Partner Visa Article

Best Time to Apply for a Partner Visa? 4 Factors to Remember

Best Time to Apply for a Partner Visa? 4 Factors to Remember

When is the Best Time to Apply for a Partner Visa?

The partner visa process is an exciting first step in establishing your new life in Australia with your Australian partner. Having the approval of an official authority is not only essential, but also pleasant because it signifies that third parties have approved of your connection with your partner.

The stress and uncertainty of your partner visa immigration procedure in Australia can sometimes overwhelm the joy of moving to a new country.

It is not surprising that I do get asked questions like, “When is the ideal time to apply?” “When will I be able to apply given my situation?

To help you relieve some of the stresses of the partner visa application process, I have put together the four (4) major factors to consider when determining the best time to apply for an Australian Partner visa in your situation.

In this article, I’ll provide an answer to this question and some practical tips for your partner visa.

Read on and I’ll explain this in more detail below.

When is the Best Time to Apply for a Partner Visa?

Jay Son – Australian Immigration Lawyer

Jay Son is our Principal Immigration Lawyer and Director of Hummingbird Legal, admitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland and the High Court of Australia. Jay is based in Australia and practises exclusively in Australian immigration law.

Jay is a strong migration advocate and is highly experienced in challenging government decisions in relation to Australian immigration law. He solves difficult migration matters and visa problems including complex partner visas, AAT appeals, visa refusals, visa cancellations, Schedule 3 submissions, health waiver and character concerns.

If you want to learn more about Jay, click here.

#1 – Marriage vs De Facto Relationship

The first factor comes down to your relationship status with your Australian partner.

For a Partner visa in Australia, you need to demonstrate that you are either married, or in a de facto relationship with your Australian partner.

  • De Facto

In Australia, you can apply for a partner visa even if you are not married, as long as you can demonstrate that you are in a de facto relationship with your Australian sponsoring partner.

Generally speaking, you are in a de facto relationship if you can demonstrate that you’ve lived together with your partner for at least 12 months unless you have registered your relationship with an eligible territory or state government.

  • Marriage

On the other hand, if you are looking to apply as a married couple, you must ensure that your marriage is valid under the Australian law.

To get married in Australia, you must:

  • not already be married
  • not be marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister
  • be at least 18 years of age, unless a court has approved a marriage where one person is 16 to 18 years of age
  • have a clear understanding of what marriage entails and willingly consent to marry
  • give a notice of intended marriage form to an authorised marriage celebrant at least one month and no more than 18 months before your wedding
  • be married by an authorised marriage celebrant

Whether you are looking to apply as a married couple or a de facto couple, the right time to apply is when you have the correct relationship status with your Australian sponsor.

Do not rush to submit your Partner visa application if you can’t meet the relationship status requirements.

 

 

#2 – Relationship Evidence

The second factor is concerned with gathering the proof of your relationship with your Australian partner for the Department of Home Affairs.

There is a very important principle that you must demonstrate that your relationship is genuine and continuing in your visa application.

The Department will consider 4 aspects of relationship when they assess this principle in your application. These four aspects are; (1) financial aspects, (2) social aspects and the (3) nature of your household, as well as the (4) nature of your commitment to each other.

  • Financial Aspects

For the financial aspects, the Department wants to know how you and your partner share financial responsibilities together. In an Australian partner visa, there is an assumption that if you are in a genuine and exclusive relationship, that you would share your financials together as well.

As a result, the Department wants to know how you combine your funds, pool your financial resources, and pay for everything as one unit.

  • Social Aspects

Social aspects are concerned with how you and your partner represent yourselves to other people as being married or in a de facto relationship. You will have to show that third parties are aware of your relationship.

Any basis on which you plan and undertake joint social activities as well as any social recognitions will be important to establish.

  • Nature of Household

The nature of your household component requires you and your partner to explain how you and your partner live together. This includes everything from the nitty gritty domestic arrangements within the household (e.g. the division of household chores) to the larger factors, such as your living arrangements with your partner (e.g. who makes the majority of household decisions), is taken into consideration.

You’ll need to demonstrate that you do live together and explain what you do together and whether or not you share housework responsibilities, and if so, how.

