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Australian Tourist Visa when you wish to marry

  Tourist visa or partner visa when you want to marry your filipina girl   There is a common misunderstanding about the purpose of an Australian tourist visa, and that it is the “entry-level” generic visa. The thought is also that once your lady from the Philippines sets foot on Australian soil, you’re halfway there. You’re on the home stretch to being together permanently. Sorry to say, but this thinking is not realistic at all. I know what drives it. Fairly obvious. A partner visa is a costly visa, no question about it. I’m sure that 99% of those who see that the Government wants $8,085.00 (in early 2023) for their visa application charge alone are in shock and disbelief. If you could possibly get out of it, of course you would. And not everyone has that amount sitting in a stray bank account. We know this. But is a tourist visa really a good alternative when the issue is that of money?  

Good reasons for a tourist visa application

  Tourist visas are popular amongst our clients. We process many hundreds every year, and we’re very good at preparing successful applications for Australian Filipina couples. A tourist visa is a temporary visa for a temporary visit to Australia. Normally for a 3 month visit. Plenty of time to get to know what life in Australia is all about, to visit friends and relatives of an Australian boyfriend, and many of our tourist visa holders contact us afterwards saying they’ve decided to take the big plunge so they can be together permanently. I would think most end up marrying and applying for partner visas in time. And we would never push a couple who are uncommitted into a partner visa. Partner visas by their very nature require commitment, and if that commitment isn’t there then they will most likely fail. Tourist visas? You should be should be in a genuine relationship, yes. Boyfriend and girlfriend, most definitely. Wanting to spend time together with a romantic partner, yes. Wanting to see if what you felt on a 2 week visit to the Philippines is the same when you’re in a domestic situation in Australia for 3 months, yes. And then back home to the Philippines at the end of that visit.  

Bad reasons for a tourist visa application

  “Bad” as in “will not do what you hope it will do”. Not bad-intentioned. In my view, if the two of you are completely committed to each other and to leading a shared-life on a permanent basis, a tourist visa will be like a bandaid on a gaping wound. A bit of temporary relief, but nothing more. I like it when we can do something for a client, and they end up happy and settled. Knowing that it will only contribute to them being apart for years, it leaves a less than satisfied feeling in us. And this is our vocation. We love seeing couples together and families being built. So what we see is ladies heading back to the Philippines, and both Australian man and Filipina lady asking me how soon they can be back together! The couple end up right back where they started. No further forward and no better off. The other issue is that while they are getting some temporary relief from missing each other, it’s costing them money. The lady could get three tourist visa applications, with three lots of airfares and the cost of being together in Australia, or……well…..could probably spend that total amount on a partner visa. And that means you end up together permanently, which is what you want after all. Again, if you’re not 100% committed and want to take more time? Sensible decision. Sometimes couples spend three months together and realise they make each other miserable. In which case they are most grateful they didn’t take the big plunge with a partner visa, and are grateful they got to find out via a temporary visa only. And sometimes there are divorces and annulments to sort out. Tourist visas are great options when you want to be together, but a permanent pathway simply isn’t open to you yet. Again, we process a lot of tourist visa applications and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.  

What can you do to get a partner visa?

  If you’re really not in a hurry (and some couples are fairly patient), and wish to get a tourist visa for now? We’re happy to help you. But if you’re hoping she can simply stay on a tourist visa, then sorry but you’re heading for disappointment and an emotional rollercoaster. We’ve discussed the mistake in thinking you can put a partner visa together late in the tourist visa stay in Australia in a few of our BLOG articles. Partner visas take months of work, and the Department are very unforgiving about poorly prepared applications which result from last-minute rush jobs. Yes, we can help with onshore partner visa applications, but you need the time to do them properly. But spending all your savings and earnings on airline tickets instead of on saving for a partner visa application, this will just make it harder on you. You would be better off just biting the bullet and saving your money. Work overtime. Get some part-time work. Live a lean existence. Do that until you have a downpayment on a partner visa, which is probably less than the costs of a 3 month visit anyway. Then continue to live frugally over the following few months whilst preparing the partner visa application. They do normally take that length of time. Or do what many have done. Borrow from relatives. Sell something. Or note the link to Fox Finance Group on the assessment letters that are coming out now, and take out a small loan. Probably most people borrow for a car. Why wouldn’t you borrow to bring the love of your life from Philippines to Australia? If it matters enough, normally we find a way.   NOTE: This is an updated edit of a BLOG article from 2017    
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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. Read MORE
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Down Under Visa News April 2020 - The Travel Ban & Expiring Tourist Visas


  1. Pete

    Spot on

  2. Brian Stoker

    But don’t you have to live together for 12 months and have common bank accounts and assets first. How you going to get overtime or a second job if you are already living together for the necessary 12 months. Where do you do the living together?

    • Jeff Harvie

      You don’t need to live together for 12 months if you apply based on a marriage, Brian. That only applies to a partner visa based on a de facto relationship.


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