Having been in this industry for quite some time now, we’ve heard most of the common misconceptions our clients have about the Partner Visa. So we’ve compiled a list of Top 10 Biggest Misconceptions with explanations to straighten them out for you!
Wrong. No, no, no, no, no, definitely INCORRECT. Getting married to an Australian citizen or permanent resident doesn’t give you an automatic right to ANYTHING when it comes to a Partner Visa. You need to go through the exact same process as an unmarried couple and lodge an appropriate Partner Visa. This might be a Partner Visa being applied for either inside or from outside Australia. Getting married isn’t the magic step that will result in your partner being able to remain here automatically.
Seriously, please don’t take ‘barbecue’ advice. Don’t take advice from friends and family who’ve been through the application process. Learn from them, find out what the process was like for them, but remember, no two relationships or circumstances are ever the same. The type of evidence required or how you put the application together will be different and unique to your situation. The worst thing you could do is rely on something that a friend told you.
Uh-uh-uh, no they won’t. Case officers are not there to teach you how to put the application together. They’re there to make a decision on your application, to JUDGE your application. The responsibility is on YOU and your partner as the Visa Applicant and Sponsor to make sure you’re giving the decision maker enough evidence to prove you meet the requirements and have a watertight case.
Sorry, wrong again! Completing the forms is only 10% of the input required in putting an application together. A marriage certificate and a joint bank account are helpful, but you’re going to need a lot more than that to prove that you’re in a genuine and continuing relationship.
This is so untrue and is probably one of the saddest misconceptions we have heard. We’ve seen situations where people have followed this advice given by a friend. They were told that as they were applying from outside Australia, the Visa Applicant can’t come to Australia during the processing period and this meant that couples were needlessly separated for a whole year!!. This misconception is a myth.
In reality, when you apply for the Partner Visa, whether from Onshore or Offshore, the processing times can be lengthy… But if yours is an Offshore application, you can apply for a Visitor Visa during the processing period. If your requested Visitor Visa is granted, you can come to Australia and spend time together while you’re waiting for the Partner Visa to be granted.
Again, not every Partner Visa applicant can secure a Bridging Visa as part of the Partner Visa process. So, a Bridging Visa is automatically applied for if you’re in Australia, have lodged an application for an Onshore Partner Visa and you have a valid Visa without a limiting condition like a ‘No Further Stay’ condition attached. If this is the case, in all likelihood, a Bridging Visa will be granted.
However, if you’ve applied for an Offshore Partner Visa, either a ‘309’ or a prospective marriage Visa, there is no possibility of a Bridging Visa. So our heartfelt advice is that if you’re applying for the Onshore Visa and a Bridging Visa is an important requirement for you, seek expert guidance to ensure the Bridging Visa will be granted.
You can lodge application evidence later on, but we strongly discourage you from doing that. Why? Because when you lodge your application, some of those requirements must be MET at the time of the visa application. If you haven’t met those requirements at the time of applying, there’s no going back, and this may result in the Visa application being refused.
If you have met the requirements at the time of application, but you’ve just done a bit of a sloppy job in putting the evidence together; just say you didn’t have time and you plan to upload the rest later or when the time comes. Again, we would actively discourage you from doing this. Immigration is not bound to request or prompt you to give them the missing evidence or documentation when they’re ready to make a decision. They can decide at any time. They’re there to do their job, not to encourage you or to time manage you into providing what they need.
So our advice, always, is to put your best foot forward. Put the strongest application possible in when you first lodge the application and this will avoid immigration perhaps seeing an application that’s poorly prepared and thereby refusing it quickly. Definitely, prepare in advance. Make sure you have the strongest case. After lodging the application, you can certainly do updates, and this is strongly recommended when you’re going through a Partner Visa process due to the lengthy processing time. If it takes 10 months, or a year, or even a year and a half, you may have more evidence available to submit. But none of this removes the definite requirement to have a strong application at the time of first applying.
This is not the case in every circumstance. If you have lodged an Onshore Partner Visa application, and a Bridging Visa applies to you during the waiting period, and you’re holding, for example, a Bridging Visa A, and you need to go back home or want to go overseas, you can do so.
As it’s a process you need to go through to achieve this, It just takes a little bit of preparation. You will need to apply for what’s called a Bridging Visa B. This will allow you to come back to Australia at the end of your trip. And so if you are experiencing lengthy processing times and the two of you are in Australia, and you hold a Bridging Visa A, and you need to go offshore, then we advise you to check out the process for obtaining the Bridging Visa B.
True; Visitor Visas cost significantly less than the Partner Visa, BUT!!! using a Visitor Visa long-term to reside together in Australia is not a great idea and you should consider this before you head down the pathway of using multiple Visitor Visas on an ongoing basis without having lodged a Partner Visa. We don’t think this is a great option as when you are periodically entering through immigration, they may decide you’re misusing the Visitor Visa. You may raise their suspicion that you’re using it to reside in Australia and not for visits to family and friends, and Immigration may then refuse you entry at the border. You may be put on a plane and deported to your home country. That’s a pretty extreme scenario, but it’s really important if you are in a relationship with somebody and plan a future together, that you realise the use of Visitor Visas will be short-lived.
Visitor Visas are not intended to be used long-term and you need to put a plan in place to work towards that Partner Visa. If you are using a Visitor Visa ongoingly, and you are concerned about the implications, it might be best to get advice from a Registered Migration Agent.
“All they do is fill in the forms!” we’ve heard people say. But this is not the case. A Registered Migration Agent will help you with completing the forms, but that’s just a small part of their job.
You can rely on your Registered Migration Agent to assist you with answering the most fundamental question, that is, if you meet the requirements for a Partner Visa.
The Registered Migration Agent can also help with assessing your evidence and documentation while giving answers to these questions:
Your migration agent is responsible for giving you a checklist and letting you know what information and evidence you and your partner need to provide to the Department of Home Affairs. Your migration agent will help you with your statements of relationship, your witnesses and their statements. They’ll help you prepare the application in a way that allows Immigration see clearly that YES, you do meet the requirements.
They’re the helping hand, always available for those days where you’re just not too sure about how if certain circumstances come up, they might affect your application, or you’re worried about something, and you’ve forgotten what you were told.
These are the things you can rely on your migration agent for. Giving them a call when you need it, running the situation by them, and being sure of their ongoing support throughout the worrisome processing times while you are nervously waiting for a decision. As mentioned previously, processing times can fluctuate. They can be anything from six months to a year and a half, and in some cases, even two years. During this period, you’ve got someone with you on your side who’s knowledgeable, who’s up to date with the legislation, and who knows what to expect when going through the process. The Registered Migration Agent will be there to answer your questions and reassure you throughout the process.
Your Registered Migration Agent is with you on your Partner Visa journey, every step of the way.
Please feel free to comment below; we love getting your feedback. We read all your remarks and will reply if we can answer any questions. We may even use your comments to form the next blog topic.
IMPORTANT: Please note, this does not constitute Immigration advice. Always seek advice from a Registered Migration Agent before applying for an Australian Visa. Migration Law is constantly changing. This information is accurate only at the time of publication.
Emma is the founder and principal migration agent at Freedom Migration. She is extremely passionate about uniting partners and families with their loved ones overseas. It might be because she's a product of a partner visa family.
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