It’s alarming to see how long it is taking for both onshore and offshore Australian Partner visa, commonly known as the Spouse visa, applications to be processed.
We’re all wondering why!? Is it because of an increase in the number of applications lodged? Or is it because they just don’t want to give us the visa!?
There are a number of reasons why it is taking longer for some applications than others.
Let’s take a look into the importance of lodging a decision ready Partner visa application and what you can do to help decrease processing time for your Partner visa application.
What is a Decision Ready Partner Visa Application?
As we had mentioned in our Fast Track Your Partner Visa Application blog, a ‘decision ready’ application is commonly known as a ‘front loaded’ application.
Simply put, when a case officer is assigned to your Partner visa application and see that you have uploaded all necessary documents to meet the Partner visa requirements, they will most likely grant your Partner visa application faster than the average processing time.
What is the Current Partner Visa Processing Time?
The Department updates Australian visa processing time on a monthly basis. Currently, the Partner visa processing time for all Australian Partner visa application (updated on 18 July 2018) is as follow.
|Subclass||75% of Partner visa applications processed in||90% of Partner visa applications processed in|
|(Onshore) Temporary Partner visa subclass 820||24 months||30 months|
|(Onshore) Permanent Partner visa subclass 801||16 months||23 months|
|(Offshore) Temporary Partner visa subclass 309||21 months||26 months|
|(Offshore) Permanent Partner visa subclass 100||23 months||32 months|
**For a more up to date processing time see Global visa and citizenship processing time.
Why is the Partner visa Processing Time so Long?
Whilst there are no major changes to the Partner visa requirements, the way the Partner visa is being assessed is much stricter. This is due to fraudulent applications received by the Department in previous years leading to not only an increase in application fee but also stricter assessment in determining the genuineness of a relationship.
In addition, the last two financial year Partner visa statistics shows that onshore partner visa applications have been increasing every year. With a decrease in staff numbers at the Department and an increase in the number of applications lodged, this is most likely another reason why Partner/Spouse visa processing time has been increasing tremendously.
The Importance of Lodging a Decision Ready Partner Visa Application
The approximate processing time stated on the Department’s website does not mean that all Partner visa applications lodged will take that long to process. It is possible to get your visa granted much sooner, possibly even in less than 12 months, if your Partner visa application is lodged and documented properly and consistently. We have seen the majority of our Partner visa applications, where there are no complications such as criminal records, as well as forums that other applicants have posted, who’s visa have been granted much quicker than the approximate processing time.
Your application may take much longer than 12 months or up to the full capacity of the processing time if the application was poorly documented or poorly lodged where it only meets the basic requirements.
Another reason why your application may be delayed is when the application is not structured properly, for example, photos were not annotated, or if the Department has to request further information from you.
If you want your visa to be granted faster, prepare your application properly and ensuring all supporting evidence are there and are consistent with the rest of your application. Lodge a decision ready Partner visa application!
Prioritising Your Supporting Documents for the Partner Visa
- Financial aspect
- Commitment aspect
- Household aspect
- Social aspect
This is a $7,160 visa application. Spend time and thought into the type of evidence that you want to attach. Make sure that they are consistent with the rest of the information that you are providing for your Partner visa application. It’s important to prioritize your supporting evidence and think through thoroughly about what is important and what is least relevant.
If you have taken 100 photos, don’t attach all 100 photos – the Department does not have time to go through them all. Pick photos that have the most meaning to you and show the aspects of your relationship. Don’t just provide selfies – this does not tell the Department anything! It’s recommended that you provide both photos taken of yourselves and also with friends and family.
Regarding bank statements, you may want to provide the previous 6 months of your joint bank statements and then update your application every 3-4 months’ time until a decision is made. If you had just opened your bank account and have no transaction or have minimal transaction, you may want to wait until there is at least 3 months’ worth of transaction before you attach this document. Don’t attach an empty bank statement!
Another example is your relationship statement. If you’ve been in a long-term relationship you don’t have to mention absolutely everything. Plan your relationship statement out thoroughly and prioritize your content. We believe if you really put your thoughts into this and explain things in a logical way, you’ll be able to condense your points into 2-3 pages.
