The below info is a basic guide on how you can lodge a Partner Visa for Australia, whether it be an Onshore (Subclass 820/801) or an Offshore (Subclass 309/100) or even a Prospective Marriage Visa (Subclass 300). This video series will help you get started. It covers, firstly, choosing the correct visa to start with, collecting your evidence, getting your witness statement ready, the cost of a Partner Visa and finally what to do when you have lodged.
We hope you find this useful and we are always here to help if you need it!
So if you've fallen in love with an Australian or you found someone that you want to spend the rest of your life with in Australia, the next step is to look at what visas going to be most suitable so you can both be here in Australia.
Let's start by getting really clear about the terms that are used to describe these options. So the two different options are either the Partner Visa or the Prospective Marriage Visa. Most common terms used to describe these are the PARTNER VISA, MARRIAGE VISA, SPOUSE VISA AND DE-FACTO VISA.
It's actually all the Partner Visa. So the Partner Visa can be applied for on the basis of being in a De Facto relationship or being legally married. Either way, it's the Partner Visa; there's just one visa to describe those two circumstances. Alternatively, there's the Prospective Marriage Visa.
The Prospective Marriage Visa sometimes called the Fiance Visa. This visas applied for from OUTSIDE of Australia. Upon grant it allows the visa holder to travel into Australia and get married to their Australian citizen partner or Permanent Resident partner. Now let me go into a bit more detail with describing these visas. So with the Partner Visa there's a couple of different numbers that are used to describe these. If you're applying for the Partner Visa from INSIDE Australia, that visas going to be the Subclass 820 visa. If you're applying for the Partner Visa from OUTSIDE of Australia, meaning the visa applicant's out of Australia at the time of applying, the Partner Visa you're applying for is going to be the Subclass 309.
The Prospective Marriage Visa on the other hand thankfully just has the one Subclass, so it's called Subclass 300 and that visas always applied for from OUTSIDE of Australia. So there you have it in a nutshell. They're the options that are available when you're planning to bring your partner to Australia long-term.
At this stage don’t get too caught up on the confusion about the second stage of the application process, the Subclass 801 and Subclass 100, that bit come way later, for now you just need to work out if it will be onshore (Subclass 820), offshore (Subclass 309) or Prospective Marriage Visa (Subclass 300).
Thank you So Much with helping me and my partner with my Visa. I'm over the moon happy and know I'm very lucky and I know your help made this happen. Thank you Sophia and team. Your awesome and we will be back to get help with my Partner Visa
Freedom Migration made mine and my partner's move to Australia a comforting, welcoming and seamless process.
Emma and her team are always quick to respond, provide sound, accurate and experienced advice. Having them by our side through this process was the best decision we could have made.
We couldn't have been happier with how they went about our visa applications and will forever be grateful for their services.
Highly recommended if you are considering the move and need visa support
I would like to thank Sophia and the team at Freedom Migration for the hard work and dedication they put into getting a Visitor's Visa granted for my partner. It has been very stressful after being unsuccessful with our own first attempt and overcoming a initial 3 year ban on travel. They guided us through the process and are very professional in the services they provide. Always quick to respond to emails or phone calls. We will definitely be using their services again to apply for a Partners Visa, they take the stress and worry away with their professional approach, but also give a very personal touch to the service they provide.
Emma and her team did a fantastic job helping us through the process of getting the Partner visa. Choosing them was our best decision.
If you are reading this review contemplating (like us a year ago) whether or not you should apply for a visa by yourself or go with an agency - I definitely recommend Freedom Migration. My husband and I actually started the process on our own and as it went along it got just too demanding and stressful. Not knowing whether we are doing fine, not being able to easily get answers from the Embassy, it all piled up and we asked Freedom Migration for help.
Emma and her team provided us with informative and professional consultations throughout the process of getting the visa. They are very knowledgeable, efficient, they are easy to reach whenever you need them, they patiently explain all the details and deal with stressed out clients with respect and care. Their personalized approach and support made us feel at ease during the whole process. We are very grateful to Emma and her team and will definitely recommend their service to anyone making this big step in their lives.
