Most common reasons why your Australian Partner Visa application is rejected


Are you considering lodging a partner visa application? Being well informed about the requirements and ensuring that you thoroughly address these in your application will give you the best chance of a successful outcome and avoid a partner visa refusal.


Unfortunately, there have been startling statistics in terms of the number of refusals by the Department of Home Affairs for partner visas. About 39% of partner visas both onshore and offshore were refused in 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 around 42% partner visas were denied. 


The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), affirmed 21% of the decisions they made to refuse partner visas both onshore and offshore in the period July 2019 to December 2019. 


So why are partner visas being refused? 


Reason #1: Your partner visa refused because your relationship is not genuine in the eyes of Australian immigration

Lack of evidence to prove a genuine and committed relationship is the most common reason for the refusal of partner visas.


Applicants and their partner/spouse sponsor need to provide evidence in the following four aspects.


Failing to provide evidence that covers each of the following aspects can result in your application being refused:

  1. Financial aspect;
  2. Social aspect;
  3. Nature of your household; and
  4. Nature of your commitment to one another.

Note that all the circumstances of your relationship will be examined and will guide the Department in determining the weight to be given to each of these four factors. 


Lack of consistency in all the statements is another factor that affects partner visas from being approved.


Furthermore, if you provide Department of Home Affairs with fraudulent or bogus document/information, this may result to qualify you for the public interest criteria PIC4020. You may have inadvertently provided incorrect information or documents, but unfortunately this may lead to a visa refusal. Remember the dept can verify all documents and information provided in visa applications.


Reason #2: Failed to respond to the requests of Immigration case officer

You have failed to respond to the requests of the Embassy or Immigration case officer, regarding additional documentation or information, or you did not complete your medical examination to continue the assessment of your partner visa application.


This would mean you did not provide enough documentation and your visa can be refused based on this.


Reason #3: Failed to meet the Character requirements

A visa application can be refused if the applicant do not pass the character requirements for the visa.


Character Test

Reasons for not passing the character test include:

  • Having a substantial criminal record,
  • Having been associated with people or groups that Immigration suspects of being involved in criminal activities,
  • The past and present criminal conduct shows a lack of enduring moral character; or
  • There is a high risk in future involvement in criminal conduct, harass, molest, intimidate or stalk another person, vilify part of the Australian community, incite discord in the Australian community, or represent a danger to the Australian community.


Sponsorship Approval

Your partner/spouse must meet certain requirements to be approved as your Sponsor. This includes income, character, citizenship and residency status in Australia. Failure to meet these will result in your application being refused.

Major changes to the application process for partner visas are also pending and could be enacted at any moment. These changes mean that the sponsorship will need to be approved before your visa application can be lodged (whereas currently, both the visa and sponsorship applications are lodged concurrently).

This delay to your application could have further impacts.  

Sponsorship limitations may also apply if your partner/spouse:

  • have themselves previously been granted a Partner visa;
  • have previously sponsored someone else for a Partner visa; or
  • they hold a certain visa class.

Not only are the applicant’s character and eligibility checked but so are the sponsors who would include looking at the sponsor’s income, character and residency/citizenship status in Australia. If a sponsor has previously sponsored another person for a Partner visa or arrived on a Partner visa, it might limit the ability of the current applicant to get an approval. 



If a partner visa is refused, there are two possible options, either to try and apply again or to appeal to the AAT.


Where to Appeal Australia Partner Visa refusals 

There are few factors to consider on in deciding whether to appeal to the AAT such as: 

  1. Was the decision made incorrect? 
  2. As an applicant, would you have review rights? Or would you need somebody else to be your review applicant? 
  3. Was the notification stating the refusal flawed? 
  4. Alternative visas that are available to the applicant. 
  5. Can the applicant apply/relodge the application? 

With the AAT, timing is crucial as there are strict time limits, that are stated in the refusal letter, to lodging an AAT application. If lodging the application outside the time limit, the applicant would have lost their right to a hearing and relodging an application may be near to impossible. If your application is accepted to be reviewed by the AAT, there are two possible outcomes. Either the AAT will agree with the decision to refuse the visa by the immigration department or they may disagree with the decision and send the application to be reviewed by the immigration department again. 

To lodge an application for review, there needs to be a written submission and written evidence as to why there is a belief that the decision made by the immigration is incorrect. 


Why hiring Migration Agents or Lawyers necessary? 


In 2016/2017 about 59.6% of the applications for partner visas were lodged without a migration agent out which 47% of those applications were refused. As mentioned above, evidence to prove a genuine, committed relationship requires much in-depth information which a layman or woman would not understand.


A marriage certificate is not enough evidence for a spousal partner visa. The financial aspect of proof would require proof such as receipts of expenditure, proof of rent, bank statements. The social aspect would include witness statements from family or friends, photos posted in social media or that have been acquired throughout the relationship, evidence of a relationship with each other’s families.


Nature of the household would include evidence of how the house is run and how they work is split between both parties. A migration agent would be aware of the specific evidence needed for submission of application as well as would be able to check if there are any discrepancies between statements, documents and other evidence. A migration agent would be better equipped to fill out the necessary forms as well. A migration agent could also watch the progress of the application and liaise with the immigration department on the applicant’s behalf.


If there is a refusal in an application due to incorrect evidence, relodging another application usually takes much time which can cause emotional stress on the couple as the applicant would have to be overseas. In contrast, the relodged application is being considered. In the event of a visa refusal, a migration agent would be able to advise the applicant of the other possible visa options available for them to remain in the country.


How Can No Borders Law Group help you with Migration?


If you require assistance with appealing the refusal of your partner visa or would like help with applying for a partner visa, contact us today for a free, no-obligation assessment with our legal team.



Need help with getting Australian Visas or Visa Appealing?


Email: [email protected]

Tel:  +61 (07) 3876 4000



We will help you by exploring visa options and securing applications. We will assess the eligibility of the application for a partner visa, and provide you with detailed advice on your chances of success. If you would like to discuss your visa options and evaluate the pathway to permanent residency, please make an enquiry or book a consultation to get expert advice with one of our knowledgeable and experienced Migration Agents/Lawyers on 07 3876 4000 or email: [email protected]

Book a free consultation today and let us help you find a way forward.