If you’re like many of the readers of my blog, you first discovered this website thanks to my articles on the Australian partner visa. We first applied for our Australian Partner Visa in 2015, and after a long wait, applied for the second stage in 2017. If you’re on the same journey as us, you already know that there’s not a lot of information out there on the Australian partner visa that really answers the questions that people have about the process. Having gone through the visa application, even though we still aren’t finished, many people come to me with their questions about the visa, and to tell me their circumstances.
Since I published my first Australian partner visa article a few years ago, I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have reached out and told me their stories. I love to hear them, and at the end of the day we’re all working for the same thing: to get the people we love here with us, permanently. Still, I thought I would compile some of the most common questions I get asked about the Australian Partner Visa.
Remember, I am NOT a Migration Agent, so this information is provided only in the form of unprofessional advice based on my own experience!
Why Is The Australian Partner Visa So Expensive?
Probably the question that is most commonly asked to me about the Australian partner visa is this one. Just why is the visa so expensive? At around $7,000, not including credit card surcharges (for paying online) health checks, migration agent or police checks, the Australian partner visa is one of the most expensive partner visas in the world. In 2015, ironically just before we applied for our Australian partner visa, the cost went up by 50% (i.e. doubled), and on July of 2017 the price increased again (marginally) to the current price. If you’re wondering why the cost is so expensive, you aren’t alone. Almost everyone is shocked at the immense cost of the visa, and there has been no explanation by the government on why the visa application cost is so high. Some have suggested it is to deter illegitimate applications, but it appears to be nothing less than money gouging.
Do I Need To Get A Migration Agent?
Ultimately this question comes down to your ability to afford the agent, which can be several thousand dollars on top of the already excessive visa application fee. If you aren’t good at paperwork, I would 100% recommend a migration agent, or if you have unusual circumstances, it’s definitely a good idea. If you’re not adverse to filling out forms (get ready for lots of that) and you’re willing to dig deep and become something of an expert on the Australian partner visa process, you can probably manage it. We didn’t use a migration agent, simply because we couldn’t afford one. However, it is a risk as the application fee is not refundable if your application is refused, even if it’s for something like a small error on your application.
Will Exceptions Be Made For My Circumstances?
Lots of applicants wonder if their love story or their situation will make the government change the rules of the partner visa for them. I’m not trying to be a cynic, but in my experience this rarely happens. The only exception I’ve heard is that sometimes the 2-year waiting time between temporary and permanent partner visa can be waived if the couple have been together for a decade, or have a child, but this is no guarantee and I’ve never met anyone who has experience this.
Can I Cheat The System?
When we were backpacking we often heard non-AU citizens joke about finding an Australian person to ‘pretend’ marry so they could stay in Australia forever. If you’re even thinking about this, leave now. Applications of people trying to cheat the system are probably one of the reasons that it’s so hard to get an Australian partner visa, which means the very idea makes me absolutely furious.
Where Do I Go For Advice?
Well, you came here which is a start, but my advice is not official and I’m not exactly an expert. I recommend the Australia Forum (check the Resources at the bottom), where there are some very, very clever folks with combined knowledge like you wouldn’t believe who can help with almost anything. There are also some migration agents there offering free advice. Otherwise, get a migration agent and pay them for advice, particularly if it’s a big thing or your application hinges on it.
Does Being Married Make It Easier?
As far as I’m aware, being married does not make your Australian partner visa easier, although people do seem to think this. To my knowledge the only thing that changes on the 820/801 visa if you’re married is that you don’t have to have lived together for 12 months, but you still need to show that your relationship is a genuine one. Your marriage certificate is not a magic piece of paper that’s going to get you a visa. Dean and I talked about getting married when we thought it might smooth our application process, but we weren’t yet ready to be married, and neither of us wanted to be married just for a visa. Both of us were happy with our decision, as we felt it was more true to us, and we’re engaged now anyway.
Why Is My Partner Visa Taking So Long?
The processing times for the Australian partner visa are not getting any shorter, and in the two years since we applied they have gone through the roof. People applying now, according to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, can expect to wait between 18-21 months between applying and being granted the 820 Temporary Australian partner visa. From there they need to wait 2 years after their date of initial application before applying for the 801 Permanent Australian partner visa, which now also takes 19-24 months to process. Dean’s temporary visa was approved at the 11 month mark, and we applied in March 2017 for the 801, and are still waiting.
I know it’s a long wait, but all couples can do is continue to compile (and regularly submit) updated data on their continuing relationship, and do as much as possible to live their lives not focusing on the visa. Worrying and stressing about it doesn’t make it go any faster, and it certainly doesn’t improve the quality of your life!
Australia Forum – Amazing place and great community for your questions and queries!