So the next step is working out which of those visas is the right fit for you and your partner. Now, the way that decision is made is based on a number of different things, and the key difference when applying for a Partner Visa or a Prospective Marriage Visa as compared to other visas like skilled visas or student visas is there's a very SUBJECTIVE ELEMENT when a decision maker says yes or no to a Partner Visa.
So my opinion about your relationship and whether or not it's genuine and continuing may be different from somebody else's and you have to consider this when thinking about putting your case forward to immigration. So it's really important that you get advice to make sure you are covering all the elements that are required.
In terms of getting advice, I do recommend getting paid advice. There's a lot of migration agents that will offer good, free advice, but in my experience or hearing from the experience of my clients, quite often those free advice sessions can end up being just a sales pitch. It's like anything in life. You really get what you pay for.
It’s really important to be prepared when you go for that advice session. Have a chat with your partner and work out,
The reason these factors are all important, and not just from looking at which visa we choose, it's looking at when are you going to be able to apply for that visa? Where do you need to be at the time of applying for that visa? Are you going to have enough evidence, and are you going to need the ability to stay working, whether it means Work Rights in Australia or Work Rights overseas?
So they're the kind of questions that you really need to bringing along for your advice session when you have your one-on-one with a registered migration agent.
The other things that you need to be talking about are; the kind of relationship that you have? So, for example, when you met? whether you've combined your finances? whether you've introduced your friends and family to your partner? All of that background information is going to be essential for your migration agent to give you advice about which of those Partner Visas is going to be most suitable. When's the right time to lodge? Can you lodge onshore? Do you have to lodge offshore? Are you going to be able to secure some kind of opportunity to have Work Rights in Australia? Do you need to be travelling in and out of Australia in the processing times, if you are going to be lodging an application from inside Australia? So there's some examples of all the questions that you need to be asking your migration agent.
Again, I think at a very minimum, pay for a one-on-one advice session.
If your Driver's Licence was $7,000, would you go to your exam, which is one test, having taken NO lessons before going for that exam? Remember you don't have to use a migration agent when it comes to lodging the application, but please, at a minimum, just get advice for the sake of less than $200. Sit down with a Registered Migration Agent and have a clear plan of what you need to do. Your relationship deserves it, after all.
Getting evidence ready. So by now if you've already had advice, it means you're very clear about what evidence is going to be important for your application and how much evidence is required.
It could come out one of two situations after an advice session. Your Registered Migration Agent may say, "Great! It's time to get the ball rolling. I think you're in a good position to lodge now." Alternatively, they may say, "Look, now's not the right time." Or your timings may not be right, meaning that you may want to apply at a later stage. Either way, it's a really good idea to start preparing evidence IN ADVANCE.
Now to the types of evidence that you need, I always like to focus on, evidencing the Four Pillars of the Relationship. So there's loads of other things that you're going to need, like identity documents and things like that, but if we focus on proving the GENUINE aspect of your relationship, that is, that it's not a fake or fraudulent relationship, that you are committed to each other, you're mutually exclusive. Immigration looks at the Four Pillars. And this is a really great way to get your head around this and start to follow this when you're preparing all of your evidence, even if you're planning a year in advance.
So the Financial Aspects, that is, "How do you pool your resources?", "How does the money operate in your relationship?". It's not a question of "Are you rich or are you poor?". It's "How does the money work?". Does the money work in your relationship in a way that has the decision-maker believe you have been together for the period you're claiming, and that you intend to be together long-term? A really easy way, not an essential way, so you don't need to run out and do this, a really easy way to evidence that is couples that have a joint bank account. If you have separate bank accounts, but there are some things that you share payments for and you do that by back and forth transfers to each other, if one of you is paying for the expenses of another person, there's some examples of the Financial Aspects of the relationship.
One of the other pillars is the Social Aspect. This is usually pretty easy for people. This is the friends and family, and the people who matter to you know about the relationship or is it secret? So generally when people are in a genuine relationship, they share the relationship with their friends and family. They tell them that they have a partner, they introduce them, they might introduce them on Skype, the spend time with them socially among other people. Another consideration with the Social Aspects of the relationship, is do you plan your social life together, or go off your separate ways like housemates? Preferably, it is that you plan your social life together. So, that's things like your holidays, whether you go to the markets on a Saturday together, whether you have a favourite restaurant, if you go to the local RSL, and you both have matching RSL cards to the same place. They're all just some examples of proving the Social Aspect. Social Media is always a great way to evidence your relationship. Being Facebook Official isn't the only way to evidence your relationship, and you don't have to rush out and make yourself Facebook Official. Your relationship is official even if it's not Facebook Official. But if you do use Social Media, and you've provided evidence of life together on Social Media, so you may have posted a picture of the two of you out somewhere, then screenshots of that can be included.
