Australian Spouse Visas – 12 Costly Misconceptions to Avoid

This article describes the evidence required for making a successful Australian spouse visa application as well as several other useful tips and hints on how to select the best professional adviser.

1. SPOUSE VISAS ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO OBTAIN UNLESS YOU HAVE A JOINT BANK ACCOUNT OR LEASE

Not true as many couples do not have these important documents but still succeed. We can show you how to compensate with other even better evidentiary documents from yourselves, friends and family.

Evidence covers many categories above and beyond just your finances and includes the history of your relationship, the opinions of others about your relationship, proof of your travels together, your own personal statements about the depth and commitment of your relationship and many other relevant fields.

2. SPOUSE VISA APPLICATIONS ARE EASY -“MY FRIEND DID IT HIM/HERSELF”

That may be true for your friend but, if your friend was jumping off a high cliff and over rocks into the ocean, would you jump too? None of us do everything our friends do – we need to make our own choices, especially in matters as important as love and migration where the risks are so high.

3. I AM AUSTRALIAN AND I HAVE A RIGHT TO HAVE MY SPOUSE LIVE IN AUSTRALIA SO THEY WILL JUST GIVE THEM THE VISA

No! Spouse visas are only granted when you can also prove the relationship is genuine; being an Australian guarantees nothing on a spouse visa application. If it were otherwise anyone could just move in with or marry an Australian and obtain a visa.

4. SPOUSE VISAS ARE QUICKER IF YOU APPLY ON YOUR OWN

Also not true; doing it on your own can take 4 -6 months or more, sometimes even over a year until approval. One client was waiting six months to just to get a government case officer before we intervened. We have had some of our client’s spouse applications approved in 1 day and aim for a quick approval of 2 -4 weeks in all cases. We get faster approvals because we prepare the whole case better.

5. I CAN GET A SPOUSE VISA EVEN IF MY LAST VISA APPLICATION WAS REFUSED

Previous visa refusals almost always make subsequent applications harder as more evidence is required and you must prove good character for migration purposes and therefore sometimes apply overseas. Hence, it is better to make your first application succeed.

6. YOU DON’T NEED MUCH EVIDENCE TO GET A SPOUSE VISA

This is probably the biggest misconception of them all! No spouse case will ever be approved without substantial, credible and properly documented and organised evidence, preferably scrutinised by a lawyer (like the writer of this article) skilled in the art of vetting evidence for errors and or dangerous information which might otherwise prejudice your application

7. WE ARE MARRIED BUT WE NEED TO LIVE TOGETHER FOR A YEAR AS WELL BEFORE WE CAN APPLY FOR AN AUSTRALIAN SPOUSE VISA

Not correct. Australian law states that you must either be legally married OR live in genuine de-facto relationship (monogamous/to the exclusion of all others) for 12 months before applying for a spouse visa. You do not have to do both. Furthermore, even if you are not married, you can start preparation for your spouse visa application before your 12 months of de-facto time is finished and then lodge the application as soon as it is.

8. SPOUSE VISAS ARE ALWAYS APPROVED IF YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS GENUINE AND NOT FAKE

This is a popular misconception, as everyone would like to believe that the Immigration officers are all honest, competent and skilful at discerning which relationships are real and which are not. However, like you, they are human beings and can be prejudiced against certain types of relationships, racist and even just overworked and incapable of giving proper attention to your application. You need the protection of a lawyer to deal with your case as they know how to deal with these issues upfront before and or as the problem occurs.

9. MY SPOUSE AND I HAVE ENOUGH COMMON SENSE, WHY DO WE NEED A LAWYER?

Good question – you might also ask why you need a doctor when you are sick or a mechanic to fix your broken down car. There are many things that most of us can do on our own but some that are best left to the experts. Essentially, in this type of case, you need not just any lawyer but an experienced migration lawyer who has also had lots of spouse cases approved – since 2000 we have had nearly 100 consecutive spouse cases approved without one visa refusal.

10. THE IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT WILL UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN WE STARTED OUR RELATIONSHIP WE DID NOT KEEP ANY DOCUMENTS AS WE WEREN’T THINKING ABOUT THAT AT THE TIME

Yes to a certain degree that is true – who does start a romantic liaison by organising documents anyway? Answer; probably the fake relationships contrived for visas alone. However, that does not take away from the fact that you need to document the entire relationship in one way or another no matter how things got started. Once again, our skill and experience is to help you in that area.

