27th April 2018
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Play it safe for your 820 Partner visa


Your application for an 820 Partner visa is a higher stakes proposition now, with increased govt. fees. Partner visa applicants need to ensure they get proper legal advice so their money isn’t wasted.

Making an application under the Australian Government’s Family Migration Program is a big undertaking – and it can be expensive. In fact, if you make a mistake it can be very expensive indeed.

A very popular visa category

The Family Migration category includes partners (including married and de facto partners as well as same-sex partners, and fiancés), but also children, parents and other family. Over 75% of Family Migration visas issued last year were in the Partner category.

Partner visas getting more competitive

While the number of visas being issued is growing slowly (2.7 per cent increase last year), the number of applications is growing much more quickly. So, the competition for places has never been tougher!

Partly as a result of this increased competition, government-imposed application fees have risen significantly in the Family Migration program – both for the base charge and in the charges for each additional applicant. With all the complexity of the application process, this really raises the stakes. Mistakes in your application, are likely to result in the loss of your money.

Also, there’s the issues of extended processing times due to the rise in applications. The Partner visa application is a two-stage process and the processing time is at least a year, and now getting up to 15 months or longer (60, 185 Family Migration visas were issued last year). That’s a long time to wait to see if your application has been successful, and the last thing you want is to have wasted time and money on an unsuccessful application. 

Government application costs going up

But how much money are we talking about? Using the Department’s fee calculator, we can see that if you are making an application for the Partner visa (subclass 820) and wish to include four dependent children, the total, non-refundable cost of the application will be at least AUD$2,285. Depending on your circumstances and the category your partner falls into, the charge could go as high as AUD$9,155.

That’s a big change from the system up to January 2013. Charges for the partner visa base application alone have gone up 30 per cent.

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork!

In addition to the paperwork requirements from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, you may have to arrange health assessments, get police certificates, statutory declarations, other certificates and tests.

For example, you may also need to gather evidence to prove, depending on your circumstances:

  • identity
  • length of relationship and relationship history
  • genuineness of relationship
  • divorce decree absolute from previous partner
  • death certificate of previous partner
  • ongoing financial history

What is sufficient proof of the matters of concern to the Department of Immigration? What is an acceptable document? It makes sense to consult an expert so you don’t fail to provide effective documents that may be the difference between Family Migration success or failure.

While the trend is towards the application process going completely electronic, you will still need to acquire, verify, scan and upload documents. And you need to be sure those documents are correct and effective. 

Combined Lawyer & Migration Agent, DIY Or Non-Lawyer Migration Agent?

You may be considering using a Non- Lawyer Migration Agent to help with your application, or preparing the application on your own. There are certainly many applicants who do this, perhaps thinking that they are saving themselves money. But given the current requirements and cost of the application itself, it’s a big gamble to take – and a heavy price to pay if make mistakes occur that a migration lawyer is more likely to pick up because of their professional training and experience. (For more about the difference between the combined Lawyer & Migration Agent and a Non-Lawyer Migration Agent click here).

Most of the documents you will need to provide for your Family Migration application must be legally certified documents or qualify as full and correct evidence that proves what you say is true. Someone with legal qualifications is best placed to ensure that the documents you submit to the Department are legally and formally correct.

If any of the documents you submit are not correct and verified, your application will fail and your application fee will not be refunded.

My friend told me …

There’s plenty of advice and stories online from people who have been through the immigration process – some of it helpful, some of it … unreliable. Remember that everybody’s circumstances are different and that what has worked for somebody else may not work for you. One size doesn’t fit all.

Don’t take that risk with your money and with your family’s future. Talk to Haag Walker immigration lawyers today  about how to get it right the first time; give yourself the best possible chance of success in your Family Migration application.


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