Are you considering lodging a partner visa application? Being well informed about the requirements and ensuring that you thoroughly address these in your application will give you the best chance of a successful outcome and avoid a partner visa refusal.

To help you navigate your way through this process, in this article we explain the main reasons for partner visa refusal cases.

But before we delve into why a partner visa may be rejected, lets start off by examing what the partner visa class entails and who may be eligible.

What Is A Partner Visa?

The partner visa class consists of a series of options, with each one designed to suit a specific purpose.

Firstly, if you are married to, or are in a de facto relationship with, an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, and you are located onshore, you may be eligible to apply for a Subclass 820/801 Partner visa. This is a combined application for a temporary and permanent residence visa.

If you are outside Australia, the equivalent offshore application is the Subclass 309/100 Partner visa.

Engaged To Be Married

If you are intending to marry your Australian partner, you might qualify for a Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage visa. This application must be lodged offshore.

Your Relationship

One of the most important aspects of qualifying for a partner visa is to meet the ‘relationship’ requirement. Your relationship must meet the relevant definition of either a ‘spouse’ or ‘de facto’ relationship in accordance with the migration provisions.

There a strictly defined requirements in this regard, meaning that things may not be as clear-cut as you might expect. What the ordinary person may percieve as a relationship for this purpose may not equate with what is accepted for visa purposes.

One example of this is if you are applying on the basis of a ‘spouse’ relationship, your marriage must be legally valid under Australian law. This means that a marriage that takes place offshore may not necessarily be legally recognised in Australia.

When it comes to a a ‘de facto’ relationship, its ordinary common meaning, or how it is defined under other laws in Australia or overseas, may not necessarily be in line with how it is defined under the migration provisions. Assessing whether you meet either of these terms (based on your personal situation) is one of the most important aspects of your partner visa application. The majority of your application involves submitting evidence to support your claims that your relationship is genuine and that it meets the relevant meaning of either a spouse or de facto relationship under the migration law.

Also be aware that a defacto relationship is subject to additional eligibility requirements to qualify for a partner visa.

What Is A Partner Visa Refusal?

Now that we have a better idea of what a partner visa is and who may be eligible, what exactly is a partner visa refusal?

A refusal means that your partner visa is rejected by the Department. This decision means that Immigration has decided that you do not qualify for the relevant partner visa. The ramifications of such a decision can be serious, one of which being that it can affect your ability to apply for a further visa to Australia.

If your partner visa has been rejected, there may be things you can do to challenge the decision, such as applying to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to conduct a review. Any such options that may be available to you in the event of your partner visa being rejected will depend on your individual circumstances.

But even if you have potential option/s to pursue, be mindful that any such action will delay the progress of your visa pathway plans in Australia. For example, partner visa refusal cases being appealed to the AAT can take a significant period of time to be resolved (a number of years in some partner visa refusal cases), and there is no guarantee of a sucessful outcome.

This is why it is always better to avoid having a partner visa refusal in the first place. And the best way to do this is to arm yourself with the right information, and only once you have solidly established that you are eligible for the relevant partner visa, that you apply by lodging a complete and correct application that is accompanied by detailed supporting evidence to document your claims.

Why Might A Partner Visa Application Be Refused?

Lets now examine some of the main reasons why a partner visa may be rejected.

You Are Not Eligible For A Partner Visa

The single most important aspect of the partner visa application process is to first establish your eligibility for the relevant visa that you seek to apply for. This means having a clear and complete understanding of all the eligibility requirements, and how to demonstrate to the Department that you meet them and therefore qualify for visa grant. Not doing so may result in you applying for a visa that you are not eligible for, and, as a result, the partner visa will be rejected.

Given the highly complex nature of the migration provisions, we recommend that you start the process off by speaking with a migration professional, who can guide you through the process. They will examine your personal situation, including your migration goals and needs, and will perform a comprehensive visa assessment, to determine your eligibility for a partner visa. These experts know their stuff, having been trained extensively and working in the industry day in, day out, and are at the forefront of the latest migration developments. 

If you prefer to complete and lodge your application on your own behalf, just getting that advice upfront before you proceed to do so can be very helpful in setting you in the right direction and on the correct path, helping to maximise your chances of a sucessful outcome, and therefore avoiding a potential partner visa refusal, and the ramifications that this may bring.

