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We do willingly and happily manage partner visa applications onshore (which is visa-speak for “inside Australia), and with the easing of Condition 8503’s (ie. No Further Stay) on tourist visa grants and with the cost now being the same, this is happening more and more. We sign on clients for onshore partner visas every month, and we have no problem with this as long as those clients take it seriously. You need to do everything to avoid running out of time and maybe overstaying your visa.

What can go wrong with an onshore partner visa

But our main concern is that of running out of time, and the risk of overstaying or simply running out of time and needing to make emergency departures from Australia to avoid becoming unlawful. Hardly pleasant or convenient, I’m sure you would all agree.


Australian onshore partner visas from Philippines and the risk of overstaying


One thing we’ve noticed over the years is that couples get more work done when they’re apart than when they’re together. Maybe it’s because it’s been a lot of years since I’ve been unmarried, and I’ve forgotten a few things? I hope I haven’t forgotten too much! But couples once they are together, no work seems to get done. For example:

  • I will say “You could get started on your online Questionnaires while you’re both together”. They rarely get done.
  • We say “Don’t forget to keep working on your documents and evidence while you’re in Australia on a tourist visa.” They rarely do!
  • And topic of todays BLOG article, when couples are together in Australia and need to organise questionnaires, documents and relationship evidence for their visa application requirements, they often leave it all to the last minute!

I warn each and every client of the risks of running out of time, and I remind them that a partner visa lodged in Australia (unlike one lodged offshore in Manila) requires the applicant and sponsor to marry first! So if a marriage hasn’t taken place yet, then it will have to be. That takes time, and it takes work. The more elaborate the wedding, the more than will need to be done. And at the same time, you have a mountain of stuff to organise for a visa application.

Now, we get clients who can organise themselves in a month from start to finish, and there’s no logical reason why not in most cases. However people have jobs to go to, as well as family needs and other aspects of their lives which need attention as well. Our Migration Hub helps a lot, as you can get 99% of the answers you need 24/7 without having to wait for emails, and we pride ourselves in responding quickly to emailed questions too. But I think the chief distraction is the romance!! Do paperwork or kiss and cuddle? Which one is more likely to win?


Consequences of running out of time

Just be aware that if you run out of time, you have three options. Three only, as lousy slapdash last-minute visa applications don’t happen with Down Under Visa. We do it right or not at all.

  • First flight back to Manila. Yuck!
  • Last-minute further tourist visa application. Can be done, and sometimes has to be. But we would really prefer knowing a few weeks before the existing tourist visa runs out rather than 2 days before!
  • Or go unlawful by overstaying the current visa.

The last option? That is THE very worst option. You might well be kissing the visa application goodbye if this happens. I won’t bore you with details of Schedule 3 of the Migration Regulations, but in short it means if you lodge a partner visa application without a substantive visa (in visa-speak that means a visa OTHER than a bridging visa, ie. if you lodge a visa whilst on a bridging visa) you need to have amazingly good reasons that are compelling and compassionate to not see the application refused. Lodge on a Bridging Visa E (which is the one they give you if you’re unlawful) and it’s even worse.

So please think about your options very carefully. Weddings, jobs, romance and visa applications. You need time to eat and sleep too. If you can’t do it, then stick to an onshore application. Don’t mess things up for yourselves. And if you can do it by cutting down the romance just a little bit? Please do! You can always get back to it. Whoever said “love conquers all” has never had to deal with the Department of Immigration!

NOTE: This is a reposting of an earlier article from 2015

Australian Visas from Philippines – Down Under Visa
Australian visas for same-sex marriages are here


  1. Rodney Francis Witte

    Hello Mr Harvie.
    My name is Rodney Witte and I have a partner over in the Philippines along with my daughter (who now has dual citizenship, my daughter not my partner) and I would like to know the cost of having my partner moved over to Australia where I am at the moment. I am on DSP so my finance is not very strong.
    Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.
    Regards Rod Witte
    Ps my phone number is 0497588260 (if I don’t answer the first time it is because I am fighting it out of the carry case).

    • Jeff Harvie

      Hello Rodney,

      I’ll need to assess your case before I can comment. Could you please use the online assessment form on the website? Then I can get back to you with something concrete. Thanks.

  2. sharon bowen

    if some one changes a date on their visa,so they can marry an australian, is that marriage legal?

    • Jeff Harvie

      Sorry, I don’t understand the question. How do you change the date on a visa? Visas are locked into the system. You can’t tamper with details.

  3. Mike

    May i ask a question, even though i am confident i know the answer, but your the pro here – i have a successful partner visa approval granted so its not for me, but my cousin has had his partner here from philippines for over 2 years overstay on the original tourist visa, now he is to scared to go to immi, what should his first action be?

    • Jeff Harvie

      He should go to Immigration and surrender himself, Mike. Then leave the country as soon as possible. It will be much worse if he waits to be caught and tossed into detention.

  4. Mary Jane Leafe

    Me and my Australian husband wants to lodged a spouse visa but due to financial shortage we decided to apply for tourist visa first while trying to save money for spouse visa. So our problem now is “what are the things to be done to have a tourist visa”?and how much would it cost?

    • Jeff Harvie

      Already responded to your husband, Mary Jane.

  5. Philip Smith

    Gday Jeff Harvie !!! My name is Philip Smith my wife to be !!! Is enquiring on how to get her passport an what type of visa she needs for a 3 month stay preferably !!!!! And to marry here in Australia !!!!! She is a Filipino lady !!!! What documents she needs an documents I need !!!!! For this process to be a approved!!!! Thankyou for your time an consideration have a nice day !!!!! Let me know please

    • Jeff Harvie

      Hello Philip. She needs to contact the DFA here in Philippines to organise her passport. And if you would like help preparing a visa application, please use the free Visa Assessment Form on our website.


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