Tourist or Partner Visa Application from Philippines to Australia for couples


Tourist Visa or Partner Visas for couples – What does it take?


A Tourist Visa application for Australian Filipina couples, or a Partner Visa application for an Australian Filipina couple. What does it take from the couple to make the process go well?


Australian Filipina couple with unethusiastic visa applicant for an Australian visa application


Well, I guess I can’t think of a non-philosophical way of wording this, so I’ll say what comes to mind. The way a couple deal with a visa application together is probably a bit of a reflection on what their lives together as a couple will be. 

Yeah, a bold statement! But I do believe I’m right here. Let me explain what our extensive experience has delivered to us over the many thousands of couples that we’ve helped over the years. Many thousands! Couples who go through Partner Visas through to Citizenship. Those who bring their kids with them, or bring them later on Child Visas. Those whose kids who migrated later and come back to us years later to bring their own fiancees and spouses to Australia from Philippines. And the umpteen hundreds (maybe thousands by now) who have made babies together and now have complete families. So basically, we’ve seen it all!

And of course there are those who don’t make it. No reflection on them, don’t get me wrong. I had two failed relationships myself where I’m glad they never made it to Australia. Most of the time it’s nothing sinister. Just couples who simply weren’t meant to be. And other times someone ends up with a really horrible person, although from observation once again it’s not that common. Not like the “current affair” shoddy journalists would want you to believe. 


Great couples – Great visa applications


Let’s start with the positive! And honestly, this is most of you! Most of our couples are a series of great teams. Best friends….great partners….and with an equal commitment to being together. And that’s really my point. If you’re committed to being together, you both put every effort you have into making the application into something that reflects your relationship. You’ve kept important things. You’ve done all the committed-couple things, so coming up with evidence of that commitment isn’t hard. It wasn’t for me and Mila either. I had even painted her name on the letterbox at home next to mine! 

Yes, what can I really say? These are the couples who don’t need to be pushed or dragged kicking and screaming through the process. These are the ones who want to be certain that they’re doing everything right. He works hard. She works hard. And the final application ticks every box.


The really unenthusiastic visa applicant


First Australian Filipina relationship I had was back in the 1990’s. I know in hindsight that she was being pushed into it by her family. Catching a wealthy white man was the answer to all the family’s financial problems (so they thought), and 20 year old daughter was encouraged to be nice to the Australian man who wrote her a letter. While we were preparing things, she got a monthly allowance from me by Western Union. Trade-off was that she had to put up with me visiting, which in hindsight she only just tolerated. Was I an idiot? Probably. But loneliness brings out the worst in people, as many can relate. 

Well, this was back in the days that visa applications meant lining up outside the old Australian Embassy with forms and paperwork and to be prepared to be interviewed on the spot. When a partner visa applicant turns up without any evidence whatsoever, demands a translator because she couldn’t understand English, and says things like “He understands my poor family”, then you get the impression she’s not much of a team player! Right? Likes the allowance. Doesn’t want to come to Australia at all! Yes, that was my story!

And again, what sort of life would Jeff and Filipina-From-Hell have had together? Would this be the price above rubies devoted wife and life-partner I had hoped for? I think not! Lucky escape!


Difficult Clients (definitely no names mentioned)


I’ve had clients say to me “I don’t want to end up in one of your BLOG articles”! You won’t! We’re remarkably discrete, as you would expect. However I can always tell anecdotes with no personal information to protect the innocent (AND the guilty!) in order to make the visa process clearer to you all.



I had written a few articles in the past. One about “The Princess and the Worker”, which compared your hard-working Filipina lady who would do whatever it takes to help her husband and kids, versus the precious one who thought the world owed her a comfortable existence. 

The other was about the “Father/Daughter Syndrome”, where especially older Australian sponsors thought their little Filipina ladies were made of egg-shells and they had to do everything. And some of these girls would really play up to that too. Tears would flow like rain! Then Mila would call them and discover that she was perfectly fine! Sometimes these were ladies who had organised themselves to work as OFWs before in the Middle East, which takes a high degree of toughness. Then a doting Aussie man comes along and she can’t even organise a birth certificate without him holding her hand.

Not being mean here. Yes, I know that older ladies and some of the less-worldly younger ladies can find the process overwhelming, but many are just pushing your buttons! The Philippines is a nation of tough and capable ladies. It’s not full of bowing submissive “Asian” ladies who let the men make all the tough decisions. Not many raging feminists here because they don’t need to be! They just get on with it, and they get the job done. And 99%+ of Filipina ladies are perfectly capable of understanding what is required of them, as long as they’re not getting advised by their Aunties to do something different.


The Rare (and Horrible) Gold Digger

Yes, rare I’m happy to say. But they exist as much as awful Australian sponsors exist. The womanisers, drunks and lazy men exist in Australia, and the women who just want to raid your wallet and live the easy life in the Philippines certainly exist too. If you have to drag her through process of preparing an Australian visa application from Philippines then maybe she isn’t the soulmate you took her for? 

I remember one girl years ago. This was back in the days when we needed applicants to get a notarised copy of their passport ID page, which meant finding an attorney. Every block in any town in the Philippines has an attorney or two. They’re like rabbits here! It took a full year for this girl to locate one… a major city! Not up a mountain somewhere. A major city! I asked him if she had the same difficulty in finding the shop that sold iPhones when he said he would buy her one. No, didn’t seem to have been a problem for her. Funny that!


Do you persist?

I know! Difficult question. Yes, maybe she’s not very good at this, as are many Australian men also not very good at this. Not everyone is a great administrator, and many people are very busy. This could be the case with your lady. Don’t underestimate how busy a household helper can be, or how demanding relatives can be when the girl is a soft touch.

But if she’s lazy or doesn’t appear to care very much about the visa application, I think that in your heart-of-hearts you will know this. Successful relationships take two dedicated people working together for the same thing and particularly for each other. This visa application is just a small part of your lives together, and not an isolated event at all. You can’t do 80% of the visa application or 80% of any other aspect of your relationship. Doing too much doesn’t help anything in the long run, nor does expecting very little.


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!


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