Timing the lodgement of a partner visa application.


When is the best time to lodge?

This is a question that I often discuss in my first meeting with clients.

Generally, couples want to lodge their partner visa application as soon as possible.  That’s understandable – it’s a very long processing queue that the application will join. Couples want to get their application into that queue sooner rather than later.

However, I recommend that getting the partner visa application lodged quickly should not be the primary consideration.

The primary consideration, in my mind, should always be when to lodge the application to maximise the application’s prospects for success? 

Generally, the longer a couple wait and the longer they are together before lodging a partner visa application, the stronger the application will be.

Offshore Applicants

If the visa applicant is lodging the visa application from outside Australia (sublclass 309/100), waiting to strengthen the application before lodging it – whilst that can be frustrating – is usually relatively straightforward.

Onshore Applicants

If the visa applicant intends to lodge the partner visa application from inside Australia (subclass 820/801), the situation can be a bit more complex.

When lodging the partner visa application from inside Australia the visa applicant must hold a valid visa (for example, a tourist, student or temporary work visa) at the time they lodge the partner visa application (there are some complicated exceptions to this – that are best avoided).

If a person has, for example, a temporary work visa that expires in 12 months’ time, they could potentially lodge the partner visa application in Australia at any time in the next 12 months.

When the partner visa application is lodged the visa applicant will be granted a Bridging Visa A (BVA) that has unlimited work rights – excellent!

However, whilst the BVA is granted at the date of application for the partner visa, the BVA remains inactive until the applicant’s current temporary visa expires.  Then, and only then, the BVA automatically activates.

So, lodging a partner visa application early doesn’t mean that the applicant will get the benefits of the BVA (the unrestricted work rights) earlier.

Irrespective of whether the applicant lodges the partner visa whilst they have 12 month’s validity left on their temporary visa, or, 3 months’ validity left – the BVA won’t commence until the temporary visa expires.


However, don’t leave applying too late

Occasionally, people have been known to leave it until a day or so before their current temporary visa expires to lodge their partner visa application in Australia.

Often this is because they may be in a relatively new relationship and they want to maximise their time together, and the amount of relationship evidence they have, before applying for the partner visa.

It’s usually a good idea to wait a bit and maximise the evidence, but a bad idea to wait until the last minute to apply.

Things can, and sometimes do, go wrong when lodging an application.  Immigration’s online visa application software can have problems, credit cards can be declined because it is too large a transaction, etc. etc.

The upshot of these types of problems can be that a temporary visa holder’s visa can expire before the partner visa application can be lodged – that creates a problem that is best avoided.

So, delaying lodging a partner visa application to build up evidence and time together can be very useful in strengthening an application that is not yet as strong as it could be.

But, just don’t run the risk of leaving it to the last minute.


Feel free to contact me to arrange a consultation if you would like to discuss this in more detail.

Regards. Ross McDougall. Solicitor & Registered Migration Agent.


Tel: 08 8528 9187

This information is correct at May 27th, 2020.  But, keep in mind that immigration law changes from time to time.

Information (or the lack of it) contained here does not take into account anyone’s individual circumstances and should not be relied upon as immigration assistance or legal advice.

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