Applying for the Australian Partner visa?
There’s nothing worse than getting a refusal notice, and realizing you just lost your $8K non-refundable fee and 1-2 years of your life.
Why are visas rejected though (and how can you get your visa granted)? Why are some visas granted in months (our record is 3 months) while others sit in limbo for up to 2 years?
We speak with hundreds of applicants, and review dozens of self lodged visa applications (part of our application review service). These are the most common mistakes we see:
Mistake #1: Applying Before You’re Eligible
It sounds obvious, but a surprising number of couples apply without being 100% sure they’re eligible. To be fair, some of the requirements can be confusing.
For example, you might hear about couples who got their visa without living together for the required 12 months. They likely bypassed this requirement by registering their relationship (many states allow this).
What you may not realize is this only waives the objective requirement of living together for 12 months.
The subjective requirement of having strong evidence of a joint household still applies.So you’d still have to show evidence that you’ve lived/currently living together. There’s just no minimum time requirement.
And that’s where a lot of applications can go wrong.
Do your research before you apply. Check all the requirements on the Immigration website before you lodge your application:
If you aren’t sure - ask. Many migration specialists (including us) would be happy to assess your eligibility for free.
Mistake #2: Insufficient Evidence
Q: What documents should you include in your application?
A: Whatever shows you meet the 4 key criteria.
Remember that case officers have full discretion, and are NOT obliged to ask for additional evidence.
These are the official documents the Department of Immigration suggests you include. Don’t stop there though. We usually provide over 50 supporting documents for our applications. Here are some documents we include which aren’t included on the official list.
Now, what if you DON’T have a particular document, such as a joint lease, or household bills in both names? Don’t ignore it. Instead identify which of the 4 key criteria it relates to. Then figure out what other documents could help you meet the criteria.
For example, the joint lease agreement addresses the (i) financial aspect, and (ii) nature of the household. So...
For financial aspect: highlight transactions in your bank statement showing you bought presents for each other
For nature of the household: you could show you both have the same address on your driver’s license.
Don’t go overboard with the attachments though as that can also be a problem (see mistake #5 👇)
Mistake #3: Not Meeting the 4 Key Criteria
Yes you’ve answered every question and provided all the listed documents. But what story are these documents telling? Remember your application and documents are all the case officer has to go on.
For example, you may have shown a joint bank account to meet the financial aspect criteria. However, if you only use the account sporadically - it doesn’t really show you’re pooling resources together. Your account has to show you both contribute to joint daily expenses and bills.
Maybe you’ve included photos of the two of you together to show you’re committed. Great! Even better would be photos of you two out with your family and friends. This shows your families support your relationship, and meets the social aspects better.
The key here is to align every answer and every document to the 4 key criteria:
Financial aspects - showing you share financial commitments and responsibilities
Nature of household - showing you have established a joint household
Social context - showing your relationship is socially accepted by your friends and family
Nature of commitment - showing you depend on each other for long-term companionship and emotional support
Mistake #4 Inconsistent Answers or Details
There are 159+ questions over 60 pages on the application forms, so it can be hard to keep track of what you’ve written.
Any inconsistencies in your documents however, could raise concerns. This includes travel history, work details, contact details, and information related to your relationship.
There are 3 issues that commonly happen here:
Providing inconsistent answers because you misunderstood the question. For example E.g. “Date committed relationship began?” is NOT asking for when you started dating exclusively. They want the date began living together or got married, i.e. a date they can verify with a third party
Providing answers that don’t match what you’ve written elsewhere. Immigration officials may also check your social media. Does your relationship status say that you’re single? Have public posts suggesting you’ve ended your relationship, or you’re going through a rough patch? Any inconsistencies could be a major issue - no matter what your reasons. The DHA can also cross check with other government agencies (and certain private institutions like banks).
Mismatched answers on your partner’s form There’s a lot to do and it’s understandable if you can’t remember when your partner asked you out!. But Immigration looks for red flags like these. Make sure you and your partners' statements and questions all have the same date!
Best case, they might request more information - which slows down processing. Worst case - they get suspicious and refuse your application. Remember, they don’t have to ask for more information!
Mistake #5 Providing Too Much Irrelevant Information
We previously mentioned it’s good to have a lot of documents and evidence, but you can have too much of a good thing.
Drowning case officers with irrelevant evidence and information will only confuse them and dilute your story.
They are legally obliged to look through everything you send. Too many documents will slow down your application processing.
Case officers have strict targets (I know because I used to be one). If you submit a big application they might not want to tackle it till later in the day, or over several days. This will likely cause delays to your application.
Since processing is a subjective process, the more evidence you give, the more room there is for error/confusion.
Remember, case officers are only human after all. So we want to make it easy for them to review your application (and say yes). So instead of a lot of documents, we want to give just enough of the RIGHT documents.
For example, 20 statements by friends from one side of the relationship doesn’t add much value (just a lot of work for everyone). It’d be better to give 3-5 statements from a diverse cast from both sides of the family.
What other Partner Visa mistakes are common? In part 2 of this series we’ll reveal 5 more mistakes, including relationship statements and the timing of your submission. Stay tuned.
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