So you’ve lodged a Partner visa application, now what?


These days, there’s a long waiting time for a decision to be made on an onshore partner visa application. The Department’s stated processing time is currently 19-22 months. This may be shorter for decision-ready applications. For this reason, we always recommend submitting all documents as soon as possible.

Generally, you will be on a bridging visa A (BVA) once your current visa expires. Whilst a BVA allows you to remain in Australia, apply for Medicare, allows you to work and study, it  doesn’t allow you to travel internationally. You will need to apply for a bridging visa B (BVB) if you’re wanting to go overseas.

Things can get really tricky for Subclass 457 visa holders. In many cases, the 457 visa doesn’t expire for some time. For these applicants, you will need to continue working for your sponsoring employer at least until either the 457 visa expires and the BVA consequently kicks in, or the Partner visa is granted. Should you stop working for your sponsoring employer for more than 60 days before finding another job in the same occupation, your 457 visa will be at risk of being cancelled. If your current visa is cancelled for any reason, then the BVA will not be activated. In this case, you will become an unlawful non-citizen. You will not be eligible to apply for any bridging visa other than a bridging visa E, which you will need to lodge an application for.

Once you’ve lodged your Partner visa application, you can begin attaching all your documents. A checklist of required documents is on the Department’s website, and you can see our blog for examples of what’s required.

A lot can happen in 19 to 22 months, so we recommend continually updating the Department with fresh evidence of your continued relationship as it becomes available. In that time, you might have moved house, gone on vacation together, had a baby, become pregnant etc etc. This is all good evidence of your relationship continuing, so it’s important to provide evidence of it. Also, a Form 929 should be used to update the Department if there have been any changes in passport details, address or other contact details.

We generally advise to delay applying for police clearances and medicals. These documents only remain viable for 12 months. To avoid having them expire before a case officer looks at your application, we like to organise them at about 6-8 months after visa lodgement.

Police clearances will need to be provided for any country that you have lived in for an accumulated amount of 12 months or more in the past 10 years. We recommend going to the Department’s website for country specific information on how to apply. Keep in mind that the processing time and fees vary between countries. Also, the application process can vary significantly. Some can be obtained instantly online, while others need to be applied for in person. Some countries such as Zambia, require fingerprints to be provided. Some countries require Federal police clearances to be provided, as well as for every State you have resided in for 12 or more months in the past 10 years. This is the case for the United States of America and Brazil, for example.

If you haven’t been in a committed relationship with your partner for at least 12 months, you will need to register your relationship in your state. Different states have different qualifying requirements. More details are available in our blog on relationship statements.

It would be a pleasure to assist you with your application. Should you have any queries about Partner visas or any Australian migration matter, please contact Swift Migration Australia on (07) 5526 6869 or email