You’re in a de facto relationship or married to an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident or in a relationship with an eligible New Zealand citizen. Your relationship is genuine and continuing, so you decide to apply for a Partner visa.
As you will quickly realise, it’s a long process and there will be times where things will take an unexpected turn. Between complex paperwork and long processing times – not to mention the costs – applying for a Partner visa can put a lot of pressure on relationships.
Well lucky you! Today we are listing 6 things you should know about Partner visa application to help you get the best chance of success.
1. It’s expensive
|Visa Subclass||Base Application Charge||Additional Applicant charge 18 and over||Additional Applicant charge under 18|
|Partner Subclass 309/100||AUD7,160||AUD3,585||AUD1,795|
|Partner Subclass 820/801||AUD7,160||AUD3,585||AUD1,795|
Source: Department of Home Affairs
At $7,160 (as of July 2018), Australian Partner visas are among the most expensive in the world.
But that is just the application fee… you will also have to pay:
- medical examination (around $330),
- police check in Australia for you AND your sponsor (around $43 each),
- police check in all countries where you have lived in for over 12 months after turning 16, for you AND your sponsor,
- officially translated and certified documents in a language other than English from a NAATI accredited translator; and
- Migration Agent or Immigration Lawyer fee, if you decide to engage in one.
As a ball figure, you’ll be expected to pay around AUD8,000 – AUD13,000 (minimum).
If you are ready to invest that amount of money, it’s important that you do it right the first time. One mistake, one misunderstanding or one missing information and you could face a visa refusal. Then you’ll have to decide whether you want to leave Australia or pay an Immigration Lawyer to appeal your case at the AAT.
2. It will likely take more than a year …. To get to the first stage
|Visa Subclass||75% of applications processed||90% of applications processed|
|820 – Temporary visa||20 months||24 months|
|801 – Permanent visa ||18 months||23 months|
*Last updated 20 March 2018 – see up to date processing time.
 Processing time for subclass 801 Partner (permanent) visa is from date of eligibility (2 years after the 820/801 application is lodged) to finalise.
The partner visa has had its processing time increase because of two main reasons:
- increasing number of applications, and
- increasing integrity checks by DoHA assessment officer on the relationship (in response to reported abuse of the partner visa programme in the past few years)
So, can your relationship withstand the test of time?
Partner category visa applications are processed in the order of the date on which the application is received (lodgement date).
First, your application is received by the Department and it will go through the initial checks. The Department will contact you if further supporting documentation is required. Then, your application will either be approved or refused depending on the application and supporting documents you submit.
But, good news! The Department has recently been trying to fast-track Partner visa applications with front-loaded medicals and character checks. Read more on how to fast track your Partner visa application for more details.
So, what does it mean for your application? In simple terms, you may be able to reduce the processing time by providing medical and character checks if you submit them at the same time as your application. This is what you call a ‘front loaded’ application.
In some cases, you may even be granted a permanent visa (subclass 801) straight-up if you can demonstrate one of the following:
- At the time you apply for the visa, you have been in a married or de facto relationship with your partner for 3 years or more
- At the time you apply, you have been in a married or de facto relationship with your partner for 2 years or more and there is a child in your relationship.
3. The 12-Month living together is a myth… kind of
While it is a common belief that you must “live together” for 12 months and not a single day less to apply for a partner visa, the married path has no time requirement, you will ideally just need to be married.
BUT, guess what… the 12-month requirement can be waived under certain circumstances:
- If you have a child in the relationship
- If your relationship is legally registered through a federally recognised state or territory relationships register (if you’re living in NSW you can register your relationship at the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages or commonly known as BDM)
By waiving the 12-month requirement, you can apply for a partner visa even if you have not lived together for the 12 months period. We previously assisted a couple at the AAT, who had never lived together and got their visa refused because insufficient documents were provided at the time of their application. Read more here.
The length of time is no longer a must, BUT you must still demonstrate that your relationship is genuine, continuing and have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others.
4. Evidence is crucial
Your relationship is genuine? Great! Now you have to prove it to the Government.
You will need to demonstrate your relationship with a range of evidence in 4 areas:
- Financial aspects
- Nature of the household (cohabitation)
- Social aspects of the relationship
- Nature of the commitment
Naturally, no two couples are the same. If you realise you cannot satisfy one component, move on to the next. But don’t forget it is strongly advised to provide what you can from each category.
Long distance relationship? It can be harder to prove but not impossible! While you might not have any evidence of cohabitation, you might be able to show your travel documents when you visit each other, proof of bank transfers and detailed statements from family and friends to support your application.
When you attach your documents, PLEASE make sure your evidence is scanned in COLOUR and in GOOD QUALITY. Say bye to any phone application such as CamScanner. Go buy a scanner (you will thank us later).
5. And so is Honesty, Accuracy and Consistency
We can’t stress enough the importance of being honest throughout the process. We always ask our clients to be upfront and honest. Declare any health issues and/or previous criminal offences if you have one (yes, even your drink driving offence from 20 year ago).
The consequences otherwise can be very serious, and you could face a visa refusal as well as being banned from applying for any Australian visa for 3-10 years. IT’S.NOT.WORTH.IT
Being honest will always be in your best interest.
Make sure each document supports each other (i.e. dates are consistent) and every claim you make has corresponding documentation so that the Department can verify it.
We suggest starting with Form 80, or the “Personal particulars for assessment including character assessment” form. It is an 18-page document which will require you to declare almost everything about you. Fill this in first, then use it as a reference to complete other forms, and prepare your documents accordingly.
Also, make sure that you’re CONSTANTLY updating your information on your ImmiAccount. At Crux Migration, we contact our clients every 2-3 months or so to collect new evidence of their relationship (e.g. additional photos, travel documents, bank statements…). It will show the case officer that your relationship is genuine and continuing.
6. Save the dates
Some documents have expiration dates:
- Medical examinations: 12 months
- Penal clearances (police checks): generally, 12 months
- Forms 888: Must not be more than 6 weeks from the date of witness
Your 820 visa got approved?? Congratulations! Now don’t forget to submit your stage 2 evidence, two years after applying for your 820 visa!
DoHA will not send you a reminder so keep the date of your application lodgement in mind.
You know that instead of dealing with a ton of documents for your Partner visa application you can just call us right?
Agape Henry Crux (formally known as Crux Migration) can assess your eligibility and enhance your chances of a successful visa application without the costly mistakes along the way. Stress no more and let us worry about your visa!
Book a Partner Visa Consultation with us today!