11. WE DON’T WANT TO GET MARRIED JUST FOR A VISA AND, EVEN IF WE DID, THE IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT WILL THINK IT WAS FAKE, SO WHY SHOULD WE?

We agree, neither should you marry just for a visa. Almost everyone wants to get married at the right time and for the right reasons. We would never encourage anyone to do otherwise. However, the act of migration sometimes forces people to bring forward important life decisions they could otherwise have put off and this is certainly the case here. We will advise you on this important matter personally at one of our interviews and in light of all your circumstances. In all cases, we always advise you to tell the truth.

12. I CAN JUST USE ANY MIGRATION AGENT TO DO MY SPOUSE CASE WHETHER OR NOT THEY ARE EXPERIENCED

Definitely not! Until late 2007, all migration agents who were not lawyers (and that is most of them), could get their license by doing a short course over 2 weekends. They literally could have been driving a taxi or cleaning houses one week and a few weeks later be dispensing migration advice to all and sundry after doing this ridiculously short course. Fortunately, that law has now changed and at least non-migration agents must have a university degree now to be admitted to a migration agent course. However, like anything else, just doing a course does not qualify you for being excellent in the harsh realities of the market-place.

Here are some of the tough but necessary questions you should ask any migration agent or lawyer before you hand them the enormous responsibility of ensuring your Australian spouse visa case will succeed:

I. Are you a practising lawyer as well as a registered migration agent or just a migration agent? If you are not a lawyer, why not? How will you deal with legal issues on our case?
II. How long have you been practicing in the area of migration law?
III. How many spouse cases have you had approved? If less than 50, then why?
IV. Have you ever had a spouse case refused and, if so, why?
V. Can you give me any authentic written testimonials (with contact details so I can verify they are true) of any of your spouse case clients that you have had approved? If not, why not?
VI. What percentage of your spouse cases is approved? If less than 100%, then why?
VII. Have you ever done a spouse case the same as ours? What happened?
VIII. Will you take a percentage of your fee only when my case is approved? If not, why not?

Author: Justin Rickard




  • 21 Comments
    1. James 2 weeks ago

      Hi there,

      I am on 457 work visa which is expiring this year I got married in 2011 and my wife is here since 2013 in sydney, now I want to apply for a student visa what would happen if I do not include her in my application as I want to lodge my application independently. What kind of action she can take against me.

    2. jotika 1 month ago

      Hello I am a Fiji citizen husband is australain citizen I have got married in 2013 lodged partner visa june 2015 offshore due to 8503 I didn’t go Fiji but came india to lodge now case officer wants india police clearance I am on tourist visa in india and indian law doesn’t allow tourist to be registered and be given a police clearance what to do will my visa be rejected if I cant meet character requirement. pleasehelp

    3. Ke 2 months ago

      Hi my name is Ken and I’m an Australian citizen and my wife is a British citizen, we recently married overseas. Can I sponsor my wife who has a previous criminal conviction relating to fraud? She was convicted and sentenced to 14 months serving 3 months. She initially applied for An Eta in June 2015 to visit me and incorrectly ticket no on the question relating to previous criminal record. However realising her mistake she contacted Aus high commission in July and advised of her previous record. This went on for few months and her travel visa was refused on 21/4/16. Coincidently we registered our marriage on 25/4/16 overseas, We were introduced early last year by our families and continued our long distance relationship, through social media and FaceTime etc having met previously overseas in October. Can I still go ahead with a spouse application? What are the chances of approval? Her travel visa was rejected by a delegate of the minister. Many thanks

      • Profile photo of Mark Author
        Mark 2 months ago

        Hi Ken, firstly please be aware that i am not a migration agent so I’m not qualified to provide a formal answer. I’m happy to provide an opinion on the matter though and help where i can.

        In the first instance I would review the information posted by the Australian Immigration Department here:

        http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa/Char

        Specifically this document states:

        You will not pass the character test if:

        you have a substantial criminal record, meaning you have been sentenced to 12 months or more in prison, or multiple sentences that add up to more than 12 months in prison. A suspended sentence is considered a prison sentence.
        you have been convicted of escaping from immigration detention, or convicted for an offence that you committed:
        while you were in immigration detention
        during an escape from immigration detention
        after an escape, but before you were taken into immigration detention again.

