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A valid visa application? Is the visa application valid? I’m guessing that anybody who has lodged a visa application, or is preparing a visa application, and reads this will respond with “Yes, of course it’s valid! What do you think of me?”

a valid australian visa application may still be refused

A “valid visa application” is visa-language for an application that the Department will accept, and not simply reject outright! That’s all. It does NOT mean it’s complete and they are happy with the contents of it! And contrary to what you probably expect, the standards for an application being “valid” are generally fairly simple. Typical requirements are:

  • Applied-for with the correct forms
  • Applied-for in the right place, ie. if it’s an onshore application the applicant is onshore at the time
  • Accompanied by the correct visa application charge (the Government fee)

That’s generally about-it for most visa applications!

Why? Because they don’t assess the visa application and check everything the moment the forms arrive in the office (or arrive electronically via the immi account system). They take their time with that, and need to check all the documents and other evidence before they decide if the visa application should be granted or refused. The more detailed and complex permanent visa applications like partner visa applications, these will still take them many months to analyse properly and make a decision on.


The fact that they have accepted the visa application and sent you an acknowledgment letter stating that it’s a valid application? This does NOT mean the visa application is going to be granted! And even if they issue the applicant with a Bridging Visa A saying that they may remain in Australia during the processing of the visa…..and possibly granting work rights, study rights, etc….this actually doesn’t mean much. It just means that you got the first part right!


A valid visa application, but still a poor application. Possible? Yes!

At Down Under Visa we are often blunt when dealing with clients with the tough truths. We would be doing you a disservice if we did anything less, because the truth is often what you don’t want to hear. Yet if you pay us to manage your visa application as Registered Migration Agents, we are duty-bound to tell you the truth. No sweet words and no BS from Jeff Harvie!

We’ve had occasions…..LOTS of occasions…..where we’ve told someone the truth, and they haven’t liked what they’ve heard. This particularly applies when they present us with documents containing serious errors that call into question the identity of the applicant, or are just plain bogus. Submit these, and you will face refusal. Try to fix these with bandaid solutions, and you will also face visa refusal. So we tell clients to fix these things up, and to have them corrected legally and in an above-board fashion.

There is often fairly dreadful interference in the visa application process. Helpful-friends, wise-relatives, knows-enough-to-be-dangerous persons on a web forum, Philippines attorney who doesn’t know Australian law, or inexperienced and/or inept migration agent (yes, sadly they do exist) tells them that they can do it the easy way.

So they lodge the application with the wrong information or the serious error. They lodge it with the correct forms, in the right place, and they pay the fees. They get an acknowledgment…..maybe even a bridging visa if it’s lodged inside Australia….and they think “No problems after all!”


Recent cases of valid visa applications with pending problems

  • Clients were not a de facto couple according to what Australian migration law requires, ie they actually never lived together at all, yet felt because they had a relationship for several years that surely they in fact were because they FELT like they were. The application is lodged…..definitely “valid”….and they are waiting for the result. I sadly know what the results will be. If they had dealt with Down Under Visa from the start? It would never have happened, because we would have TOLD them!
  • Clients were preparing a partner visa application with us. Had a birth certificate for the daughter stating that they parents (previous de facto relationship) were married, when in fact they were not. Lodged a “valid application” with another migration agent who didn’t see this. Application refused for lodging a bogus document.
  • Another client with child with two birth certificates in the National Statistics Office (NSO), both certificates with different details (ie. someone tried to cover up a mistake!) Everyone they speak to tells them they can just lodge an affidavit with the application and all will be fine. We tell them to get it corrected legally or they will have some explaining to do. They lodge an application inside Australia, it’s acknowledged, and the applicant is now on a Bridging Visa A. It might even be 6 months before the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) ask them to explain the discrepancy. Only a matter of time. NB See below. Less time for a refusal in 2017.

So please make sure you get the entire visa application right. Lodging a valid visa application is fairly easy, and will get you past the first hurdle. NB. As of November 2017, no longer the case for partner visas lodged onshore. Visa applications must be decision-ready, and “naked” applications will face a speedy refusal with no warnings. But only a detailed and absolutely correct visa application will be finally granted and will see you with a visa in your hot little hands. Rely on expert advice, and avoid short-cuts at all costs!

NB. This is a 2017 update of a June 2016 post

No more bare-bones partner visa applications
Dramatic changes about false statements and documents


  1. Rob Cruse

    Deal with the best and forget the rest. Hello to the greatest team ever at downunder visa co.

  2. Mike Trotter

    You would be wasting your money (and time) if you deal with any other “easy” Migration Agents.
    Down Under will ensure you receive correct details to set up and process your application.
    While they may charge a little bit more than other agents, it is worth it to receive the correct advises and a better chance of a successful outcome.
    Jeff and his Company can always be trusted.


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