Will the Department Process Partner Visas during COVID-19?

Will the Department Process Visas During COVID-19?

Remember policy, rules and laws are ever-changing and frequent in the current environment. Please make further enquiries before making bookings, changing travel plans or lodging Australian visas. 

COVID-19 impacted nearly every aspect of everyday life. Our social lives, work-life and general sense of freedom. Businesses, establishments and Government offices have closed down or are on a limited working operation. One of which is the Department of Home Affairs.

What’s relevant to the couples that we work with is what will the impact of this pandemic have on partner visa and prospective marriage visa applications? The biggest question is, do they process visas during COVID-19.

Is the Department of Home Affairs Operational During COVID-19?

Yes, the Department of Home Affairs continues to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just like other Government offices and services in Australia, their operations are limited. They continue to follow strict regulations and compliances from the Department of Health to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, one of which is social distancing.

Is the Department of Home Affairs Processing Visas During COVID-19?

Yes, the Department continues to process visas during COVID-19. 

Although as mentioned above, the Department’s services are still disrupted by the pandemic. Some Australian embassies have very limited staff working which means that only emergency and priority cases will be prioritised.  

The Department continues to advertise on their website 13-21 months of processing time for an offshore partner visa application and a 24-29 months for an onshore partner visa application. Check the full list of visa processing times from the Department’s website here

Is It Worth Lodging?

Yes, it is still worth lodging your partner visa application. If you have been procrastinating and unnecessarily delaying lodgement, this quarantine period may be the perfect time to seek professional advice and have a strategy to start. 

Will There Be Delays to Processing? 

Our guess is ABSOLUTELY there will be delays. Departmental staff is reduced, and some of the external service providers that couples engage with when an application is being progressed are completely closed. For example, visa medicals, police checks and biometrics may not be something that can be completed right now as the offices that facilitate these are closed or on reduced operations.  In any case, having a strategy in place that will factor these limitations in place is important. 

Will The Department be More Lenient When Processing Partner Visas and Prospective Marriage Visas? 

The legislation has not changed for Partner and Prospective Marriage visas as a result of COVID-19. In short, this means decision-makers will still assess a couple’s case based on the legislation. If you don’t meet the legal requirements, your visa will likely be refused. 

At Freedom Migration we are assisting a lot of couples with progressing their partner visas and prospective marriage visas, making the most of this lockdown period so that couples’ futures are not further delayed where possible. HOWEVER, what we are not doing, is rushing lodgements or lodging applications where the couple does not meet the criteria for the visa. 

Desperate times can lead to irrational and rushed decisions by couples. Don’t let this be you. The partner visa process is expensive and extremely stressful if you get it wrong. While it may be a great opportunity to make the most of your time and progress your application, you want to make sure it is the right time for you to be heading down this pathway. 

We recommend starting with a one-on-one visa strategy session, where our partner visa experts will assess your current situation, likely access to evidence and help you identify whether now is the right time to proceed. If it’s not now, then when? We will advise you on steps you can take in the meantime so COVID-19 has less of an impact on your plans for the future. 

Follow our Coronavirus/COVID-19 updates page for the latest pandemic related partner visa news and announcement. 

Disclaimer: 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 publishing.

About the Author Emma Drynan

I am the founder and principal migration agent at Freedom Migration. I am extremely passionate about uniting partners and families with their loved ones overseas. It might be because I’m the product of a partner visa family.

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