        On the basis that your wife was sentenced to more than 12 months then I would suggest that she would not pass the assessment and therefore would not qualify for a spouse visa.

        If you are seriously considering going down this path. I would seek the assistance of a migration agent that specialises in this space.

        All the best and good luck!

        Mark

    4. Amanda McKee 3 months ago

      Hi, I’m an Australian citizen, and have been living in the US wth my american husband for the last 5 years. We would like to move back to Australia now that we have 2 small children. I have no idea how to go about this. Is it easier if we find him a job that will sponsor him beforehand and then go from there? I would love to have your details to contact you and your lawyers for advice.

    5. James Bergman 4 months ago

      I would personally never dare try to get a spousal visa on my own. Government is notorious for being a bureaucratic mess. In other words, there are a lot of hoops to jump through, and it is easy to get tripped up if you don’t know what kind of paperwork to file. It is always best to get expert help when dealing with things like visas.

    6. Michelle 4 months ago

      Hi, I have been in love with a man in Canada for nearly twenty years. We converse online though as I have not been able to afford to go there. He is on a disability pension and we would like to get married. Is there a possibility of him coming to live with me as my husband?
      What would we have to do?

    7. michelle 3 years ago

      I am an Australian citizen who married a punjabi sikh brisbane cab driver because I loved him. He used me to apply for a partner visa, raped and assaulted me, was turned down after 1 year by Aust immigration for pr, got my signature on a blank form and appealed to mrt. This was heard and closed 1 year after the original decision and thrown out. Then he applied for a protection visa pretending to be a refugee. We are a country of kind hearted people and punjabi sikhs laugh at our kindness and destroy our lives. Never marry a foreign national.

    8. Moss so 3 years ago

      I married with a paper marriage not material relations . But lease and bank accout together. My partner is australian.Can I apply for spouse visa.

      • Profile photo of Mark Author
        Mark 3 years ago

        Key thing is that your able to demonstrate that you married for love not for convenience / visa purposes mate

    9. kull 3 years ago

      I have married and I apply for partner visa but after one year have break up so what should I need to get a visa

    10. Jocelyn Cruz 3 years ago

      Hi Peng,
      I am in a de facto relationship for over 12 months and we have plans of getting married this year. If my partner’s 457 visa was lodged with that status and we got married the time it fell after the 457 visa was granted. Will I be nominated as partner/wife and apply for spouse visa? What do we have to do?

    11. lydia 3 years ago

      I did a partner visa (offshore australian) myself and it was granted in one month!

      • Wendy 3 years ago

        Hi Lydia,how did you do this?can you pls help me out. I am visiting the US and thinking of applying for my partner visa offshore.can that be done?

      • heny 8 months ago

        Lydia
        May i know the lawyer who have been help you with the partner visa application!

        Thank you

      • Amiza 5 months ago

        Hi Lydia, can you please send me your email address to ask.some.questions please?

        Thank you

    12. Sue Jamieson 4 years ago

      Please advise me of your services and all costs required.
      Im australian & have been in a spousal relationship with a BC Canadian for almost 12mths we are engaged & cant wait to be married & settle together in Australia , does it matter what country we get married in Australia or Canada. I’m currently in Canada for 3mth & we hope to be able to return to Australia together in October & need to get advise & legal advice on how to make this happen as uncomplicated as possible….please email me ..thanking you kindly for all the above info ..Sue

    13. stephanie wade 4 years ago

      Good evening.
      I contacted you earlier re: looking for an immigration lawyer.Please reply to this email address, as I misspelt the other one.
      Thank you

    14. stephanie wade 4 years ago

      Good evening,
      I am looking for a qualified migration lawyer. Where are you based? Please email me back.
      Thank you.

    15. Pratik 6 years ago

      It’s Very nice Article and almost describing all things for which applicants wanted to know!
      but my case is different than the scenarios mention here.
      i got my PR last year but i have not made migration yet. and mean time i got married.now i am living with my wife in saudi Arabia and planning to make migration in July.
      Can you pelase be kind to provide me info that am i eligible to apply for Spouse visa though i am not living in austrilia ?

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