Partner Visas for Australia - 10 Little Known Facts
Whilst partner visas may seem straightforward, the applicable legislation is complex and there are many subtleties most applicants will not be aware of.
This article goes through 10 of the lesser known facts about partner visas.
We highlight some of the potential pitfalls and opportunities to make your application quicker and more straightforward.
1. Lodging Before Marriage
For offshore partner visa applications (subclass 309), it is possible to make an application on the basis of an intention to get married. Providing you are married by the time your application is assessed, you should be able to meet visa requirements.
This is not possible if you are lodging an onshore subclass 820 visa. In this case, you must be married prior to lodgement if relying on legal marriage for grant of the visa.
2. Relationship Register - More Complex than it Looks
Many applicants are aware that registering your relationship can enable you to establish a de facto relationship and being granted a partner visa even if you have not lived together for 12 months.
However, the Relationship Register option can be more complex than it seems - for instance:
3. Financial Interdependence
Whilst cohabitation is the most critical factor, financial interdependence is also very important. Many applications are weak in this area and can be delayed or refused due to insufficient documentation. Here are some tips on the financial interdependence requiremet
4. Statutory Declarations from Friends and Family
When applying for a partner visa, you will be asked to provide two statutory declarations on Department of Immigration form 888. These are critical documents and here are some little known facts
5. Online Lodgement
Lodging online is generally better than lodging a paper application. For instance, paper applications will require all your documents to be provided as certified copies, whereas colour scanned documents can be provided for online applications. However, you should note the following about online applications :
6. Decision-Ready Applications
Previously, Immigration has processed partner visa applications in the order in which they were received.
In the last few months this has been changing. Instead, applications which are considered "decision ready" are allocated and processed more quickly.
As processing times for partner visas can be 18 months or more, this makes a "decision ready" application more important than ever.
A decision ready application would normally include comprehensive documentation on:
7. Character for Non Visa Applicants
Most people are aware that any family members aged 16 or over included in the partner visa application will need to provide police clearances.
Many are not aware that others may also need to provide police clearances, including:
8. Applicants on 457 Visas
If you currently hold a 457 visa, you can be in a difficult situation if you cease employment whilst awaiting the outcome of your partner visa application.
Whilst you will receive a bridging A visa on lodgement of an onshore partner application, this will not come into effect until your 457 visa ceases
Partner visa applications lodged onshore can easily take 18 months to be processed
If your 457 visa has a long time to run, you may remain on your 457 visa for some time. Whilst on a 457 visa, you cannot work for another employer unless they are an approved sponsor and transfer your employment by lodging a 457 nomination
If you cease employment for more than 2-3 months, Immigration would normally look at cancelling your 457 visa. If your 457 visa is cancelled, this would also result in the cancellation of your bridging visa, in which case you will become unlawful
If you depart Australia, you can consider voluntary cancellation of your 457 visa - this may be a good option for some applicants.
9. Permanent Partner Stage
When making a partner visa application, you will be lodging a combined application for both a temporary partner visa and a permanent partner visa. Generally, the permanent partner visa can only be considered for grant 2 years after the initial application. Here are some lesser-known facts about the permanent partner stage:
10. Citizenship for Partners of Australian Citizens
You can look at Australian citizenship once you have your permanent residence. Here are some facts about applying for citizenship as a partner visa holder: