Question of the Week

What is the most effective way to apply for a Partner Visa during COVID restrictions?

Category: Partner Visa

Question asked


We're reaching out for information on the partner visa application process during COVID restrictions. I'm an Australian citizen and my partner is British and is moving to Australia. We were planning to start the partner visa (subclass 820) once we arrived in Australia but with the current restrictions we're struggling to get the COVID travel approval from the government for him to enter the country (he has a tourist visa (eVisitor subclass 651, Expiry: 3 December, 2020).

We're seeking your advice on the best/most effective way to make this permanent move right now and to understand if this partner visa is still be processed as usual or if there are changes to that process given COVID.

Background: We are in a long term committed relationship and currently living together in the UK. We have the required evidence to prove a de facto relationship including rental agreement, bank statements, travel evidence, wedding invites, photos, and a de facto certificate from the Australian Government.

Please let us know if there's any further information you need.

J. and O.

Answer provided by Migration Agent

Hi J. and O.,

Thanks for your message. Hope you are both doing well.

Regarding the partner visa process, both onshore (820/801) and offshore (309/100), applications are still being processed.
Offshore partner visas are being processed slower than before; however, they are still being assessed and finalised.

Regarding the onshore option, the 820 partner visa, it is also being processed as before although some applications may take a bit longer.
The delays onshore are mostly due to staff shortages due to work from home arrangements and/or reduced work hours. Overseas, most Embassies are operating with just skeleton staff for very urgent matters.

In any case, they are still being processed.
If you are in a genuine and ongoing relationship, and have substantial evidence of this, there is no reason why your application should be assessed differently. In terms of the processing time for an onshore application, it is usually 14-18 months (despite what is advised on the Department’s website).

The issue at the moment is bringing you here so that you can lodge the application onshore and have access to the bridging visa to remain in Australia while you wait for the visa application to be finalised.
The rate of exemption refusals for similar cases to yours has been quite high. The Australian Government want to limit the number of people entering Australia. Not only to limit the chances of COVID-19 spreading, but mainly because quarantine is still mandatory and there is a limited number of places available in hotels.
However, there has also been a lot of pressure from the media and the public in general for this to change.

Therefore, important aspects to have into account that may help you:

1. You must submit substantial evidence of your relationship.
This means that you need to look at the exemption request as if you were lodging your partner visa application. You need to submit your personal IDs, your de facto registration certificate, your rental agreements, your bank statements, mail at the joint address, your photos, wedding invites, joint travel evidence, your relationship statements, your witnesses’ relationship statements, etc.
You must submit all documents you would provide in a partner visa application.

2. You then also need to explain your reasons to come to Australia and why you need/want to enter the country now. This is usually done in a cover letter.

3. Ideally, if available, you could also show how your skills and job prospects can be of benefit to Australia once you are here. If any of you has any skills in a critical area, that can help. Please see here what the Australian Government consider critical skills and sectors:

You do not need to have any of these, however if you do, it can help.

4. It is also good practice to show you have the required funds to pay for quarantine once you are in Australia, that you have organised yourselves for when you leave quarantine: where will you go? Do you have money to support yourselves? Do you already have jobs aligned? Will you be staying with family or friends? Etc.

5. Lastly, and very important, I am not sure how many times you have applied for the exemption with the substantial evidence detailed above. If it has been once or twice, I would strongly suggest applying again. It usually takes a few times.

If you have applied but have not submitted all evidence detailed above, then without a doubt you should try gain and submit all the evidence of the relationship you can.

The advice above is based on what I can tell you that may help, in face of the information you provided me with.

If you have any further questions and/or have applied several times with all the evidence I listed above, then please let me know. We may need to look into other options.

Have a lovely day.

Thank you for using Ask-An-Agent. If you need further services from myself you can always message me using the Ask-An-Agent messenger or chat. You can also reach me by contacting Amy at – and don’t forget to mention your question ID so that I can keep providing immigration services to you.

Kind regards,
Migration Agent

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