What can often be the most frustrating part of your move to join a loved one in Australia, the Partner Visa has been portrayed as a lengthy and complicated task, but that is why we have created an essential guide below to ensure you will have the greatest chance to beside your loved one.
I’ll probably get my visa approved by the weekend
‘Well … It’s going to be a very long week then’
The Partner Visa in Australia has an average processing time between 16 to 22. This can also depend on your documentation and information provided. So when applying for this visa, do so in the knowledge that you will be waiting for long periods possibly without hearing anything from the Department of Home Affairs.
Offshore or Onshore – Does it really matter?
The application process for applying offshore and onshore are relatively similar.
ONSHORE: is where you are currently on a visa in Australia and that is when you will apply for your onshore Partner Visa (subclass 820 and subclass 801). You will be required to remain onshore until there is an outcome on your visa. If your application has already been lodged, you can qualify for a Bridging visa to stay in the country once your current visa expires until the application has been processed accordingly.
OFFSHORE: is when you are outside Australia when the Partner visa application is made and therefore you will be required to remain offshore until the outcome of the offshore Partner Visa (subclass 309 and subclass 300). Offshore applications can possibly make the Partner Visa a lengthier process as it can make it harder to prove a committed relationship, especially if there has been no previous cohabitation or joint account services shared previously.
How much do they want for this?
‘Well…more than the average grocery shop’
The payment for a partner visa application is from AUD $7,000 (unless you already hold a prospective marriage visa in which case your fee will be from AUD $1,170)
A good tip is to always assume you will pay more than the fee on the website as police checks, documentation and medical check-ups will amount to a lot more money by the end.
Who or what is a sponsor, anyway?
‘Basically, the love of your life’
This is probably the easiest part as your significant other is the one sponsoring you.
The sponsor is basically another person of good background and is a valid permanent resident or citizen of Australia (or eligible New Zealand citizen) that will vouch for your behaviour and will state their assistance in providing you accommodation and financial assistance. The sponsorship will end after two years after the partner visa has been approved.
There is an upcoming proposal to add a 2 step process: This would require becoming an approved sponsor first. This means that your partner would have to fulfil stricter criteria (such as character and police checks) in order to prove that he/she can sponsor you to come to/ stay in Australia. This will complicate matters for onshore applicants if the overseas visa is running out in the meantime and they will need this sponsorship approved before they can obtain a bridging visa on the Partner Visa application). This step will draw out the waiting process further, so we recommend trying to submit your application before these changes. The changes are expected to come into effect in 2018.
Love has no boundaries … except it does
If you are already married or in a de facto relationship, you and your partner must be 18 or older to apply (this is because the legal age of marriage in Australia is the age of 18).
An apple a day, let’s you stay
The health requirement must be met (which is in general just a health check from a penal physician – a physician approved by the Department of Home Affairs . These health checks are valid for one year, so if your visa takes any longer to process you may be required to take a second health check. Minor ailments such as minor back pain or asthma are unlikely to be an issue, but case officers would be ideally looking for people who will not require constant care and check-ups.
This does not mean your application will be refused if you have any ailments, but it will complicate and add to their decision.
I’m a good person, right?
This is a process and an absolute unmissable one. This is to ensure that the applicant for the visa is not of doubtable character. This is proven by a police report from all countries you have lived in, any other supporting documentation such as a character reference from a previous employer or/and from a volunteering agency if you have done any volunteering at all for charities. These are all quite reputable ways in showing you are a person of solid background who can contribute in a positive way to the community.
The more references from people and businesses the better!
Don’t worry if your slate isn’t completely clean, there are still avenues for appeal if you fail this test.
We love each other – isn’t that enough?
Not really, no.
Proving you are in a genuine long-term relationship, is a highly crucial step in gaining a partner visa and it can be quite difficult and frustrating to convince a stranger processing you application that you are a couple truly in love. The best ways to prove a genuine relationship are photos, joint bank accounts, statements from friends and family, and any cohabitation or travelling records that show that commitment to each other.
The best way to make your application stand out from the crowd is to make them carry more weight, for example instead of just sending them a selfie of you and your partner, make it a picture with his/her family at Christmas or a family event.
So instead of your family and friends just writing how good you are both together, get them to give dates, events and as much detail as they can. Australian citizens can use the Form 888 as a document to support their friends/family’s application. Friends and family members from overseas can fill out a statutory declaration .
Offshore applicants can often find it harder to prove a commitment via lack of photos and quality time but they can focus more on their family and friends to give honest and detailed statements. You can also give weight to your application by showing joint travel.
Children come for free?
Children are a delicate and complicated process when attached to a partner visa. Often couples who have had a previous relationship and have children as a result of that, most naturally will want their child to join them in their new life and make the move together.
Your child will need to go through the same process of the health and character requirements as the process is practically the same for their admission.
Your child would come as a so-called dependent and the application fee for a dependent younger than 18 years of age estimates to about AUD 1700.
6 Mistakes to Avoid
The best way to ensure your application is bulletproof is to compare it to other visas, research as much as possible and look at as many samples that you can. It will ensure you will have a better understanding of the visa and assist in the process of your visa if you can make things easier on your case officer.
#Lying & Improvising
Honesty is always the best policy, you may doubt or feel like you need to improvise on information but you must remember, the case officer has done this a great deal more than you and will see through those attempts quite rapidly. Honesty will be more genuine to your relationship and to the case officer than any bunch of stories would. Explain everything as detailed as possible in your individual relationship statements.
#Sit back and relax
A common mistake that applicants make is to submit their application and then sit back and wait for a result, but it shows enthusiasm and constant reminder that your relationship is still strong during the application process if you both continue to submit photos and documents as much as is allowed for your case officer to see the process is still very current to you as a couple.
# Wrong Dates
Dates and timelines are also very important to proving a relationship is genuine, so giving wrong or overlapping dates will hinder and complicate your application unnecessarily. I advise sitting down and creating a complete timeline of your relationship together from start to current, so you will both have a firm memory of the same dates and will be able to give honest and well informed answers.
# Careless Uploading
Always upload all documentation and review all dates with care and a great deal of thought as you cannot undo it! Once a document has been uploaded in your immi account, it can’t be deleted. You can only upload a new document as an update to the wrongly uploaded one.
When it comes to including children in your application, you need to make sure you have written consent from the non-custodial parent to let their child go overseas. This is often a problem with the other significant parent, but is required nonetheless, if there is even a suggestion of child abduction the international law of Australia will clamp down hard and will render your entire application useless.If consent is not granted, you may need to speak to a lawyer or legal adviser on what your options are in these situations.
You might also like:
Partner Visa – Subclass 820
Partner Visa – Subclass 801
Partner Visa – Subclass 309
Partner Visa – Subclass 100
Prospective Marriage Visa
How to write a relationship statement for your partner visa
Free Partner Visa Consultation