Onshore Partner Visa from Philippines to Australia – What can go wrong?


Onshore Partner Visa – Why?

Years ago we hardly ever saw an Onshore Partner Visa (also known as “Spouse Visa”). Years ago Tourist Visas from Philippines almost always came with Condition 8503’s preventing them from applying for practically anything onshore. So if you wanted to bring your Filipina lady…..wife or fiancee…..to Australia? You looked at offshore visas only. Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visas (aka fiancee visas) or Subclass 309 Partner Visas (spouse visas) for those who were already married.  


Onshore partner visas from Philippines all come with a deadline, which is when the tourist visa expires  

Now? I can’t speak for other applications, but we haven’t seen an 8503 for quite a few years now. And probably about half of the spouse visa applications we see are onshore applications. Tourist visas now don’t necessarily need to end with Filipina girl on a return flight to Manila. It’s possible for her to marry, apply for an onshore partner visa and get to stick around on a bridging visa. And again, about half the clients who want partner visas are doing it this way. Why an Onshore Partner Visa? So the couple can be together in Australia earlier. Arrive on a tourist visa which takes a few weeks to be granted, and go straight from that to the Bridging Visa A which is issued automatically once the (ONSHORE ONLY!!) Partner Visa application is lodged and the tourist visa runs out.  


Onshore Partner Visa – Good or Bad?

OK, it’s a leading title! Obviously onshore spouse visas are good, because they let you and other Australian Filipina couples get together and get to stay together. But they can have a bad side if treated without a great sense of responsibility and of urgency! The more responsibly they’re treated from the start, the less urgency……the less stress…..and the less that can go horribly wrong!  


Why is this so?

Because they come with a deadline! The tourist visa will run out! And the partner visa must be lodged before that happens, or your poor little lady will find herself unlawfully inside Australia. What the Americans call an illegal alien! And you cannot let that happen. Apart from the risk of overstaying, there’s the risk of the lousy partner visa application being lodged because you never managed to get everything that we needed! “Surely not!”, I hear you say. “How could an enthusiastic Down Under Visa client not organise an onshore partner visa within three months?” Could such a thing happen? Ahhhhhhh, yeah! Far too frequently. As Jeremy said to a client earlier today, this is why we at DUV are ageing at twice the normal rate! We’ve just had a hard few weeks. Clients who left everything to the last minute. Did we lose any? No! Did we lose any sanity, and gain a few more wrinkles? Oh, yeah! And honestly there could have been some tragedies! And are the applications all as good as they could have been? Close, but honestly? No!  


Partner Visas Onshore application – Key to Success

Success! You need to want this! This is your future happiness and the rock you’ll build the rest of your life on. It’s something you need to take very seriously, and not something for the last minute! Be prepared for some work, and especially for some changes and challenges.  


Changes and Challenges?

Yes, changes and challenges. You will have to make some major changes, because whether you’re married or leading a de facto relationship they will be pretty dubious about your genuine spousal relationship if you onshore partner visa application shows you have nothing in place that ties the two of you together or shows a shared-life and a shared-future. Now, this is a BLOG article and not a “list of requirements”. If you’re not already our client, sign up and we will tell you all you need to know and we will guide you through. This is why you get little satisfaction in emailing me (or any other professional Migration Agent) and asking What are my requirements? You don’t email a restaurant and ask for recipes either! The secret is to start in plenty of time, and take what we tell you very seriously! Saying “Oh, we can’t get that because…….” or “How can we do that when she’s not even working and earning?” or “Surely [insert excuse here] is enough?” We give you no useless tasks, and it’s not a 50% pass mark.  

And strongly suggest that you avoid the word “impossible” like the plague! We promised we would give you expert guidance to the most minor degree, all with the objective of getting you through every hurdle and down to the finish line where you get your Aussie Partner Visa. Tough cases? We just work harder! There is an immense sense of satisfaction for us when we see a challenging (NOT “impossible”!) case through to the end, and we normally do this unless the client tosses in the towel and gives up too soon. Yes, we promised you our expertise! Did we promise to make this easy? Not that I recall! This is hard slog! Lots of work, and plenty of challenges. If you’re struck by a challenge? DON’T say “This is impossible!” and get annoyed. Work with us! The alternative is to give up and spend the rest of your life staring at the walls of your sad and empty bedroom! Knuckle down and work with us, and see how hard we will work for you!


They want to see evidence of:

  • The social aspect of your relationship, ie you being seen as a committed couple by those around you and whether you act as a couple.
  • The nature of your household, and that you act as a normal couple leading a shared life with shared commitments and responsibilities.
  • The financial aspect of your relationship, and how you think and act as a couple leading a shared life rather than a couple of single people who don’t entirely trust each other.
  • And the nature of your commitment to each other, and whether you need each other and care about each other and see your future together.


Everything we ask of you is for just that. It’s to show the Department staff that you have a genuine relationship and are deserving of a visa! It’s not “nonsense” or the vulgar equivalent. It’s not “too much”. It’s not “impossible”. We do know what we’re doing, and we’ve been doing this for a long time and we ask nothing of you that hasn’t been done many times before. Start early, be accurate and thorough, and be prepared to make some changes and to challenge your existing views on what you think you need to do, ie be prepared to listen and to be guided. We have a great formula and most importantly it works!   


Free online visa assessment form from Down Under Visa


Jeff Harvie is a Registered Migration Agent from Australia, but resident in Philippines since 2010 with his Filipina wife Mila and large extended family. Experienced with the Philippines culture, cross-cultural relationships and bureaucracy as well as Australian visas and Australian Migration Law, he writes with authority and fortunately with enough informality and humour that the average Aussie gets it!
Australian Visa Processing Time - and the Big Dusty Pile
February Mini-Philippines-To-Australia Topics