As you know, it can take 20 - 25 months for a Partner visa to be processed. The wait can be a long and anxiety-filled one. Here at Skylark, our applications are usually processed much faster, often taking half the standard processing time!
Our former-Immigration officer and partner visa expert, Vivian, has recently had a partner visa granted in 2 WEEKS (yes, 2 weeks!). She is here today to share with you her 6 top tips for lodging successful partner visa applications.
1. Aim to have evidence that addresses all 4 criteria
Case officers assess partner visas based on the 4 criteria: 1) Financial aspects, 2) Nature of household, 3) Social context and 4) Nature of commitment. It's best to have evidence covering all 4 areas.
2. Provide a submission for your application
It's natural for some relationships to be"weaker" in some of the 4 areas than others. When preparing visa applications, Vivian would note which aspects are stronger and which aspects aren’t as strong.
For the areas that are weaker, instead of shying away from it, Vivian would provide providing a submission letter to explain your evidence to the case officer. The submission letter allows you to tell your story to the case officer and address the aspects in which you are lacking evidence and why. For example, yes you don’t have evidence to show nature of household, but you have provided a statutory declaration from mum, dad and sister-in-law who are living with you and your partner. This lets the case officer know your personal circumstances and provides alternative evidence.
3. Provide a relationship timeline You should show a progression of how your relationship has developed, highlighting the important dates. You can do this through your relationship statements, or through your other supporting documents.
4. Lodge a decision-ready application
You can improve your chances of a faster grant by lodging a decision ready application. This makes it easier for the case officer to simply grant your application the first time they pick it up. You can find out more on how you can lodge a decision-ready application here.
5. Being married isn't enough
Many couples assume as long as they're married, this would be enough to satisfy the partner visa criteria. Some often get married just for the sake of the visa application. This is absolutely not the case! You could be married but if you don’t satisfy the 4 aspects case officers are assessing, your application is still very much at risk of being refused. The most important thing to always keep in mind is "am I satisfying the 4 aspects the case officer is assessing?"
6. Your job isn't done after your application is submitted
If a case officer isn't completely sure about your application, they may request for an interview. In Vivian's experience, for partner visa applications lodged offshore, it's highly likely that the applicants will be interviewed.
Applicants generally tend to think because their relationship is genuine, there is no need to prepare for the interview. What they don't realise is that case officers can be quite intimidating. They often ask very specific questions to test how well you know your relationship, as a form of checking the genuineness of your relationship. Many applicants get nervous and give inconsistent answers, which raises red flags.
A good way to prepare for the interview is to compile a list of questions such as important dates, milestones etc. and check you and your partner have the same understanding of the information provided on your application.
Bonus question: "So how did you manage to get this recent application granted so quickly? 2 weeks!"
"There was definitely some good luck involved with this one. They usually don't get processed this quickly, but if you follow the tips I've given above, you'll definitely maximise your chance of success and faster processing."
>> For more, see article here for our answers to the Top 10 FAQs about partner visa documents.
Still unsure if your partner visa application is as strong as it can be?
Need help with your Partner visa interview process?
Book in for a free consultation to speak 1-to-1 with Vivian herself to discuss your partner visa application!
NOTE: These are general guidelines only. While it applies to most situations, it is not exhaustive. Depending on the strength of your case and individual circumstance, our specific recommendations to you may not appear in this article.