A Try-Before-You-Buy Visa to Australia – Does it exist?

If you thought that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection was a “Visa Shop”, you would be fairly disappointed in how limited and inflexible the options can be. You’ve gone into the “Visa Shop” and tried to find a visa that’s exactly what you want, which suits your wishes and plans, and they just don’t budge.


And we at Down Under Visa often have these back-and-forth emailing sessions with enquirers who have this in mind. Many probably think I’m being inflexible or unreasonable or that I’m just unwilling to help. Nothing could be further from the truth. I just tell you like it is, and I probably come across as blunt sometimes. Believe me when I say it’s better that way, as I want to stop you wasting your time chasing things that won’t happen.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Visas are “grants”, and not “rights”!

And the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in Australia, and its staff in the Australian Embassy in Manila are not running a “visa shop”. They are assessing visa applications to see whether they comply with Australian Law. That’s their job.

And my job as a Registered Migration Agent? It’s to manage your visa applications ensuring that they comply with Australian Migration Law so that the staff in the Embassy will hopefully grant the visa applications when they are lodged. And that means that if you have a wish and a plan for a visa application that won’t comply with Aussie Migration Law, then I can’t and won’t agree with you and waste your time and money. I will always tell you how it is. I don’t always agree with the Laws as they are, but neither I nor the Embassy can do anything about that.

Now, onto the topic!

IS there a visa for you to bring your girlfriend to Australia so you can live with her for a year or two and see if the two of you are compatible?

Simple answer? NO!

Prospective Marriage Visa

Can you get a Prospective Marriage Visa (aka fiancé visa, fiancée visa, prospective spouse visa or PMV) and use that initial 9 months of the visa grant to see how well you get on?

No, sorry but you can’t.

The PMV has written in its Regulations (Reg 300.211) that the “applicant intends to marry a person who is: an Australian citizen; or an Australian permanent resident; or an eligible New Zealand citizen”. If that intention is not there at the time of the application, the visa will be refused.

And if by chance you managed to sneak past them and pretend (not a good idea!), you will find yourselves on a 5 year restriction that prevents you from making another similar application.

So not a workable option!

If you’re not in a committed relationship and committed to marrying, then this is not the visa for you.

My advice to people who say “But I’m just not sure yet!” is to say “Sorry, but you need to wait until you ARE ready. Visit again. See us about getting a tourist visa for her to visit you. And have a good long think and a talk about it. Many times the couple come back and realise they are just having a dose of the cold-feet!

Is “cold feet” common? Oh, yeah!

Tourist Visa

Can you get a 1 or 2 year tourist visa so you can live together and see if this is what you want?

Again, no.

Tourist visas are for people visiting Australia to visit friends/family and to do tourist things and then going back at the end of their holiday. If they think you are intending to use the visa as a substitute partner visa, they will refuse it outright.

A 3 month visit where you can spend more time together and to help yourself to decide? Sure. Not a problem. But for a long stay? No, it won’t work.

We have an outstanding success rate, we don’t mind admitting. And that happens because we work within the system, and because we don’t take on cases which simply won’t work. And we won’t lie to you either simply to get your business. We have enough legitimate business to not need to do that. Hope we can help you one day soon.

Down Under Visa clients - Now Aussie Citizens
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