• CMI Legal

Partner (Provisional) 309 Visa and Proxy Marriage

Have you been separated from your partner who is residing overseas due to COVID-19? Has your plan to get married and for your partner to apply for Partner Visa been put on hold indefinitely because of the strict international travel restrictions of Australia? If yes, then you may consider the option of arranging a proxy marriage followed by a Partner (Provisional) 309 Visa application.

Proxy Marriage

Proxy marriage could be conducted in a non-traditional manner, in that it takes place when the couple are not in the physical presence of each other. In a proxy marriage, a marriage celebrant signs the marriage documents on the behalf of the groom or bride.

If you choose to get married by way of proxy marriage, you must ensure that the proxy marriage is legally recognised in the country in which it occurs and is legally registered there. Australia only permits partner visa applications by way of proxy marriage from a country where proxy marriages are allowed by the country’s law.

Please keep in mind that the Immigration Department may inspect applications based on proxy marriages in much more detail than traditional in-person marriages.

Partner (Provisional) 309 Visa

After a couple organises a proxy marriage, the visa applicant may then be eligible to apply for a Partner (Provisional) 309 Visa based on that marriage.

The 309 Visa is for married or de facto visa applicants who are outside of Australia at the time of lodging their visa applications. The 309 Visa is basically the offshore equivalent of the Partner 820 Visa (Temporary), which is for visa applicants who are in Australia at the time of lodging their visa applications. 309 visa holders could obtain permanent residency through a subsequent Partner (Migrant) 100 Visa application, which is the equivalent of the Partner 801 Visa (Permanent) that follows the 820 Visa.

The current processing time for the 309 Visa is between 18 to 26 months. Once you are granted a 309 Visa, you will automatically be exempted from the current travel restrictions and be allowed to enter Australia as ‘an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident’.

Although the Department of Home Affairs has recently loosened the travel restrictions for Prospective Marriage 300 visa holders, the 309 Visa is still the preferable pathway. The 300 Visa processing time is between 24 to 28 months, which is longer than that of the 309 Visa. Also, 300 visa holders would still have to apply for the Partner (Temporary) 820 Visa after entering Australia, which means adding an extra step on the pathway to obtaining permanent residency.


Depending on when the Australian border reopens to foreigners (please kindly note there is no set date announced by the government at this stage), you may consider applying for a partner visa either by way of the 309 offshore visa or the 820 onshore visa for the most efficient pathway. Please kindly contact our office if you would like to receive preliminary assessment on your eligibility and migration options.