Why Would My Partner Visa Be Refused?

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August 28, 2022

How Hard Is It To Get A Partner Visa In Australia?

A partner visa allows the partner of an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australia. The first stage of a partner visa is the issuance of a temporary visa (Subclass 820) and if approved, it would lead to receiving a permanent visa (Subclass 801).  Navigating the partner visa application process from start to finish can be challenging and a high volume of applications are rejected every year. Statistics from 2016 show that 47% of partner visa applications that have not been reviewed by a migration agent were refused.


Reasons Why Your Partner Visa Was Refused

The concept of a partner visa may seem pretty simple – anybody in a relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident should be able to get one. Well, the reality is quite different and in order to have a partner visa approved, you will need to meet a number of specific criterias and provide sufficient evidence. These are some reasons that your partner visa may be refused:

Insufficient Evidence

The validity of your relationship is the foundation of your entire application and if the Department of Home Affairs is not satisfied with the evidence to prove that you are in a genuine committed relationship, your application will not be approved. It is not enough to simply include a few photos of you and your partner together. One of the biggest mistakes made when applying is failing to provide evidence to cover the following four main areas:

  • Shared finance evidence (e.g. joint bank accounts, loan documents)
  • Shared domestic matters evidence (e.g. mail and bills addressed to you both, a statement outlining how you share household duties)
  • Proof that others know about your relationship (e.g. joint invitations, proof of joint activities)
  • Proof that you are in a committed long-term relationship (e.g. in-depth knowledge of each other)


Inconsistent Application

Another mistake applicants make when applying for a partner visa is assuming that the Department of Home Affairs know their relationship is genuine and valid. Consistency in written statements, forms, evidence and interview answers is key, as it is used to judge whether your application is truthful. Any contradictory or inconsistent information could potentially result in your visa application being refused. Ensure that all dates mentioned in your statements, interviews and application forms are kept consistent. Some important dates that would be asked for evidence include:

  • When you and your partner met
  • When the relationship became official
  • Other relevant key dates (e.g. when you moved in together, went on trips together and attended important events)


Partner Visa Ineligibility

If you apply for a visa that you aren’t eligible for, your visa application will be automatically rejected.  These are some of the basic eligibility criteria for this visa, you must meet:

  • Be the spouse or de facto partner of an Australian citizen, eligible New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • Be committed to your partner exclusively 
  • Either live together or have clear plans to live together in the immediate future
  • Have a relationship that is valid under Australian law
  • Be over 18

You also might not be eligible for a partner visa if you have had a visa cancelled or refused while you were in Australia.

Character Test Failure

Even if your relationship meets all the eligibility criteria and you’ve provided high quality consistent evidence to support your application, you can still be rejected if you don’t pass the character test. Some of the reasons why you may fail the character test include:

  • You have a substantial criminal record
  • You have escaped from immigration detention or committed offences while in immigration detention
  • You are or have been a member of a criminal organisation
  • You are suspected of being involved in international crimes
  • You have a criminal record (e.g. domestic violence) and are considered a threat to the community

If you have any kind of criminal record, you will need to consider whether your crimes will be likely to fall into any of these categories before applying to avoid rejection.  


Failure To Meet Schedule 3 Criteria

Your application may be rejected if you apply in Australia as an unlawful non-citizen (if you do not hold a valid visa) or if you hold a bridging visa. However, your application may be accepted in these circumstances if you meet Schedule 3 criteria.


Schedule 3 makes it possible for applicants to be eligible to be granted a partner visa while they remain unlawfully in Australia.  In order to meet the criteria, you will need to ensure you apply for your partner visa within the specified time limit after you become unlawful and you must also prove that you have only become unlawful in Australia due to factors beyond your control.  The specific criteria outlined in Schedule 3 are complex, so if you’re applying for a partner visa onshore as an unlawful non-citizen, it’s definitely worth talking to a migration agent to ensure you meet Schedule 3. If you are applying offshore or in Australia while on a valid visa, you don’t need to worry about Schedule 3.


Post Interview Rejection

The purpose of an immigration interview is to assess the legitimacy and truthfulness of your application. If you provide answers that are inconsistent with your written application or the answers provided by your partner. The representative may consider your relationship ingenuine.


How To Prevent Partner Visa Refusal

Applying for any visa is a nerve-wracking process and the partner visa application process can be difficult to understand. In order to give yourself the best chance at having your application accepted on the first try, ensure you do the following:

  • Double-check your eligibility
  • Gather documentation to prove your relationship is genuine
  • Double-check that all dates and details outlined in your application are consistent 
  • Practice answering interview questions about your relationship and your partner


What To Do If My Partner Visa Is Rejected?

If your partner visa has been rejected, you will need to decide whether you’d like to apply again from scratch or appeal the decision with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). Either way, it’s best to seek the guidance of a migration agent at this point to ensure your application or appeal is not refused again. An experienced migration agent will be able to quickly identify the reason your visa has been refused and advise the best course of action. 

If you’re considering applying for a partner visa or appealing a rejection, contact AustraliaMigrate today to give yourself the best chance of success. The AustraliaMigrate team are experts in partner visa applications and appeals.


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