Later in this article, we provide further information on how speaking with a registered migration agent like the team at PAX Migration Australia can help you to achieve the results you are after.

Insufficient Evidence Is Provided

Another one of the most common reasons for partner visa refusal is due to applicants not providing sufficient evidence to the Department to make a positive decision on their application. One of the most important elements to be satisfied for the grant of a partner visa is to demonstrate that your relationship is genuine.

Failing to provide evidence that covers each of the following aspects can result in your application being refused:

  1. Financial aspect;
  2. Social aspect;
  3. Nature of your household; and
  4. Nature of your commitment to one another.

Note that all the circumstances of your relationship will be examined and will guide the Department in determining the weight to be given to each of these four factors. 

Be thorough and supply as much evidence as you can, covering the entire length of your relationship. If you are lacking in a particular aspect, provide reasons why.

Ensure that your evidence is consistent, including your social media profiles. Written statements about your relationship should also be consistent and should match the information provided by your witnesses. If there are differences between documents and/or the information provided in your application forms, such as dates not matching, or the history of your relationship not being consistent, Immigration can take this as an indication that your relationship is not genuine, and this can lead to a refusal.

Other Factors To Consider When Lodging A Partner Visa Application

Some other points to be mindful of when lodging your visa application are:

  • Ensure that all required documents are attached (a failure to do so can result in a partner visa refusal, or it can delay the processing of your application);
  • Ensure that evidence contains all the required information and is in the correct format;
  • Photos should be accompanied by relevant descriptions;
  • Screenshots should contain dates and times;
  • Documents should either be colour scans, or if you are providing black and white copies, these must be certified by an authorised witness;
  • Documents also need to be clear and legible;
  • Files need to be in the correct format; and
  • If you are in a de-facto relationship, ensure that you provide the required relationship evidence to cover the correct period (note that this will differ, depending on whether your relationship is registered in a State or Territory in Australia).

Failure To Meet Schedule 3 Criteria

If you lodge your application in Australia and you are an unlawful non-citizen, or you hold a Bridging Visa, you must meet Schedule 3 of the Migration Regulations. This can be waived, but only if compelling reasons exist which led to your current visa status.

Failure to adequately address this requirement can result in a partner visa refusal. Therefore, before lodging an application on these grounds, ensure that you have a compelling case to make. Be fully informed on the types of reasons that are considered to meet Schedule 3 and consider if you meet that threshold. Having thorough and verifiable evidence is also important.

Poor Interviews With Immigration

Immigration may require you to attend an interview in person or by telephone to ask questions about your application.

If you cannot recall basic facts such as your partner’s date of birth, their family’s details, when/how you met, and details about how your relationship developed, or if you provide answers which conflict with your partner, Immigration may consider your relationship to be non-genuine.

Ensure that you and your partner are well prepared and can correctly recall such facts once you have lodged your application.

Public Interest Criteria 4020

If you provide a bogus document, or false or misleading information as part of your visa application, or if Immigration is unable to verify your identity, your application can be refused for failing to satisfy Public Interest Criteria 4020. This can also result in a 3 or 10 year ban on being granted a further visa to Australia.

Given the potentially serious consequences of having your application refused on these grounds, ensure that you submit accurate, complete and genuine information/documents. As part of their integrity measures, Immigration will verify your claims and can contact external sources to confirm that a document/information is genuine.

Character Test

If you fail to meet the Character test, your application may be refused. Factors that can lead to failure to pass this test include:

  • having a substantial criminal record;
  • being a member of, or having an association with, a person/group suspected of being involved in criminal conduct;
  • your past and present criminal conduct shows a lack of enduring moral character; or
  • there is a risk that you will engage in criminal conduct, harass, molest, intimidate or stalk another person, vilify or incite discord in Australia.

Sponsorship Approval

Your partner/spouse must meet certain requirements to be approved as your Sponsor. This includes income, character, citizenship and residency status in Australia. Failure to meet these will result in your application being refused.

Major changes to the application process for partner visas are also pending and could be enacted at any moment. These changes mean that the sponsorship will need to be approved before your visa application can be lodged (whereas currently, both the visa and sponsorship applications are lodged concurrently).

This delay to your application could have further impacts. For example, it could mean that you must satisfy Schedule 3 requirements (as discussed above). Or you may need to apply for another temporary visa whilst your partner awaits their sponsorship approval.

