In earlier articles in this series, we looked at the different pathways (subclass 309/100 or 300) that you can follow if you are applying from outside Australia. In some cases, your partner may already be in Australia which, unfortunately, may mean a long wait offshore for an outcome on your partner visa application.
Applicants can explore two options to limit their time away from their partner.
- Try and arrive or remain in Australia to lodge your visa onshore
- Lodge your visa offshore and visit periodically while application is processed.
Many applicants explore the possibility of obtaining a Visitor Visa to gain access to Australia with a view to lodging the partner visa application when they are on-shore and remain in Australia during processing.
While in some instances this can be successful, there are some issues you may encounter with this strategy.
- A Visitor Visa in the tourist stream is granted on the basis that you are a genuine temporary entrant. Ultimately the Tourist Visa shouldn’t be used for such things.
- A Visitor Visa can be often be granted with Condition 8503 which prohibits the applicant making a further visa application whilst in Australia.
Given your visa history will be examined quite closely during the Partner Visa process you need to be mindful about how you approach this and not lose sight of the long-term objective.
In some cases, the option to obtain a Visitor Visa whilst you are waiting the outcome of your Partner Visa can be more successful. As with any application there are no guarantees, however you have a fairly strong argument for being a Genuine Temporary Entrant. After all, why would anyone jeopardise a much more important partner visa application by not complying with their Visitor Visa conditions?
If you are already in Australia or have been able to arrive in Australia, you will be granted a appropriate Bridging Visa once you have lodged your application. Bridging Visas are designed to “bridge the gap” between your current visa expiry date and the date of decision on your Partner Visa application. This is particularly important as at the time of writing the processing time for a Partner Visa application is anywhere from 12-24 months.
There are many types of Bridging Visas, however if you have remained lawful previously you will be granted Bridging Visa A which has unlimited work rights in Australia. If you need to travel overseas whilst your visa is being processed, you will need to apply for a Bridging Visa B to cover the period when you are overseas.
If you are unsure about the best route for your circumstances get in touch with a Registered Migration agent to discuss further.