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There’s been a bit of a hiatus in the Australian visas BLOG articles from Down Under Visa for a few months, as many will have noticed. My generally-weekly article output has been quiet during the COVID-19 thing. I admit it’s been hard to know what to write about when everyone wants answers to when things will get back to normal, and I simply don’t have those answers. Ever the optimist, I thought this would all be over by now. 


Australian Visas from Philippines China Thailand Vietnam are still a possibility


Well, COVID-19 is still a reality. However life has gone on, and apart from needing masks and learning to to sterilise packages, life is fairly normal. And you just get used to it. We certainly have. And Australian visas are still being granted!


The future of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – Jeff’s View


Yes, my ever-optimistic view. Always believed we make our own destiny. If you think everything will go wrong, you’re probably right! It will. If you look for a bright side, good chance you will find it. Down Under Visa haven’t been closed for a single day, and business is still brisk. We’re amazed at how many people we’re still able to help and Australian visas are still being applied-for and are still being granted. Some no, but I would say most people can still get something positive that brings them closer together.


COVID-19 Vaccines


There are currently 27 vaccines being trialed at the moment. Take note:

Front-runner appears to be one from Oxford University, which they say may be available in September 2020:

And Philippines is in the queue to get the vaccine:

If they’re talking about September, OK maybe a few months work to get it out and about everywhere but it’s positive talk. 


Borders Closed – The travel ban


Not going to make predictions on when borders will open again, however once there’s effective vaccination available you can bet the various Governments of Australia and of Philippines will open things up again fairly fast. Why wouldn’t they?


“Back to normal” prediction? Do I dare?


I’ll tell you what my gut feeling is, however I will do so on the condition that no one emails me and tells me I’m wrong. Yes I know I may be wrong. So might you. Email me about something else, no problems. I just don’t want to answer 50+ emails on why I’m wrong. Thanks in advance!

My prediction? Before the end of the year!


Is anyone getting visas and travel to Australia lately? Who?


All Visas


Donald Trump has stopped all visa processing, I believe. Australia is NOT America! The Department is still alive and functioning, and tourist and partner visas ARE still being processed. Ignore the doomsday talkers and Facebook group trolls who will tell you otherwise. We lodge application and we receive grants. Check the front page of Down Under Visa and see the grants for this month. Still happening.


Tourist Visas


Engaged couples? No

Boyfriend/Girlfriend? No

Married? Yes!

De facto couples? Yes!

There’s a travel ban, but there are waivers available. We need to apply for them, and happy to say we’re getting mainly positive results. Just noticed about a 1/2 dozen came through this morning, so that’s a pile of happy people.

But if the visa applicant is not your SPOUSE, the answer is “not yet”!

Spouse = married OR de facto couples! 


Did you say “de facto couples”?


Why yes! Yes I did! 

By asking a few questions and by using our free “Are you in a de facto relationship?” questionnaire (HERE), we’ve found quite a few couples in de facto relationships who didn’t realise they were! 

So unless you know absolutely you are not, if you are in a long-term and committed relationship please do the assessment above and let’s find out, shall we? You might be in for a pleasant surprise!


Partner Visas



This means Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visas and Subclass 309 Offshore Partner Visas.

They tell me they are still being processed, and this comes from a trustworthy source. So I believe they are. They ARE definitely slow, that’s a fact. But they’re not being forgotten about, and not on-hold. If your visa application was sound when it went in, then you can have every confidence in a positive outcome.



Business as usual!

If you can be inside Australia with a tourist visa as discussed above, and if you have a prepared partner visa application we can lodge it. You will get a Bridging Visa A. You can remain in Australia.

Are you likely to get this tourist visa and be able to lodge that partner visa? Get an assessment and you will get an honest appraisal of your situation. As I said before, it’s amazed me how many of you have build some solid and committed relationships over the years and we’re building some pretty solid cases. That could be you!

Remember that an Onshore Partner Visa application means:

  • The applicant can remain in Australia on a bridging visa after the tourist visa grant runs out
  • They don’t need to leave Australia
  • They can work
  • They can study
  • They can get Medicare

So it’s a great option that’s well worth exploring!


Watch this space


I hope to see a few assessments getting done, both for visas and to check if you’re in a de facto relationship that the Department will recognise.

And I’ll see about getting some more regular articles out about what can be done and what can’t be done. 


Free online visa assessment form from Down Under Visa
COVID CONCERNS? Australian visas ARE still being granted. We can assess you (a) for an Australian visa AND (b) for a travel ban exemption. CLICK HERE and find out!


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! Read MORE


Onshore Partner Visas in COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Times
A new Australian Permanent Partner Visa Grant, despite COVID-19


  1. Marites Balbin Torres

    I wish to know and get some info about getting a tourist visa

    • Jeff Harvie

      Please go to the link for the assessment form at the end of this article.


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