While getting a partner visa may seem straightforward enough, the guiding legislation is complex, and there are many underlying factors most applicants may not be aware of.
To make your application faster and simpler, we have pointed out some of the drawbacks you may encounter as well as opportunities you can use to your advantage.
Fact #1. Lodging before marriage only works for offshore applications.
When lodging an onshore subclass 820 visas, you must be married before filing the paperwork, especially if relying on legal marriage status for your visa to be granted. This is different from an offshore partner visa application (subclass 309), where it is possible to make an application basis on the mere intention to get married.
Fact #2: Financial interdependence is critical.
While cohabitation is considered the most critical factor; financial interdependence is also crucial. If your application is poorly documented in this area, it can be delayed or refused. Financial interdependence requirements include:
- Having a joint account actively used by both of you. Consider having your salaries paid into the accounting and bills paid out of it
- Joint leases and joint policies are also important evidence
Fact #3: The relationship register isn’t an automatic solution.
Most of us know that registering your relationship can enable you to establish a de facto relationship and be granted a partner visa, even if you have not lived together with your partner for 12 months. However, you may still have to meet other requirements namely:
- You still need to provide additional evidence of your relationship even if you have registered your relationship.
- Some states and territories require that both parties be residing in Australia before the relationship can be registered.
- It can take six weeks or more for states or territories to process relationship registration applications before you are given a certificate of registration.
Fact #4: The quality of statutory declarations matters.
When applying for a partner visa, you will be asked to provide two statutory declarations on Department of Immigration form 888. What you may not know is that:
- They must be provided by an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible NZ citizen.
- The 888s must be witnessed by a qualified authority such as Justice of the Peace.
- If the sponsor’s parents are not aware of and don’t support the relationship, this can work against your application, so at least one 888 should be from the sponsor’s parent.
Fact #5: Online application is better, but it must be timely.
The online application is better than lodging a paper application. But you must observe the following:
- Upload all documents immediately after lodgement as failure to do so can result in your application being rejected
- The size and number of attachments are subject to Maximum limits so try to submit only relevant documents in compressed form.
Fact #6: Decision ready documents get priority during processing
It is important to know that while Immigration has previously processed partner visa applications on a first come first served basis, applications which are considered “decision ready” are now being given priority during processing.
For your application to be decision ready you should include comprehensive documentation on:
- Supporting documents on the relationship – including cohabitation, financial interdependence and social interdependence
- Health checks
- All required police clearances
Fact #7: The character of non-visa applicants may be considered.
It isn’t only family members who are aged 16 or over and are included in the partner visa application that need to provide police clearances; the sponsor and Non-Migrating Dependents must also do the same. This means that if the sponsor has previous convictions, it can jeopardize the entire application.
Fact #8: Current 457 visa holders beware:
If you currently hold a 457 visa, things can get difficult if you cease employment as you wait for the outcome of your partner visa application which can take up to 18 months. If you are out of employment for more than 2-3 months, Immigration will normally consider revoking your 457 visas, which would, in turn, result in the cancellation of your bridging visa. This would make you an illegal alien
Fact #9: No need to wait for an email invitation to lodge for a permanent visa.
A partner visa application involves two steps for the temporary partner visa and a permanent partner visa. The permanent partner visa is usually considered two years after application. What most people don’t know about the permanent partner visa stage is that you no longer need to wait for an email from Immigration to lodge the permanent stage and you can lodge an online application for the permanent partner stage as soon as you reach the 2-year threshold.
Fact #10: The residence requirement for Australian citizenship is changing.
These proposed changes – such as the need to have lived in Australia for the last four years before applying for citizenship may result in a significant delay in lodging your citizenship compared to current requirements. This is because it can take as many as three years from the date of lodgement to get your permanent resident visa in Australia.