Australia AAT Partner Visa refusal and appeal

Positive Decisions AAT Appeal Partner Visa

When you’re applying for a partner visa, the AAT has to decide whether or not you’re in a spousal relationship with your sponsor according to Australian Migration Law. In case there isn’t a proof of marriage between the two of you, the visa application will be rejected. 

While most partner visas go through, some applicants don’t make it to the end for failing to prove their relationship. As such, before you apply, be sure to meet the migration requirements for a partner visa.


Conditions for AAT to Approve your Partner Visa

For AAT to approve your partner visa application, they should be satisfied that:

  • There exists a mutual commitment to a shared life together, to the exclusion of all others.
  • The relationship between you and your visa sponsor is genuine and continuing.
  • You live together and don’t live separately and apart permanently.
  • The marriage is valid according to Migration Act 1958 or you aren’t related to your de facto partner by blood.

Usually, most of this is covered in the migration requirements for a partner visa. However, the AAT will still consider the particular circumstances of a relationship.

These include:

  • The financial aspect of an applicant’s relationship with the sponsor.
  • The nature of their household.
  • The social aspects of your relationship.
  • The nature of your commitment to each other.


How does the AAT process work?

Usually, AAT reviews partner visa applications that have been rejected by the Department of home affairs. In case your application didn’t go through but you feel the decision by the Department of Home Affairs wasn’t fair, you can apply for AAT review. 

In order to support your review, you’ll be required by AAT to provide some information.

Some of what you’ll need to provide include:

  • A statement signed by you regarding the circumstances of your relationship.
  • Proof of joint financial plans, such as real estate details, wills, loans, superannuation documents, etc.
  • Evidence of significant occasions such as photos of a wedding reception, engagement ceremony, honeymoon, etc.
  • Proof of ongoing contact between the two of you such as phone calls, emails, letters, videoconferencing, call history, etc.
  • Legal birth certificates of any children of the relationship and evidence joint responsibility for them.
  • Proof that you and the sponsoring partner present yourself as a couple in social events, such as photographs of you together with your partner in ceremonies.
  • Information from other people who can verify your spousal relationship.
  • Proof of why specific information in the decision of the Department of Home Affairs is incorrect.

If you don’t provide such information, your AAT review may not go through. Moreover, there’s usually a specified period the information should cover. The AAT will consider the circumstances of your relationship at the time you lodged the visa application and when it will be making its final decision. 

If you’re in a de facto relationship with the sponsoring partner, you should prove that:

  • The relationship existed at least 12 months before the visa application was lodged; 
  • Your relationship is registered; or
  • You weren’t in a de facto relationship for 12 months before you lodged the visa application, but have compelling reasons for you to be granted the visa.

Provided the information an applicant gives covers any of these periods, AAT will proceed to review the decision by the Department of Home Affairs. In case you register for marriage while the application is before AAT, you should notify them as soon as possible and provide a copy of the marriage certificate. 


What Happens If You Experience a Relationship Breakdown on Partner Visa?

If you’re no longer in a relationship with the sponsoring partner, you should inform AAT as soon as possible. Even then, you might still qualify for a partner visa if:

  • You have children of the relationship or have legal obligations towards them.
  • You experienced violence in the course of the relationship.
  • Your sponsoring partner has died.


However, if you intend to rely on any of the exceptions listed above, you should notify AAT. 

An applicant is required to give their information to AAT as soon as possible. In case they’re satisfied with the details you’ve provided, a favourable decision will be reached without the need for a hearing. As such, you’ll be able to get your visa application outcome sooner. 

On the other hand, if AAT feels the supporting details of your review are inadequate, you’ll be required to attend a hearing. One of the AAT members will ask questions about your application and consider all the information that you present. Usually, this includes the documents an applicant has provided about the case. AAT requires applicants to give the information no later than 7 days before the hearing. However, in case they need you to provide the details earlier, they’ll notify you of the date. 

Keep in mind that any information you provide to any of the AAT members is essential evidence. Therefore, be sure to prepare the evidence properly before you present it to the AAT member. In that way, it will be easier for them to make a decision. 


What Entails AAT Hearing

AAT hearing is relatively informal and is usually conducted by one Tribunal Member. He/she is the one to decide the review. An applicant can attend the hearing in a room at the AAT registry, or by telephone or videoconferencing. It’s up to you to tell AAT what you prefer when lodging the application. 


Before the hearing, you should notify AAT of the people to attend. It could be:

  • A representative like a lawyer or other professional person
  • A support person such as a friend or family
  • Any witness you want to give evidence

However, children aren’t allowed in the hearing room and can’t give oral evidence during the hearing.


Generally, that’s what you need to know about the AAT review.


Partner visas are complex. Book a Migration consultation to get expert advise.


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