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I’ve explained some of the differences between offshore partner visas and onshore partner visas in a recent BLOG article, and explained some of the differences between getting a prospective marriage visa or offshore partner visa versus organizing it onshore in Australia. Here are a few more thoughts.

offshore partner visa application versus onshore partner visa application

What is an onshore visa application?

An onshore visa application means any visa application applied-for inside Australia while the visa applicant is also inside Australia. If you’re applying anywhere but in Australia it’s an offshore visa application.

So that means the applicant is obviously inside Australia at that time, and that in itself adds pressures.

What are the pressures with onshore visa applications?

The main issue is always going to be the ticking-clock issue. If you are inside Australia on a temporary visa, like a tourist visa, you will have an expiry date. You will have a date when that visa will run out and the visa holder risks being in Australia unlawfully.

And is being in Australia unlawfully such a bad thing? Ohhhh, yes. Most definitely! The old term was “illegal immigrant”. It means you have no legal right to be inside Australia, and you risk being arrested by the police or by the DIBP people and put in a detention centre and/or deported. Not a good start to a partner visa application.

And yes, the issue of running out of time happens all too often. I don’t know what it is, but once a couple are together inside Australia they act like there is no pressure on them. They’re home. And no one can imagine anyone with them can get tossed out of Australia. So they tend to just not worry about it until the date is suddenly looming and they realise they’ve run out of time. If they are in different countries and missing each other, the loneliness drives them on. But once they’re together sometimes they become…..well? Lazy? Certainly impractical.

We’re not sure exactly what happens, because we can hardly ask what people are doing all day. But often the sense of urgency simply isn’t there. They’re together, so maybe it’s the subconscious mind tell them that they’ve already reached the finish line? No idea. Or maybe it’s the daily romance? Whatever it is, it means that applicants often don’t treat the situation seriously enough and time soon disappears and the last legal day that the visa holder can be in Australia comes up really quickly.

And what happens when the visa is about to run out?

Three choices, basically.

Overstay: Terrible choice, which will ruin your future together.

Lodge a substandard application: Another terrible choice, which can result in a refusal of that visa application. Down Under Visa don’t do rush-jobs, and we can’t just push every other legitimate visa application aside and concentrate on one application because of a client leaving everything to the last minute.

Return to Philippines: An awful option, one of which we know you don’t want to take. You get used to being together on a daily basis, and if you’ve been living together and waking up next to each other for the last 3 – 6 months or so and suddenly need to say goodbye for an unknown period of time, that would be really traumatic. Better than the two options above, but still not something you want.

Another tourist visa application? Is that an option? Well, yes sometimes we end up doing that. Far from desirable, of course. Plus it’s very wrong to assume that this is somehow easy because you just had a tourist visa application. There is no such thing as a “visa extension” for an Australian tourist visa. It’s a new application, and requires new documentation. Some of what we have from the last application can be reused, but not all or most. And we still have the issue of us having to push everyone else off the queue because someone wasn’t organized.

We won’t leave you in the lurch, but we don’t like doing this. And in some cases we literally don’t have the time to do it even if we had nothing else to do.

And be aware too that you may end up being refused anyway. This is especially the case if you’ve been putting things off and dragging things out and have had one too many extensions further onshore visa applications. We had one once where they granted it……for a two week stay! That meant enough time to pack her bags and say her goodbyes.

Conclusion? Choose your visa type wisely. If you are efficient and are prepared to take this all very seriously and will not take the ticking clock of a temporary visa stay lightly, then you can consider an onshore partner visa application. If you don’t believe you can make the best use of this time, then choose on offshore application. Subclass 309 Offshore partner visa or Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visa (Fiancée Visa). They’re taking considerably less time to process these days, and come with no deadlines at all. You can take the time you need to prepare an excellent application and lodge the visa application when it’s actually ready.

Do you need a job and assets to get a tourist visa from Philippines to Australia?
Can you apply for a bridging visa?


  1. Mike Regan

    G’day Jeff,
    great post I thought, and Just thought to add one other thing. With us, we chose the Off-shore approach on your advice, which I must admit was against my desire because as you say, we of course want to be together. But two reasons I am very happy with my choice is 1/… I got to visit the Philippines on 5 occasions and enjoyed every minute. Got to hire a car and experience driving on the WRONG side of the road hehe, and saw many sites from south to north. Loved it.
    And 2/ We struck a few problems along the way that required my partner to be in the Philippines to correct things of a legal sense, so had we been in Oz, then that would have been a costly problem indeed. So for us…. just as well we took your advice and put the hormones on hold (wink).
    Thanks mate… you and the team there at DUV are awesome.
    Take care… Mike

    • Jeff Harvie

      Thanks Mike. It’s an easier option, especially when you have issues with document problems and anything else that causes delays because there’s no ticking-clock. And hey, absence makes the heart AND the hormones grow fonder!


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