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I hope that 2021 is going well for all of you, clients new, old and prospective. I hope that 2021 is going as well for you as it is for us, Down Under Visa business and Harvie family. Partner Visas and Tourist Visas are being granted, and plenty of Australian Filipina couples are signing up and feeling positive about the future. This feeling is shared by us absolutely. Here’s some Partner Visa news to keep you updated.


Down Under Visa News February 2021 Australian partner visas and online weddings and permanent partner visas


Partner Visas and Online Marriages


I’m sure most of you have read the January BLOG posts, especially and . 

The really exiting news is Online Weddings, which is making it possible for many stagnated applications (and stagnated relationships!) to get going again. 


Online Weddings in a nutshell


The state of Utah in the US has made online weddings legal, and that also means legal for non-US citizens and residents. Neither party needs to be in the US to do this legally. Bride can be in Philippines and groom can be in his lounge room in Australia. No problems. And this is a normal, legal marriage with a standard Utah marriage certificate. Not a “virtual marriage” with a whacky certificate! No different to if you had turned up at the Government Office there with your bouquet!

And Australia recognises overseas marriages! Check the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages website ( with what it says:


Recognition of overseas marriages


While a marriage that takes place overseas can’t be registered in Australia, it will generally be recognised if:

  • It’s recognised under the law of the country where the marriage took place
  • Both parties are at least 18 years of age
  • Neither party is married to another person at the time of marriage.
  • Recognised marriages include overseas same-sex marriages that occurred prior to December 2017.

If you married overseas, you need to:

  • Make sure your marriage is registered in that country
  • Have evidence of the marriage, including official, commemorative or keepsake documents you got at the time of the ceremony.


The Marriage Act (Cth) 1961 (with regard to recognition of overseas marriages) also includes no-no’s like marrying close relatives, both parties understanding the contract they’re undertaking, no coercion (ie shotgun wedding), etc. All fairly logical, and the Utah marriages have an online registration part where all of these things are covered.


How complicated is an online wedding?


We’ve had maybe a dozen of our clients undertake weddings this way since the January BLOGs. One couple kindly shared some photos (see online filipino weddings below). They all said it was:

  • Easy to organise
  • Surprisingly cheap
  • Quick to arrange

Further information you will find at which has links to the all-important Utah Government sites to organise licensing and the wedding itself. 


But please note: We (Down Under Visa) are NOT “wedding coordinators”. We can’t do it even if we want to, because this must be between the two of you and the officials in Utah. We’ve gathered information by emailing Utah and by discussions with a Family Law lawyer in Australia as to the legality. We’re not qualified to advise on the Marriage Act, and therefore we won’t. We’ve put our discoveries on the website above, as well as some FAQs. But if you have questions on the weddings and organising them, please refer to the site above and more importantly to the Utah sites. Email Utah with your questions. 

And we don’t get commissions or make anything from these weddings. We just want to make you aware of this is a viable option so you can marry before the travel bans are finally lifted. And I can see many still doing this in the future when they don’t have time to organise Philippines weddings. Why not? As for us, we just want to help you with your Australian visa applications.


Permanent Partner Visa Finalising


Note that I didn’t say “Permanent Partner Visa Applications”! 

When you lodge an Australian Partner Visa application, you either lodge an 820/801 application if onshore (ie inside Australia when we lodge) or a 309/100 application if offshore (ie OUTSIDE Australia when we lodge). The Subclass 100 or the Subclass 801 ARE permanent partner visa applications! We lodge them at the same time. Same day. Same application.

When you lodge a partner visa, you (a) tell them how you have a genuine and committed relationship, and (b) imply that this will continue well into the future. Well, they want to see that you in fact did just that! They check with you two years after the 820/801 or 309/100 application was lodged to see if you did what you said you would do.

So that means the partner visa application needs to be be finalised, and if they are happy with what they see they will issue you with the PERMANENT visa. The 801 or the 100. Up until then you’ve been on a temporary partner visa. Yes, a pretty good temporary visa! You got to work or study, get Medicare, and more importantly get to continue living in Australia. You could travel back and forth as often as you wanted. 

But the permanent stage is still an important and essential step. It remains for the rest of your life, unless you take Citizenship By Conferral when you’ve been in Australia long enough (which of course you should!).


Do you need help with this?


I used to think no, but then:

  1. the Department stopped notifying our clients when they needed to do it*, and
  2. I saw some scary statistics that said 15% of 820 or 309 holders were refused at this point!

*NOTE they DO sometimes still notify, but mostly they don’t.


Since we started helping with this stage in 2017, we find a surprising number of clients may still BE TOGETHER, but lack evidence of leading a shared-life. It surprises me, I will say. When Mila and I were at that stage years ago, we had a mountain of evidence without even looking very hard. But that was us, and not everyone does things the way the Department wants it to be. 


We’re here to help with your Permanent Partner Visa. We help you:

  1. to put the application together and lodge it, and
  2. are available in the preparation stage to advise and guide you how to put things in place in your lives so you can present a squeaky-clean and detailed stay of relationship evidence!


So please email us or use the Contact Page when it’s getting close to 2 years since your 820/801 or 309/100 application was lodged! Even 6 months beforehand is a good idea, because it gives plenty of time to ensure you have everything properly in place.


Disclaimer: Neither Down Under Visa or any of it’s staff are marriage coordinators or advisers on marriages and weddings, whether in Australia, Philippines or in Utah USA. We have no business arrangements with the Utah Government, nor do we receive any commissions or gratuities. This is purely an information page to allow site visitors to make their own decisions as to whether they wish to take this path.

Down Under Visa also give no guarantees that visa applications based on marriages performed online in Utah (or Australia or Philippines or anywhere else) will result in granted visas. The decision to grant an Australian visa rests by law with the representatives of the Minister and not with us. We guarantee only to do the best job we can to prepare and manage your visa application.


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! Down Under Visa specialises in visas for Australians in relationships with ladies and gents from Philippines, Thailand, China and Vietnam. Read MORE
Tony discusses Down Under Visa - A testimonial about Partner Visas
Online Weddings for Australian Filipino Couples and Partner Visa Applications

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