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David Todd

820 vs. 309 Defacto

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My partner (Australian) and I (English) will be eligible for the 12 month defacto requirement in July of this year.


My current status: I will be on a student visa (subclass 573) until March 2016 with no travel restrictions.


I am wondering first of all what affect the defacto application will have on my student visa (RE work limitations, travel limitations) This is assuming I apply onshore.


I am also wondering (As I am trying to save as much money as I can for student fees) whether I could go overseas to apply for our visa and return.before it is granted saving about $2000, I just don't know the logistics, whether it would be impossible, what would happen if I came back....what would happen when/if it is granted and I am still in the country....I have read that people have spoken to their CO about coming to aus after applying with a 309....


I have a while to figure this out but I would like to get this confirmed and discussed!


Any thoughts would be appreciated, if anything is uncertain please let me know.


Thank you.



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If you apply while you are still in Australia, you pay the higher fee as you've realised. You'd also be issued a bridging visa which wouldn't take effect until your student visa EXPIRES (if you cancel it that causes other complications so not generally recommended). The bridging visa (when it takes effect) allows you to remain in Australia with full work/study rights. The partner visa would replace your student visa if approved before your student visa expires (you can continue to study on a partner visa).


If you go offshore to apply, you do need to advise DIBP when you return to Australia so they can notify you shortly before ready to grant the visa. You'd then need to go offshore (most people go to Bali, NZ, etc. for several days), they grant the visa and then you return to Australia to activate it. If the visa isn't granted before your student visa expires, you need to figure out another visa to remain or else leave the country.


EDIT: be aware that processing times for most partner visas are now at least 10-14 months, so if you can't apply until July, it's very likely your student visa would expire before your partner visa is granted. It may be difficult to get another visa that would allow you to remain in Australia until the partner visa is granted, so the 820 visa can be a better option due to the bridging visa. As well, the $2,000 cost savings can be largely reduced due to the need to travel 2x offshore (once to apply and again to grant), so you may find there isn't much advantage to the 309 visa.

Edited by MaggieMay24

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