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Relationship breakdown

Relationship Breakdown and Partner Visas

Visa Applicant

  • If you were sponsored for a prospective marriage visa (sc. 300) and the relationship breaks down before the marriage has taken place there are no special provisions which will allow you to stay in Australia unless you are eligible for another visa.
  • If the relationship ends after the marriage has taken place you may, under certain limited circumstances, still be eligible for a spouse visa.
  • If you were sponsored for an offshore partner visa (sc. 309/100) or an onshore partner visa (sc. 820/801) and the relationship has broken down before you have been granted permanent residence, you must immediately notify the office handling the application that the relationship with your partner has ended.
  • Unless you are eligible for another visa you will most likely not be able to remain in Australia.
  • There are some limited circumstances where you can still be granted permanent residence, even if the relationship has ended, for example:
    • if there are children from the relationship, 
    • if domestic violence has occurred
    • if your sponsor has died.


  • The sponsor must also immediately notify the department that the relationship has broken down, or if he/she decides to withdraw his/her support for his/her partner before their application is finalised. Once you have notified DIBP, there is no more you can do. It is up to DIBP to decide if your former partner can remain in Australia or not.
  • If the break-up happens after your partner has obtained permanent residence there is no requirement to involve DIBP. It is basically just a civil matter between you and your ex-partner.You cannot have your former partner's visa cancelled; you cannot have them removed from Australia.
  • However, DIBP does have the power to cancel someone's visa on character grounds or if the visa was obtained fraudulently. It is a serious offence to misrepresent yourself, or one of your family members when making an application for an Australian visa. This includes making false or misleading statements, or submitting false information or false documents with your application. Even if someone else completes your application for you, you are responsible for it.

Sponsorship Limitation

  • You may not be able to sponsor another partner if any one of the following applies:
    • you have previously sponsored two other partners for migration to Australia (including sponsorships you may have withdrawn where your former partner obtained permanent residence on family violence grounds)
    • you have sponsored another partner within the last five years
    • you were sponsored for a partner visa as a partner yourself within the last five years                                                                                                                                                                      
  • If you have previously sponsored or been sponsored, you may still be permitted to sponsor your partner in compelling circumstances, such as:
    • if your previous partner has died or abandoned the relationship leaving young children
    • if your relationship with your current partner is long standing (that is, five years or more)
    • if you and your current partner have dependent children of your relationship

In all cases, whether you are the sponsor or the visa applicant, it is advisable to seek advice first from a registered migration agent to discuss your options.

If you cannot afford professional advice you can try and seek help from one of the agencies listed here: Legal Advice Providers

Relationship Breakdown and Temporary Visas

If you are the holder of a temporary visa like a student visa or a temporary work visa, that was granted because you were the partner of the primary visa applicant and the relationship has broken down, you may no longer meet the requirements of the visa.You should promptly seek advice  from a registered migration agent to discuss your options.

Relationship Breakdown and Permanent Visas

If the break-up happens after you have obtained permanent residence there is no requirement to notify DIBP and your immigration staus will not be affected, unless the visa was obtained fraudulently.

Family Violence

Where to get help if you are a victim of domestic or family violence

  • Victims of DV/FV who are not permanent residents should contact the Department as soon as practicable to disclose their changed circumstances (including the relationship ceasing, change of address and the existence of DV/FV, children etc).
  • The next step is to seek immigration advice and general legal advice. At all times, safety is paramount.

Free immigration law assistance on DV/FV

Emergency Services - Police, Ambulance, Fire

  • Phone: 000

Shelter and Refuge

Translating and Interpreting Services

  • If you do not speak English well and you wish to talk with a counsellor, call the Translating and Interpreting Service and ask them to contact the relevant service for you.
  • Phone: 13 14 50
  • Translating and Interpreting Service

Further Information: