A partner visa, both the onshore (subclass 820) and offshore (subclass 309) stream, provides a pathway to permanent residence for the de facto partner or spouse of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen. You must be in a genuine relationship with your spouse or de facto partner who will sponsor you for this application as your Australian partner.
You will generally be eligible for the permanent stage of the partner visa two years after the date you lodged the initial application, however, the permanent visa may be granted simultaneously in certain circumstances. The processing time for this visa can take up to two years, but there are certain steps you can take to reduce this time and avoid any delays.
Below are our top 3 tips on how to accelerate your partner visa application.
1.Ensure the application is decision-ready
What do we mean by decision-ready? Decision-ready means the application with all required documents and information required for a positive outcome. It’s common for police clearances and health examinations to be provided upon request from the Department of Home Affairs, however, you may arrange for these earlier to avoid the need for any further requests from the Department. Be mindful that police clearances and health examination results are typically valid for one year so in the event that the processing time exceeds this period, they will become invalid and need to be redone.
A decision-ready application means that you have also addressed all the criteria underpinning the partner visa so if you haven’t already, you may want to consult a migration lawyer to ensure you’ve done this. The Department may ask you to address this later on in an official request letter or may even refuse the application depending on what has been provided. By ensuring that each element of the partner visa has been met at the time of lodgement, you should have your visa granted much faster as the Department will not need to contact you for any further information.
2.12 months of genuine relationship
This may seem obvious, but you must demonstrate that you were in a committed and genuine relationship with your de facto partner or spouse for the 12 months immediately preceding the lodgement of your application. This 12 month period is a legislative requirement and must be shown at the time of lodgement. While it is generally more difficult to prove your relationship on paper, there are certain elements of the relationship that the Department will want to see, hence the importance of seeking professional assistance to ensure you get this right.
This element of the partner visa is the most heavily scrutinised and it is essential that you provide high quality evidence in support of your relationship to account for this entire 12-month period. Without this, you will not only delay your application quite substantially, but you also risk its refusal. You may be formally requested by the Department to advise why you should still receive the visa if you do not sufficiently establish your relationship for the 12 months prior to lodging your application.
A migration lawyer can assist and coach you through the required documents to ensure your application is properly substantiated and receives a positive outcome so this should be one of your first considerations when preparing this application.
The sponsor of a partner visa must also meet several criteria in order for the sponsorship to be approved. This primary criteria for sponsors are character and previous sponsorships. Your sponsor will be asked to provide a police clearance to disclose any relevant offences or conduct which may affect their ability to sponsor a partner, such as family or domestic violence. This is part of the Australian Government’s initiative to combat family violence and protect vulnerable applicants from potentially dangerous situations.
If you foresee any difficulties in providing the sponsor’s police clearance due to any past offences, you should address this as soon as possible as the Department will invite you to comment if they are unsatisfied of anything. Similarly, if you are concerned with the contents of your sponsor’s police clearance, you should disclose this to your migration lawyer who may address this upon lodgement of the application to prevent any future delays in processing. By attending to this issue early, you may potentially reduce the processing time quite significantly as the Department may be satisfied with your response and proceed on that basis without the need to seek further information.
These are our top 3 tips on how to accelerate the processing time of your partner visa, however, depending on your individual circumstances, there may be other ways in which to speed up the process. We suggest that you seek the advice of a migration lawyer to ensure that you have a high quality and well substantiated application, as the partner visa is not something you will want to do twice.
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