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Australian Partner Visa applications during COVID and Travel Bans? YES!


onshore partner visa during COVID-19


However things are different in the world, and these differences mean different approaches are needed in order for Australian Filipina couples to be able to live their lives together as they should.

One constant? Down Under Visa are still here. We’ve had no shutdowns or days/weeks/months off. We’ve been here every day, working for you and your future happiness. And we’re not going anywhere.


What about Travel Bans to Australia?


Yes these still exist. But the Prime Minister made it clear right at the start of the lockdown that exemptions were available to spouses. They were then, and they still are.

So if you are:

  • *Married, or
  • In an established de facto relationship

*Not married and can’t?

We can apply for an exemption to the travel ban for your Filipina lady, so she may enter Australia on the next available flight.

Is this automatic? Nope! Just waving a marriage certificate or registered relationship certificate won’t do it. They need to be convinced that the visa applicant is a family member of the sponsor (Australian Citizen, Permanent Resident, or NZ Citizen usually resident in Australia).

So not automatic, and yes it really does require some expert skills. It’s administered by Border Force, and they’re not always reasonable. Down Under Visa have been doing this since the start, and we get good results. We’re also very persistent!

NOTE: Travel Ban Exemptions ALSO apply to children of Australians and legal guardians of Australian kids. They do NOT apply to fiancees or girlfriends or parents or other relatives! Save the email cyber-ink and cyberstamps emailing us about this. Can’t help the last group at all, sorry.


BEST Australian Visa Applications 


Offshore Partner Visa applications


That means where we lodge the application in Philippines (or other overseas country).

I won’t write these off. They are a lower-pressure option, and some couples are not in such a hurry and prefer the quiet life! I DO understand this.

This also applies to those couples who live here in the Philippines and are again not in a great hurry. 

Basically, this is the slower option. It doesn’t suit everybody, obviously.


Onshore Partner Visa applications


This means the application is lodged inside Australia. Which means the visa applicant needs to be inside Australia at the time of the lodgement of the visa application.


Why is this such a popular option these days?


It’s the fastest option.


  1. the visa applicant is inside Australia,
  2. the applicant and sponsor are MARRIED (or in an established de facto relationship), and
  3. the application itself (which is a huge beast of an application!) is ready to lodge, we lodge it there in Australia, and
  4. the visa applicant gets to remain in Australia during the processing on a bridging visa

So the visa applicant, the love of your life, gets to remain in Australia during the visa processing time. No need to leave.


What’s more?


  • She can work
  • She can study
  • She can apply for Medicare


So it’s a pretty good package. A very generous Government that lets someone (who doesn’t even HAVE a partner visa yet!) remain in Australia for as long as it takes, AND work or study AND get the same medical support as any other Aussie. No unemployment benefits, and can’t vote, but otherwise live a pretty nice, safe and privileged life!


Important Issues


First two? These are for those who ask “Can I apply for a tourist visa now, and then start a partner visa application after she arrives in Australia?”

Last issue? Often the reason for asking the question above. And I DO understand that.


First and foremost 

Understand that a partner visa application takes time! Most take about 3 months to prepare. I would say probably slightly longer during COVID because of travel and office restrictions, so yes a substantial amount of time. 

And yes, you may know someone who slapped an application together in a week. Maybe they even had it granted? But assuming you want a bit more surety or you wouldn’t have contacted a professional and a specialist in the first place! We don’t DO rush-jobs, and we have the runs on the board to show us we’re on the right track by insisting on higher standards.

So yes, it takes time. And You’re in Australia on a tourist visa, which is usually just for 3 months. Clock is ticking!


Second (and probably more serious) 

You have documents you need from inside the Philippines!

These are not easy to get from inside Australia. COVID has made this even harder, with international couriers taking longer and longer. And, Philippines being Philippines, many things require a personal appearance. Telephoning and asking for a document? Good luck! Emailing and asking for a document? Forget it!

And can’t we just give you a list of what you need at the start so you know what you need? Well, no. Why?

  1. Partner visa guidance is for partner visa clients. Become our client, and we’ll tell you all you need. We need to make a living!
  2. We often don’t know all that you need until we get started, know your circumstances and history, and sometimes receive a few basic documents and then discover you need something additional. There is no one-size-fits-all partner visa checklist. Partner visa requirements are highly individual.


Third (and for many, maybe should have been first?)


Yes, partner visa applications are expensive. Government fees are extortionate. No arguments from me! But they are there, and you will need to pay them if you want your sweetheart in Australia with you.

The concern (obviously!) is about having the full amount at the start. Professional fees plus huge Government fees end up in the five figures, and not everyone has that much lying around the house. 


Good news!


We only need a modest downpayment to start the process. 

80%+ of that five-figure total? We won’t need until we’re ready to lodge the partner visa application inside Australia. When will that be? These days? 4 – 5 months at least!

So you have time to save up. If you can manage a modest downpayment, we can make a start and get to work on bringing the two of you together as you should be!



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
Temporary concession for Offshore Partner Visa applicants affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions
Facebook Visa Stories - Problems for Australian Visa Applicants


  1. Melody

    Interested ??


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