Submitting a visa application is the first step in obtaining temporary or permanent residence in Australia. While most visa applications are finalised in 6-12 months, some visa applications such as the Partner Visa can take up to 24 months to finalise.
As such it is important to consider not only the documents, information and situation at the time of submitting your application, but also to be aware of what needs to be done until the visa is granted.
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What do you need to do after you have submitted your partner visa application?
24 months of uncertainty over the visa application outcome can add stress to the relationship between partners. It is important that the relationship remain strong throughout the application process and also continue to collect and build evidence that shows an ongoing and growing relationship. Even after submitting your application, you should continue to:
- gather documents that show co-habitation, such as utility bills in both names or letters to both addressed to the same address
- compile photographs of both together at social events
- share financial responsibilities and actively use joint bank accounts for financial transactions
There are more that can be done but the above are some examples that require continuation even after lodging your partner visa application. Case officers can call to ask questions, or make site visits to determine the authenticity of the relationship and application. Any deterioration or adverse effect to the relationship will decrease the chances of a successful visa application.
The 2 Year Provisional Period
Most partner visas that are approved are provisional for a period of at least 2 years from the date of visa application. While the applicant holds Australian temporary residency and has access to Medicare, the temporary residency status can be revoked if the relationship dissolves within 2 years from the date of visa application lodgement. Therefore it is important to note that the relationship must continue to exist for at least 2 years from the date when the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) received the partner visa application.
Once the 2 years have passed the applicant and sponsor should pro-actively contact the DIBP if they have not received any contact from the Department. You can initiate the second stage assessment for the permanent partner visa by using the information and instructions on the Partner (Permanent) Calculator on the DIBP website. Usually the Department will send you correspondence for this so it is very important that you update the Department if your residential or correspondence address has changed over the 2 year period.
Once the assessment is completed the applicant will receive the permanent Partner Visa (subclass 801). You can only sponsor relatives when you receive the permanent Partner Visa.
What if there are complications to the relationship during the 2 year provisional period?
While it is a requirement to fulfil the 2 years before obtaining the permanent Partner Visa, it is possible to have the permanent visa granted earlier if the following circumstances occur:
- your sponsor or de facto partner dies, the relationship would have continued if they had not died, and you have developed close business, cultural or personal ties in Australia
- the relationship breaks down and there is a child of the relationship
- the relationship breaks down due to family violence
You will need to contact the Department immediately if the events above occur. It may also be helpful to seek the advice of a Registered Migration Agent first to assess the situation.
What if there is Domestic Violence?
There are provisions in the Migration Act to protect holders of the provisional partner visa against domestic violence. The provisions aim to protect provisional partner visa holders from being abused by partners who use the provisional visa status as leverage. While it is unpleasantly true that such cases do occur, the victims of domestic violence must provide enough evidence to the Department to support such claims.
You are advised to seek the advice of a Registered Migration Agent with experience in such cases to assess the evidence you have to claim domestic violence in the relationship.
Comments by Chris Johnston – Principal Lawyer and Registered Migration Agent at Work Visa Lawyers
The Australian Partner Visa application has been plagued with increasingly longer waiting periods and this has made the uncertain waiting period a test to a couple’s relationship. It will be harrowing to find out that the visa application is refused after waiting for close to 24 months. As such it is best to submit an application that is strong with supporting evidence at the beginning, to ensure the best chances of success for the application. Prepare your application well before submitting it to the DIBP.
Another note is that applicants with Schedule 3 considerations, where the applicant was unlawful in Australia at the time of application, are less likely to receive waivers as the Department has been very strict in assessing the “compelling reasons” criteria. If you are an applicant with Schedule 3 considerations, please check with a Registered Migration Agent first before lodging your Partner Visa application.
This information is accurate on 8 April 2016
Do you need help with an Australian visa application?
At Work Visa Lawyers we are experienced in assisting applicants in all matters relating to Australian visa applications. Our areas of expertise include Skilled Migration visas, Business Skills Migration visas, Employer Sponsored Work Visas, Partner and other Family Migration visas as well as the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) Review, Judicial Review and Ministerial Intervention.
If you require further information regarding your Australia visa options you can contact us through:
(08) 8351 9956 or +61 8 8351 9956