Sponsorship limitations may also apply if your partner/spouse:

  • have themselves previously been granted a Partner visa;
  • have previously sponsored someone else for a Partner visa; or
  • they hold a certain visa class.

Children Not Being Added Correctly

If you are including a child in your application and they are aged between 18 and 23, they must meet a ‘dependency’ requirement. Once they reach the age of 23, they will no longer be eligible for grant of the visa as your dependent.

As this age limit is a time of decision criterion, current significant processing times can mean that even though the child may be eligible for visa grant at the time when you lodge your application, they may no longer satisfy this requirement by the time a decision is made.

Further, if the application is refused, as previously noted, appealing the decision to the AAT can take years to be resolved (can often take three or more years). If the child is aged 18 or is close to that age when you lodge your application, it is even more critical that the child is correctly included. Failure to do so can mean that they lose the chance to be granted a visa as your dependent, with significant implications for their Australia permanent residency prospects if they are unable to meet the requirements for an alternative visa.

Get More Information About The Partner And Prospective Marriage Visa

To learn more about the partner and prospective marriage visa program, we have prepared a series of articles to provide further information about how this visa class operates, including the eligibility requirements. Please see the links below for further information on the partner visa:

Partner Visa Sponsorship

Partner Visa Sponsor Requirements

Partner Visa Sponsor Approval

Prospective Marriage Visa Subclass 300

What are the requirements for a spouse visa in Australia

Can a man get Australian PR if his wife is Australian

How to bring your wife to Australia on a genuine partner visa

Top 5 reasons why partner visas are refused

How to be approved as a partner visa sponsor?

Bridging visas for partner visa applicants

What evidence should I provide?

Special rules for de facto partners

What case officers look for in a partner visa application?

Overview – Partner Visa Australia

Australian Partner Visa Checklist

Are you eligible to apply for a de facto partner visa in Australia

Overview of Onshore Australian Partner Visa Schedule 3

Why partner visa applications are so tough

A Detailed Guide on De Facto Visa Application

Register your de facto relationship in South Australia

Prospective Marriage Visa (subclass 300)

We also recommend that you refer to our articles on articles on the Partner Visa Changes and Australia Partner Visa Changes for a more detailed discussion of the changes that have been proposed to partner visas, which could have very significant implications for potential partner visa applicants. This demonstrates just how vital it is to be fully equipped with the latest information, combined with extensive experience in migration law, to give yourself the best chance of achieving a successful outcome on your application and avoidng a partner visa refusal.

Get More Information About Visa Refusals

For further details about visa refusals, including potential options that may be available to you, we recommend that you refer to the following articles:

Visa refusal appeal Australia

Do I need a representative for my appeal

Do I need an immigration agent or lawyer for my appeal

What can I do when my Australian Visa gets rejected? What decisions can the AAT review?

Alternative options for applying for Australian visa after refusal or cancellation

Visa Refusal And Next Steps

What’s involved in a Tribunal Appeal

PAX Migration Australia Can Help

As discussed earlier in this article, Australia’s migration laws are complex. Each case is different, and there are also several terms which are defined in the migration provisions (and whose meanings may differ from their ordinary usage). We recommend that you seek professional advice if you are interested in applying for a partner visa, as being fully informed will give you the best chance of achieving a successful outcome on your case, and avoid your partner visa being rejected. The migration professionals at PAX Migration Australia can help you to do this.

For up to date advice and a comprehensive assessment of your eligibility for a partner visa, book your confidential consultation with a migration agent in Adelaide. PAX Migration Australia is a leading immigration advice service based in Adelaide.

Why Choose PAX Migration Australia?

To learn more about why you should consider speaking with PAX Migration Australia, reviews and testimonials from our clients about what they think about us, and why obtaining professional assistance and advice from a migration agent can be beneficial in achieving a positive outcome on your migration matter, please see the following articles:

Selecting a migration agent in Australia

Should I use a migration agent or immigration lawyer for my application?

Migration Agent in Adelaide

Immigration Agent Adelaide

Migration Agent Australia

Best Migration Agent Adelaide

PAX Migration Adelaide

To find out if you are eligible, contact us on 08 7226 2225 or and book a consultation for personal advice specific to your circumstances.

To ensure your partner visa is lodged with complete evidence and addresses any concerns or issues present in your circumstances, contact us today and book your initial, no obligation, confidential consultation.