The third thing, the third pillar, is Nature of your Household. So that is, from day to day, how does the relationship work? What chores do you share? What shared responsibilities do you have in your household? Are there children that you're jointly responsible for?
With the clients that we look after, I'll also look at as well, who else are you responsible for? So for example, in my relationship we like to help my mum from time to time, or we have family members that we like to go and visit together, and help out if needed. So that's an example. If you have a parent or an elderly parent or a neighbour that the two of you go and help out and do things for, if you have a pet that you share the responsibility for looking after, or if you have children, that's another way to talk about in your application, and evidence the Nature of your Household.
The other ways obviously talking about who does the dishes?, who does the cooking?, who pays the bills?, who does the driving? In some cases, you may not have tangible paper evidence for things like that, but it's really important that you start to consider how does our household work? Because you are going to need to talk about that in your statements.
The fourth pillar is the Nature of your Commitment. That is, are the two of you on the same page as far as the future's concerned. You draw a strong degree of emotional support from each other. Do you support each other? Do you have knowledge of each other's personal circumstances? Do you both see the relationship as long-lasting?
Now, very similar to Nature of Household, it can be difficult sometimes to think up of ways to evidence this aspect of the relationship. That's something your migration agent in your advice session will help you with. But for example, by way of example, some ways of proving that will be obviously the duration of your relationship. If you've been together for quite a long time, and you can prove that with your evidence, how far back your relationship goes, that's one way; one of MANY ways. In addition to that, some couples that we've looked after have listed each other as beneficiaries to their Superannuation. That's something you need to get independent advice on doing. Some couples may have had wills drafted. Other couples may have evidence of shared responsibility for children, or having children together, or buying a house together, or buying a car together, or having a loan together. Something that suggests that they're going to be attached for a very long time. It might be getting a pet together, getting a dog. Other things will be talking about the difficult times that you've had in your relationship, and your knowledge of each other's personal circumstances. There's shared values as well. So it might be that you both belong to the same faith, and church is a really important part of your life. It may be that you're both Vegan, or that one of you has become Vegan for the other person. It might be that you've supported your partner through difficult times in the past. So it might be that one of you was sick, or one of you lost someone that you care about, and the other person helped you through that period. So there's just some examples of the different ways of evidencing the Four Pillars.
It is really important that you flesh those out in your advice session, or you really start to think about how you would evidence your relationship for those Four Aspects, from the beginning. Even if you are looking at lodging a Prospective Marriage Visa, Prospective Marriage Visa in comparison to the Partner Visa looks at your INTENTION to live together as spouses. When you're proving your intention to live together, Immigration may have regard for those Four Pillars. So it's important, even if you're lodging a Prospective Marriage Visa, to start to flesh your evidence out across those four. I hope that helps!
Who else needs to be involved in the Partner Visa process? So it’s not just going to be the Australian citizen or Permanent Resident, SPONSOR and the VISA APPLICANT who are going to be involved, you're going to need to get the communities you belong to INVOLVED in the process. So, that is your family, your friends, your work colleagues, if you attend a gym regularly, if you volunteer somewhere. It's going to be beneficial to have those people involved in putting your application together. The way they get involved is by helping you provide a Statutory Declaration or a Witness Statement. That helps Immigration see that not only do the two of you believe you're in a genuine relationship together, but other people share the same opinion and can give evidence of that and provide examples of that.
Now, who can provide a Witness Statement? Well the examples I just gave are a good starting point. I think it's a really good idea to have a variety of witnesses. For example if you're somebody who has four siblings, having all four siblings provide a statement is not going to be overly beneficial, as compared to having, perhaps, a parent, a sibling, a workmate, and a mutual friend of you and your partner. It's important to have variety.
