someone to Australia before?

You may not be able to sponsor your partner if you have previously sponsored 2 other partners for migration to Australia.

You may not be able to sponsor your partner if you have sponsored another partner within the last 5 years.

You may not be able to sponsor your partner if you were sponsored as a partner yourself within the last 5 years.

Lifetime Partner Visa Sponsorship Limitation.

You are normally only allowed to sponsor two partners for an Australian Partner visa, during your lifetime. However, there are exemptions. See bottom of page for exemptions to this rule.

5 year Partner Visa Sponsorship Limitation.

You are normally only allowed to sponsor one partner for an Australian Partner Visa, during a five year period. However, there are exemptions. See bottom of page for exemptions to this rule.

The 5 year period is calculated from the date the first sponsor application was lodged, to the date the latest application is finalised.


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For some people it is not easy to work out that 5 year period. They would need to know the date of the current application grant to be 100% accurate.

If you have been involved in a partner visa sponsorship before, and you applied for a another on 1st April 2021, then immigration could only look back 5 years, ie: as far as 1st April 2016. In reality though they only look back when they are ready to grant, not at the time of application.

At the time of grant decision, if the immigration officer sees that a previous sponsorship was lodged during that immediately prior 5 years, then you might be rejected, unless you give special circumstances for exemption. See bottom of page for exemptions to this rule.

Some 309s are granted in 2 or 3 months, but the average is more like 11 months.

Consequently, for the 1st April 2021 application example, if they are ready to make a decision after 3 months, they would look back to 1 July 2016. But if they grant after 11 months, they would look back to 1 March 2017, based on a decision date of 1 March 2022.

Exemption from Partner visa sponsor limits.

Even if you have been involved in two sponsor applications before, or one in the previous 5 years, you may still be permitted to sponsor your partner in compelling circumstances, for example:

  • If your previous partner died or abandoned the relationship, and you have young children.
  • If you have been with your current partner longer than two years.
  • If you or your partner have dependent children.

A decision on whether to waive the sponsorship limitations can only be made once an application has been lodged. It cannot be decided in advance of lodgement.

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4 thoughts on “Partner Visa Sponsorship Limitations: 5 Years and Lifetime”

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  2. Hello! Thank you for all the information on this website, it’s been very helpful to me.

    My partner is a New Zealander and he sponsored his first ex back in New Zealand and then after that he sponsored second ex in Australia (living and working in Australia). I know that everyone can only sponsor twice with 5 years apart. My question is will NZ sponsorship counted as one? Is there any website or official immigration that we can confirm that if my partner can sponsor me again? If we have been together over two years, we can apply exemption for partner visa sponsor limits?

    Many thanks in advance.
    (sorry to post twice, here seems more appropriate to ask)

    1. I would assume that Australia would only count Australian visa sponsorships.

      However, it might be worth phoning the Department of Home Affairs on 13 18 81.

      It would be interesting to know if they do count other countries sponsorships. Most people probably wouldn’t even think about that.

      There are exceptions to the 2 in a lifetime, so there are various leeways available.

      1. Thank you for the quick reply!

        We will give them a call to find out.

        Do you know any cases that are more than 2 in a lifetime? Is it common or very rare in Australia?

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