The Changes to Partner Visa You Should Not Overlook

Are you looking to apply for a Partner visa, also commonly known as the spouse visa or de facto visa? Or are you looking to apply for the Prospective Marriage visa, or what people call it – the fiancé visa?


Here’s what’s changed and what may change, that people usually overlook.

1. Say bye to paper application!

The department has made it compulsory for all Partner visa application to be lodged online (just about 6 months ago!). Say bye to paper applications! Go buy yourself a scanner to scan all your documents in preparation to lodge your visa application online!

Read more on 6 Things You Should Know About Partner Visa Application to help you get the best chance of success.

2. Police clearance(s) for the sponsor too!

This is crucial! Your (Australian/Permanent Resident/eligible New Zealand citizen) partner is required to obtain police clearances too. They need to pass the character test to sponsor you as their spouse or defacto partner.

Your partner needs to obtain the Australian Federal Police clearance as well as police clearances from all countries that they have lived in for more than 12 months in the last 10 years.

They must also give consent to the department disclosing their conviction for relevant offences to the visa applicant(s).

The department takes the safety and security of the visa applicant very seriously. If this information is not provided within a reasonable time, the department can refuse your Partner visa application.

If you cannot provide them at time of application, we advise that you submit them as soon as you can.

Please note that this applies to all visa applications that are lodged after 18 November 2016. This does not apply to you if your visa application was lodged before 18 November 2016, even if your sponsor lodges their sponsorship form on or after 18 November.

3. Poorly documented applications may be refused WITHOUT further request for information

If you intend to lodge a Partner visa or Prospective Marriage visa without lodging supporting documents as well, think again.

In November 2016, the department released a change in the way they are processing Partner visas due to high volume of applications.

For any applications lodged after 18 November 2016, if there are only the bare minimum requirements, the Department will no longer request further information but, at their discretion, may refuse the entire application without further notice and request for further information.

We strongly advise if you are lodging your defacto visa application on your own, to provide as much evidence of your relationship as possible to avoid visa refusal.

Partner visas have always had a requirement to provide substantial evidence, it is now a matter of providing it at time of application.

4. Same-Sex relationships can apply as ‘spouse’, not just de facto


Following the legislation changes of same-sex marriage in Australia, from 9 December 2017, if you are in a same-sex marriage you can now apply for the Partner visa as your partner’s spouse, instead of as their de facto partner.

This applies to all Partner visa subclasses which includes Partner visa subclass 820, Partner visa subclass 801, Partner visa subclass 309 and Partner visa subclass 100. The changes also apply to all visas that allow you to include your spouse in your application.

If you are engaged and have plans to get married to your prospective spouse, you can also apply for the Prospective Marriage visa (Subclass 300).

5. Sponsorship application may need to be approved first…

The regulations proposed a “2-step process” for sponsored family visa program where sponsorship application will need to be lodged under strict criteria and approved before the applicant can lodge the visa application.

The proposed changes are rumoured to come into effect sometime in 2018.

The proposed changes are to address the integrity issues that the department is experiencing in the sponsored family visa program.

The proposed amendments to establish a sponsorship framework for the sponsored family visa program are as follow:

  • The sponsorship application will be assessed separately to the visa application;
  • Sponsorship application (e.g. Partner visa sponsor) will need to be approved BEFORE the visa application can be lodged;
  • Persons approved as sponsors would be subject to legal obligations;
  • Facilitate the sharing of personal information between parties identified in the sponsorship application;
  • Enabling the refusal of a sponsorship application and cancellation and/or barring of a family sponsor where inappropriate use of the program or serious offences are detected;
  • Enabling the regulations to prescribe details for, and in relation to, the sponsorship framework; and make consequential amendments.

Currently, Partner visas comprise 79% of the family sponsored visa program (according to MIA).

If the Bill passes we could be saying bye to last-minute partner visa application! The changes will have major impact on applicants who are looking to apply for onshore partner visa in the future, especially for those whose visa will soon expire or timing is critical.

There is no indication to processing time for the sponsorship application.

If you are planning to apply for the Partner visa, we urge that you lodge your application as soon as possible. Don’t wait until it is too late.

We have all experienced how fast and unexpected Immigration Law in Australia can change. The department does not wait for anyone, and it is unlikely that they will give us notice well in advance of when this will be implemented if the Bill passes.

Start preparing and lodge your application today.

How Can We Help You 

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!


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