  • Nature of Your Commitment to Each Other

Finally, the nature of your commitment to each other refers to the Department understanding that you and your partner are in a mutually committed ongoing relationship.

You will need to demonstrate that you are in a serious and established relationship based on the extent to which you provide each other with companionship and emotional support as well as your understanding of each other’s personal circumstances, such as your background and family.

You should also discuss your long-term plans with your partner, as this is an important factor for the Department to consider when determining whether or not you see your relationship as long-term.

Therefore the question of when is the best time to apply for a Partner visa, is not only about setting the proper relationship status, but also the right time is also when you can demonstrate that your relationship is genuine and continuing.

At the end of the day, every relationship is different and the dynamics of your relationship can never be the same as another couple. As a result, you must ensure that you have sufficient relationship evidence to demonstrate all four aspects of the relationship, and you should only proceed with your application when you are certain that you can meet this requirement.

 

 

#3 – Onshore vs Offshore

The third factor has to do with the location of your visa application.

If you are in Australia at the time of submitting your application, you will be an onshore partner visa applicant (‘820 Partner visa’), whereas if you are outside Australia when you submit your application, you will be an offshore partner visa applicant (‘309 Partner visa’).

In some cases, obtaining a visa such as a tourist visa and landing on Australian soil in order to apply for an onshore partner visa while in Australia may be extremely difficult. Or you and your partner may have some personal circumstances, such as family commitment or work commitment, that make it more convenient to apply for an offshore application.

On the other hand, you might want to come to Australia and apply for a Partner visa 820 in Australia while you’re onshore to enjoy some of the benefits of being an onshore visa applicant, or you might just want to be with your partner early and wait in Australia while your application is being processed.

Whichever may be your case, the location of your visa application, that is, whether you wish to apply for an onshore partner visa or an offshore partner visa is a very important consideration to determine the right time to apply for your application.

 

 

#4 – Visa Expiry

Finally, this one is important if you are applying for your Partner visa in Australia.

The general rule for any temporary visa holder in Australia is that if you have a substantive visa in Australia that is about to expire, you should apply for a new one before your current one expires.

In your situation, if you have a valid visa that is coming to an end, and you are considering applying for an onshore Partner visa with your Australian sponsor, you should act quickly and check your Partner visa eligibility so you can apply for this visa in a timely manner.

If you do end up applying for an onshore Partner visa after your current visa had already expired, you will then need to satisfy the additional Schedule 3 requirements, which for many people is very challenging to satisfy.

In this case, the best time to apply for an onshore Partner visa is always while you are still holding a valid visa in Australia as long as you have the correct relationship status and sufficient relationship evidence to proceed.

By the way, I have a separate article and video on the topic of the Schedule 3 requirements. You can read and watch the Schedule 3 specific information by clicking here.

As I mentioned earlier, this is an exciting first step in starting your new life with your Australian partner and for that reason it is crucial for you to make sure that you prepare your application as best as it can be.

As you can see, determining the best time to apply for your visa application with your Australian partner is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and many factors must be considered when determining the best time to apply based on your unique circumstances.

 
 

Contact Us

If you have any questions about identifying the best time to apply for a Partner visa in your specific situation, feel free to get in touch with us to discuss.

We can advise you on your partner visa eligibility and help you identify the best time to apply given your circumstances surrounding your relationship status, readiness of your relationship evidence, your desired location at the time of applying for a Partner visa as well as any visa expiry and visa conditions that may apply to you.

You can call us, email us or send us an enquiry form on our website.

On the other hand, if you want to understand what some of the most common reasons why Partner visas are refused, watch this video.

Need More Immigration Tips and Information?

If you would like more tips about Australian immigration, visas and updates, sign up for our free immigration newsletter by clicking here.

We also have an educational YouTube channel about Australian immigration, ‘Hummingbird Legal – A Fresh Take on Migration Law by Jay Son’. This is where we provide practical tips, visa information and step by step guides on Australian immigration and updates.

You can visit our YouTube channel by simply clicking here. Subscribe to our channel and get the latest Australian immigration updates and news.

 
Need legal help?

We will help and navigate your migration journey together