Partner Visas – Onshore or Offshore?
December 1, 2016
PARTNER VISAS – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ONSHORE AND OFFSHORE?
So you’ve fallen in love, and you want to spend the rest of your life in Australia with your partner? Maybe fairy tales do exist! But to make sure the fairy tale continues (and remains painless), we need to talk about partner visas. Not so romantic.
When it comes to partner visas, there’s a few options, and it can be tricky to know which one is best for you. Here’s a breakdown of onshore and offshore partner visas.
ONSHORE PARTNER VISAS
The onshore partner visa is a two stage process. You have to apply when you’re already in Australia (or onshore).
The first stage involves the granting of a temporary visa which allows you to live with your partner in Australia for two years. The second stage is a permanent visa, which allows you to stay with your partner in Australia permanently.
An onshore partner visa not only requires you to be in Australia when you lodge the application, but also in Australia when the decision is made.
If you already have a visa when you apply for your onshore partner visa, you will be granted a bridging visa to allow you to stay in Australia until your onshore partner visa is approved.
OFFSHORE PARTNER VISAS
An offshore partner visa is a bit different to an onshore partner visa. Yep, you guessed it. This visa means that you apply for the visa while you’re offshore, in another country.
Once the visa is granted, you are able to come to Australia.
This visa is also a two stage process. The first stage provides you with a temporary visa, allowing you to live with your partner in Australia. The second stage is a permanent visa.
An offshore partner visa requires that you are overseas when the application is made. You must also be overseas when the decision is made.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TEMPORARY AND PERMANENT VISAS
You can apply for both stages (the temporary and permanent visas) at the same time.
A temporary partner visa will still allow you to travel in and out of Australia while you await a decision on your permanent partner visa. A temporary visa also allows you to enrol in medical benefits, and work and study in Australia.
HOW TO ENSURE YOUR APPLICATION IS APPROVED
Partner visas can be refused for a number of reasons. To ensure your application is processed quickly and approved, here are a few questions to ask during the process:
- Will the Department view my relationship as genuine?
The main reason that partner visas are refused is because the relationship is not deemed genuine. Do you have photos together? A joint bank account? Text messages and phone calls? Have you travelled together? These are all things that make your relationship appear true and genuine.
- Have I responded to all requests from the embassy or immigration officer?
If the embassy or immigration officer contacts you about additional documentation or information, you must provide it to them. Failure to do so will mean your visa will be refused.
- Did I satisfy the interview process?
During your interview, you will be asked questions about your partner and relationship. If you don’t answer these questions well enough, your application may be refused.
- Are all of my documents genuine and current?
All documents you provide are verified and checked by the Department. For this reason, it’s crucial that all documents you provide are true and accurate. If they’re not, your visa will be refused.
- Will I meet the health and character requirements?
You must undergo medical examinations and x-rays, as well as passing character requirements. It is particularly important to consider the character requirements and anything which may make it hard for you to satisfy them. Do you have a criminal record? Have you been associated with people suspected of being involved in crime?
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE IN COST BETWEEN AN ONSHORE AND OFFSHORE PARTNER VISA?
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection fee for an onshore partner visa is $6,865.00.
For an offshore partner visa, the fee is $4,627.50.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW?
All partner visas require a sponsor. The sponsor is responsible for any financial obligations, accommodation and living needs of the partner.
You will also be required to undergo a health examination and satisfy the character requirements set out by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
HOW DO I APPLY?
It’s important that your application for a partner visa is carefully prepared and submitted. We can handle the process for you, and make sure you have the best chance of getting approved for your visa as quickly as possible. Contact us today to get started (and ensure your ♥ lasts forever).
PocketLegal is available to assist with all aspects of the Australian immigration process from beginning to end. If you need help with visa applications, sponsoring staff members, AAT Appeals, Federal Circuit Court hearings, or any other migration related issue then contact our friendly team via the form on this page or by calling 1300 921 114.