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.

To help you navigate your way through this process, we explain the top 5 refusal reasons for partner visas.

Insufficient evidence for a partner visa

The most common reason for refusal is where applicants haven’t provided sufficient evidence for the case officer to make a positive decision. In order for the case officer to grant a partner visa, you must demonstrate that your relationship is genuine. Failing to provide evidence which covers each of the following aspects can result in your application being refused:

  1. Financial aspects
  2. Social aspects
  3. Nature of your household
  4. Nature of your commitment to one another

Be thorough and supply as much evidence as you can cover 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.

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

  • Ensure that all required documents are attached – failure to do so can result in a refusal or it can delay 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
  • Files need to be in the correct format (e.g. pdf vs. jpeg)
  • 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 for a partner visa

If you lodge your application in Australia and you are unlawful or hold a Bridging Visa, you must meet ‘Schedule 3.’ 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 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 be important.

Poor Interviews for a spousal visa

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. This can also result in a 3-10 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 to confirm that a document/information is genuine.

Character Test for a partner visa application

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

  • a substantial criminal record
  • being a member or having an association with a person/group suspected of being involved in criminal conduct
  • your past and present criminal conduct show a lack of enduring moral character
  • 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

OK, this is a sixth reason, but this category is about to get more prevalent. The Department of Home Affairs is now starting to show more interest in sponsors eligibility as well. 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.

The Government has also indicated that it intends to increase the requirements for sponsorship approval. In addition, sponsors will need to pass the Character test and will need to have their Sponsorship approved before your visa application can be lodged. 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.

Note that 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
  • holds a certain visa class

Children not being added correctly

And dependent children became a lot harder in 2016 and remains a contentious area for immigration. 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, appealing the decision to the Tribunal can take years to be resolved (can often take 3 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.


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.