Every relationship is complex, so make it straightforward.
Structuring Your Supporting Evidence for the Partner Visa
It’s important to annotate as much as you can before you lodge supporting documents. Don’t assume that the information you provide is obvious or straightforward – the Department does not know you or your partner!
Photos should be annotated and should include information such as the date it was taken, the occasion or event you were at and names of the person that are in the photo and your relationship with them.
Bank statements are another crucial evidence that you will need to clearly annotate for the Department. Highlight important transactions such as rent, grocery shopping, and deposits.
Important tip: make it a habit to clearly reference when you transfer money into your joint account such as “joint account savings” or “joint account deposit”. Or if you’re paying rent, reference this as ‘rent”. This will not only make your life easier when you’re highlighting each transaction, but it will also make it clear to the Department to determine where the money is coming from and where it is going.
In the recent Partner visa statistics released by the Department shows in the financial year 2015/2016, 53.8% of Partner visa applications lodged without a Migration Agent were refused and 47% in the financial year 2016/2017. This is majorly due to poorly lodged applications where evidence is not structured properly, or the information provided was inconsistent.
Remember that evidence is crucial in proving the genuineness of your relationship for the Partner visa application – consistency and presentation is everything!
Labeling Your Supporting Documents for Your Partner Visa Application
YES – this is crucial. It makes your life easier and it will make the case officer’s life easier too.
Evidence is crucial for the grant of your Partner visa (or spouse visa) application. Make sure you label each document correctly and clearly. For example, if it’s a pdf copy of your passport, you can name it “Passport – [your name]” or if they are photos you can name it “Photos of relationship”. This will help the case office define what they are instead of wasting time going through each file AND it will also help minimize your mistakes as well.
Providing Medical Examination and Police Clearance Upfront
This is another crucial document to provide for decision ready Partner visa application.
For medical examination, you don’t have to wait for the Department to request for it. You can generate a Medical Referral Letter after your Partner visa application is lodged and use this to book your medical examination. The results will be sent directly to the Department.
You are required to obtain AFP from Australia if you have lived or are living in Australia and police clearance certificates (PCC) from any country you have lived in in the last 10 years since turning 16 years old.
A great example of how providing PCC at a later date can cause a delay in application processing is one of our Client’s application.
We lodged the application in late October 2017 after they engaged us early October. Our Client received their temporary Partner visa (subclass 820) grant in less than 9 months but could have received this much sooner – we’d say within 4 months! Our client wanted to wait and obtain the Thai PCC at a later date as PCCs are only valid for 12 months and if it was to take longer than 12 months they may have to obtain it again. The cost of preparing the Thai PCC was also three hundred times greater than the actual PCC application fee, so requesting it at a later date was more practical. The Department requested for the Thai PCC in February 2018, 4 months after the application was lodged. Although we had attached evidence proving the Thai PCC application had been requested from Thailand, without the actual certificate the Partner visa was incomplete. Despite the Thai PCC website saying processing time was 30 days, it was taking much longer than expected. The Department requested for it the second time in early May 2018 and gave us 7 days otherwise it will most likely result in a negative decision. We had to request for an extension of time as the PCC was still processing. We received the Thai PCC mid-May 2018 and our client’s Partner visa was granted early-July 2018. Should the Thai PCC be provided at the start, we anticipate that the Partner visa would have been granted since February 2018.
The above example shows how important it is to lodge a decision ready Partner visa application, without having the Department request for additional information. If there is a request for further information, then prepare yourself for more delays. Avoid this and lodge a decision readyPartner visa application!
How Can We Help
We can help guide you through the entire Partner visa application process and help you prepare all documents involved, ensuring that documents meet requirements before we lodge your application. We can represent you from start and until a decision is made on your application.
You can book a consultation with our Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents at Agape Henry Crux (previously known as Crux Migration). We will assess your eligibility and tailor your partner visa application in accordance with your relationship circumstances.