1. Make sure you have strong relationship evidence
If you are applying for a partner visa on the basis of a ‘de facto relationship’ (please see our previous blog for more information) it’s important to understand that, as a general requirement you and your partner have been living together as a defacto couple for at least 12 months on the date your application is submitted … and that you can prove it!
In Australia, you are not required to “register” your residential addresses with a government department. This means that there is no offical register you can rely on to show when you moved in with your partner. Remember, departmental case officers will make a decision that is based on hard evidence. Hard evidence includes so much more than photographs, facebook posts and the statements made by your family and friends.
2. Are you eligible to skip the provisional partner visa stage?
Becoming a permanent resident as a partner visa applicant is a two-step process: there is a provisional partner visa and a permanent partner visa. When you make your initial application you are applying for the provisional and the permanent partner visa. The Department assesses you for the provisional visa first and then two years after the initial application you can apply to be assessed for the permanent partner visa.
However, did you know that in some circumstances the Department can allow you to (sort of) skip the provisional partner visa stage and grant you the provisional and permanent partner visa on the same day? This may happen if you can demonstrate that you have been in a ‘long-term partner relationship.” A ‘long-term partner relationship is usually where you have been with your partner for at least three years (as a married or de facto couple) or at least two years if you have a young/dependent children together.
3. Don’t rely on forums or Facebook groups
A lot of partner visa applicants begin their research by looking through forums where people share their success stories and tips from their partner visa applications. These stories can be interesting and reassuring (if they can do it, then so can I!), but be wary about any ‘advice’ that you see. Migration law in Australia is constantly changing and the Department is vetting partner visa applications more thoroughly than ever before and what worked for one person may not work for you – everyone’s application is different and has its own unique issues and weaknesses. When a partner visa is granted, the Department does not include any feedback or tell you how your application satisfied the legislative requirements.
4. Dependent children from previous relationships
When minor children (i.e. under 18 years of age) are involved in a visa application, the Department will want to ensure that every person who has parental responsibility for the child/children has consented to the child/children being granted a visa and coming to Australia. If you are looking to migrate with your children and there are custody issues with a former partner, it is important to address these issues as soon as possible.
5. Applying while on a bridging visa (or no visa at all!)
If you wish to apply for a partner visa in Australia and you do not hold a substantive visa (e.g. you may hold a bridging visa or no visa at all !), you will also need to satisfy a set of rules called called the ‘Schedule 3’ criteria. Failing to satisfy the Schedule 3 criteria can result in an otherwise straightforward partner visa application being refused. Schedule 3 criteria can be waived if there are genuinely compelling and compassionate reasons to do so, but the rules are very strict and the Department’s decision makers do not grant waivers lightly. For some people, it’s much safer and smarter to submit their partner visa application whilst they are overseas and then possibly consider spending time in Australia on a visitor visa whilst the application is being processed.
Top quality (assessment ready) partner visa applications lodged overseas are often processed significantly faster than onshore applications. It’s well worth thinking about!
GET IN CONTACT WITH US
Please send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call +61 8 9429 8860 if you are considering applying for a Partner Visa.