What makes a good Witness Statement? I have seen so many Witness Statements that, in my opinion, are kind of useless, because the statements will sound a little bit like, "I believe Emma and John are in a genuine relationship, I have no doubts about this". "They're both honest people". "I wish them all the best for the future." That's very much just a statement. It's really important that your witnesses give EXAMPLES of why they believe this. So, an example might be, "I've been to Emma and John's house. We had dinner at their home. I could see they live there together". "They attend social events together". "I know that they both like to go fishing together". "I've been to parties with them". "We went on a weekend away together, they shared a room". So, the more detailed the better. Get your witnesses to be giving examples, not just a 'well-wishing cards'. As much information as possible in those statements. Get your witnesses using all that space in the form.
A really important part of this process is BUDGETING. I've seen too many situations where people have put themselves into a really difficult situation financially and it means that it puts pressure on your relationship which is really the last thing you want.
You want this Partner Visa process to be fun, exciting, and focused on your future. You don't want it leaving you in a crippling situation financially. You don't want to RUSH into lodging a Partner Visa because you're missing each other too much. For the sake of being together, sometimes its worth that sacrifice if it means you're going to be in a better situation financially when you DO lodge.
The things that you do need to budget for are obviously the Visa Application charge (Currently $7000). It's a significant fee, and quite often that's all people focus on. Which is where the trouble starts. The Partner Visa application charge is one component of your budget. Other things you need to budget for are Translations. If you're going to have documents translated where things aren't in English, you're looking at roughly $40 a page. Other things you need to budget for are the Visa Medicals. Now every person included in that visa application, so if the Visa Applicant has children that are also going to be included, they also need to have a Visa Medical done. The Visa Medical you're looking at about $400 per applicant. In addition to that if there are secondary applicants being included, so children for example, there's additional visa application charges per applicant. If you have a family of four that you're bringing over, it can cost you a pretty penny JUST in the visa application fees alone. Other things to budget for are flights. So if your partner is outside of Australia at the time of applying and in the waiting period, you're going to use Visitor Visas (Subclass 600) or trips back and forth to spend time with each other. The visa is not the only thing that is going to add up. It's also the airfares. The airfares are going to add up. And when that visa IS granted, finally, if your partner is overseas, there's the ticket to bring your partner here to Australia.
Other things to budget for are insurance. So if your partner is in Australia on a Visitor Visa in the waiting period then travel insurance is really important. And once your partner settles here in Australia or if your partner is in Australia on a Visitor Visa for part of the processing time, you're going to need to factor in that period where your partner doesn't have Work Rights and can't work. In addition to that, it's important to give your partner a bit of a break and not expect that the moment they hit the ground here in Australia they're going to be able to get a job. It is difficult to settle into a new country even if you speak the same language. It is important to give your partner a bit of time and a bit of space to assimilate, to learn the ropes, learn how to get on the bus and start applying for work. So do expect that there's going to be some down time where you are going to continue to be reliant on a single income. So there's budgeting in a nutshell. If you take this advice, particularly when it comes to budgeting, you're going to take a whole lot of stress off the application process.
Lodging your application. So, let's assume you're at the end of the line now. You're nearly at the finish line, so you've put all the preparation in. You have budgeted, you're ready to go. You've lodged your application. What next? Patience is a virtue.
It's really important that you sit on your hands while you're waiting for your application to be processed. Calling Immigration, pestering them, emailing them is not going to result in a speedy outcome. When we lodge an application, there's a period where we don't contact Immigration at all, unless they contact us. So the standard processing times, that's a period where Immigration are not even required to respond if you send them an email.
The only time you'll expect to hear from Immigration is if they need updated evidence, if they need you to do your Visa Medicals or your Police Checks. In the meantime, you're going to have very little response from them if you do contact them, and it's likely to pester them or actually take them away from doing their job. Their job is to review your application, spend time giving you fair and considered decisions. So if they're responding to 50,000 people who've lodged Partner Visas and are wanting to just check in and see how it's going, they're not going to have time to process anybody's applications. So, do avoid contacting them.
Be patient. Every three months, usually, there's no requirement for this, this is just what we do when we put applications together, around every three or four months, we'll do an update of evidence into the Immigration portal, just to keep that application fresh and up-to-date. But otherwise, please just sit on your hands and avoid bugging Immigration. Your application will be considered in due course.