Australia Travel

Why Is My Australian Partner Visa Taking So Long – FAQs On The 820/801 Visa

Three Year Anniversary

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, sometimes called the spouse visa, de facto visa or by its numerical code the 820/801 visa. We first applied for our Australian Partner Visa in 2015, and after a long wait, applied for the second stage in 2017. The first stage is the 820, the second stage is the 801. If you’re on the same visa 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. I would have loved a clear resource like this when we first applied for our partner visa, so I hope this information helps someone else on their journey to the 820 visa, or the 801 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! 

NSW South Coast, Australia

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, police checks, or migration agent (optional) the Australian partner visa is one of the most expensive spouse visas in the world. In 2015, ironically just before we applied for our Australian partner visa, the cost 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 a pretty clear case of revenue raising.

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 (and I’ve heard a lot of partner visa stories) 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 experienced 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. I’m not trying to be cutting about it, but for those legitimately working to get their spouse visa these people are just the worse. 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 a registered migration agent, although I suppose I’m an expert in my own right. 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.

Temples in Bangkok, Thailand

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!

Resources

Australia Forum – Amazing place and great community for your questions and queries!

Australian Government Partner Migration Booklet

Check Out My Other Partner Visa Blogs

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15 Comments

  • Reply
    Erik
    April 3, 2018 at 1:26 am

    Im from Germany applied on 05 March 2016 for 801 and still waiting. The guidline is 23 months for 90% of applications but it can take much longer than that.

    • Reply
      Oceana Setaysha
      April 3, 2018 at 9:03 am

      Wow that is a really long wait Erik, do you happen to know why your application is taking so long? Have you perhaps followed up with the department, or is your application considered high-risk or complex?

  • Reply
    Shairah
    March 28, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    We are in the same boat!

    Applied for my hub 309 in Jul 2013. it was a breeze. Approved in 3 weeks time because I was 7 months pregnant with our 1st daughter. We missed out the letter they sent in Jun 2015. Although we updated all mailing address should be Australia, not sure why they posted the mail to overseas address. There was no email nor notification at all. Hence we only submitted his 100 Stage 2 a year later (Aug 2016)!! And now still waiting. By now We already have 3 kids 😂😂. It is so hard as we are trying to find a financier that can accept spouse visa since we are purchasing our first home.

    • Reply
      Oceana Setaysha
      March 28, 2018 at 6:38 pm

      That must be so complicated! We often worried about how long it would take for ours to be approved if we wanted to buy a house. As it happens ours was recently approved (https://mapsandmandalas.com/travel/approved-820-801-australian-partner-visa/), but it turns out we’re far too poor to buy a property anyway 🤣 I haven’t heard of too many people going through the 309/100 route, most of the people I’ve encountered are doing the 820/801. Good luck, I hope you hear something soon!

  • Reply
    Kate
    March 1, 2018 at 9:53 am

    Hi, I applied 801 visa on 15 of march 2016 still waiting. Is I am very late. Anyone waiting this long. Really worry.

    • Reply
      Oceana Setaysha
      March 2, 2018 at 8:48 am

      Hey Kate,
      We applied for our 801 on the 25th March 2017 and expect to hear from them sometime after August/September of 2018 so yes, that does seem pretty late. Have you looked at your immi account and seen if there is anything there updated? I think it might be worth attempting to make a call to the department for a wait time that long. That being said, I have heard that wait times for people from high risk countries can be much higher, so that’s worth considering too.
      O.

    • Reply
      Liz
      March 7, 2018 at 6:48 am

      Hi i applied in 2016 too . Still waiting . Where are you from ? Its frustrating i know

  • Reply
    Liz
    February 22, 2018 at 8:48 am

    You guys compain you applied 2017 and didnt hear. I applied 2016 and still waiting its gonna be over 16 month now . When people complain coz they applied 2017 and still waiting i want to cry. I have nighmares sometimes not knowing what will happen with my future and fiance. But immigration dont care.

    • Reply
      Oceana Setaysha
      February 22, 2018 at 8:55 am

      We aren’t really complaining Liz, each of us can only talk about our own experiences and yes it does feel like a very long time for all of us. I know people who applied before us who are still waiting, and people who applied after us who already have their visas. When it comes down to it, year makes less of a difference than month. We applied March 2015 for our original 820 visa, which makes March 2018 a three year or 36 month wait with probably another 5-10 months more minimum, and yes that is a long time. I hope that none of us will need to wait too much longer, but as you say immigration certainly don’t appear to be rushing themselves so all we can do is wait.

      • Reply
        Liz
        February 22, 2018 at 9:14 am

        Thanks for reply. Yes this is why im very upset in terms of few of my friends applied after me and they all got their visa before me, but main reason for that was they both had children from relationship. And one of them didnt even submit right from the start. Couldnt attach but they made her wait few month and she got it with attaching only one sentence . Not fair

        • Reply
          Oceana Setaysha
          February 23, 2018 at 10:22 am

          Yes it’s hard to feel as though the system is fair when there doesn’t seem to be much of a pattern on how things go in terms of timelines etc. That’s why I always try not to compare my timeline with other people, because I don’t know their relationship history and the process they went through to get the visa. People apply from different streams i.e. tourist, PMV, student etc, and I’m sure all that changes the timeline.
          O.

  • Reply
    David
    December 8, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    Hi,

    I also applied for my 801 visa in March 2017. I was just granted it today. Hopefully you get yours soon. I saw your blog a few months back when I was googling why it was taking so long.

    Cheers,
    David

    • Reply
      Oceana Setaysha
      December 9, 2017 at 5:22 am

      Hey that’s fantastic news! I’m so happy to hear that you got your visa, and exciting that your application time was so close to ours! Did you apply at the start or the end of March if you don’t mind my asking? Fingers crossed we also hear something soon!
      O.

      • Reply
        David
        December 9, 2017 at 11:22 am

        I applied March 28th. I’m from Canada. I came originally on a subclass 300(PMV) which was granted in a few days after applying. The 820 took about a month after applying. The 801 took around 9 months after I applied. The whole process took 3 and half years. I forget to provide a stat Dec from my wife and they called her at work yesterday. They asked her a few questions and my 801 was granted a couple hours later. I’ve also been adding documents to the original application every few months. I heard it helps.

        • Reply
          Oceana Setaysha
          December 11, 2017 at 6:27 pm

          Interesting. We went straight from tourist to Bridging, then to 820 which is where we remain. It just goes to show how different each person’s visa story is, and how people often go about getting the same visa in different ways. We’ve continued to add information to the visa over the months, but it does sometimes feel as though nobody is looking! Fingers crossed it comes sooner rather than later.

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