The Top 10 Partner Visa Tips
What makes a good Partner visa application? How can I convince an Immigration officer that my relationship is genuine and continuing? Do I need lots of documents? Is some evidence better than others?
For most Partner visa applicants, these are the biggest questions they will ask themselves when preparing their visa application. There are a lot of different opinions, and friends and forums will certainly give you lots of ideas and suggestions - maybe too many! To give you a great starting point, here is Acacia's top tips for preparing a Partner visa:
- Talk to each other. This is going to be a long and emotional experience for both of you, and you need to be on the same page. Discuss any previous relationships, criminal convictions, and medical issues before lodging a Partner visa. Similarly, if the applicant has a poor Immigration history such as overstaying visas, cancellations, or refusals, this can delay processing and give rise to questions about the genuineness of the relationship. Be prepared to answer these.
- You will be required to confirm the dates of important events within your relationship, such as when you first met, started dating, moved in together, became engaged/married etc. Work out when these were and write up a timeline for your relationship. This information is used again and again in your application, so it needs to be consistent.
- Keep in mind that you are trying to convince an Immigration officer of your relationship based on pieces of paper, so your documents are very important. Store your bills, mail, and other documents somewhere safe - digital or scanned copies are fine - and make sure you have plenty of photos of you as a couple as well as with friends and family.
- This process is nothing like the movies. A Marriage certificate or a Registered Relationship certificate alone will not get you a Partner visa.
- The relationship history statement is your opportunity to tell the story of your relationship from the start to present date. Unless there are concerns, Immigration offices no longer conduct face-to-face interviews as part of the Partner visa process, so this is really your chance to provide an insight into your life as a couple. Make sure you include all key events in your relationship, any other significant moments, how you felt about each other then and now, and your plans for the future.
- If you are applying on the basis of being in a 12 month De Facto relationship, first take a look at the earliest dated document/s you have showing a shared address. Even if you had been living together earlier, 12 months from the document date is the earliest you can safely apply for the Partner visa.
- As a general rule, the more documents you can provide to support your relationship over a longer length of time, the better. It is also a case of quality over quantity; if you have strong documentation showing a shared household such as joint lease agreements or property ownership, joint bank accounts, joint utility bills, and mutually beneficial wills, then you may not need to rely on less substantial documents such as receipts, memberships, and greeting cards (though these all do support the application).
- This application will delve into your personal lives, but don't feel pressured to provide information or evidence of your intimate relationship. If you are really uncomfortable with an Immigration officer reading through or looking at very personal documents, do not provide them. Even if you are comfortable, officers do not need to see explicit texts, emails, or photographs.
- Processing times can be lengthy, so don't rush to obtain police clearances or medicals. Keep an eye on the general processing times published on the Immigration website, or wait for a request from Immigration before spending the time and money needed to obtain these. Clearances are only valid for 12 months, so you may end up having to do them again!
- Know when you need help. Speaking with a Migration Agent can save you time and money in the long run, especially if there are health or character issues. The lodgement fees for a Partner visa are significant - almost $8,000 - and Immigration law is constantly changing, so it is always prudent to contact a professional for advice.
Finally, we urge applicants to keep in mind the Partner visa changes announced in the 2020-21 Budget (here)
. English language requirements will be introduced for applicants and must be met prior to a permanent visa being granted, while sponsors will need to go through a formal Family Sponsorship application process. There is currently no set date for when these changes will take effect.
The Acacia team has a wealth of experience with Partner visa cases. For advice and assistance, contact us today.