The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to everyone’s lives. Those with loved ones overseas have been particularly affected. The border closures now mean that it is difficult to travel. But not impossible. This update details:
1. What visas are still available during the COVID-19 border restrictions
2. The requirements for the visas that are still available
3. Extra rules to travel during the COVID-19 border restrictions; and
4. Answers to your the most frequent questions.
What visas are available during COVID-19
Visitor (Tourist) visas are still available. You must be a close family member of an Australian to travel. “Close family” means married or significant de facto partners, children or parents.
All other visitor visas are on hold. Even if you do make an application. No processing occurs until immigration lifts the travel ban. You can still have us prepare a Visitor visa for you but there is no point in lodging it. Not until there is an sign the border will reopen.
COVID-19 Fiance Visas
The next visa that is still available during the COVID-19 restrictions is the fiancé visa. This visa, also known as a prospective marriage visa, is for those who intend to get married. Waiting time for this visa is around 12 months and they are still processing at this stage.
To get a Fiance visa you must:
4. Intend to get married within 9 months of getting the visa
Having a fiancé visa does not mean you are exempt from the travel restrictions. Given they take a year or so to get, I assume that the travel exemptions will lift before you got the visa.
COVID-19 Partner visas
The Partner visa is for married couples or de facto couples with at least 6 months of living together. This visa is not subject to the COVID travel restrictions. So as soon as you get your partner visa you can come to Australia – even during COVID-19.
To get a Partner visa you must
1. Be in a relationship with an Australian
2. Be married or have a de facto (living together) relationship of at least 6 months
3. Have a genuine and continuing relationship
Q: When is the border going to re-open?
A: The border is only closed to visitors who are not close family. As for when the border will allow visitors of all kinds back into Australia – that’s anyone’s guess. It will be when the Australian government opens the border. I’m not a doctor and I don’t have a crystal ball – but it will be sometime in 2021.
Q: I have a visa, but I haven’t been able to use it because of the border closure. Will the government give me linger to use it considering that this is not mu fault.
A: No, the government expects everyone who enters Australia to have a valid visa. That’s your responsibility – not theirs.
Q: I’m in Australia holding a visitor visa. Is it ok – considering that COVID-19 is not my fault – to wait until I can leave Australia. And not worry about my visa… A friend told me that it was OK to do this.
A: No, its not OK. You expected to have a valid visa to stay in Australia and this has not changed during COVID-19. If you in Australia without a valid visa you can be detained and removed from the country – and not allowed back!
P.S. Everyone has a friend who is happy to give all kinds of advice but its not their future on the line. There is no consequence for them if they are wrong. Which they are. Australian Immigration law is complex. Just because you have applied for a visa yourself does not give you authority to give others advice.
Q: If I get married can my wife/husband come to Australia during the COVID-19 restrictions
A: Yes, but you still need to show immigration that your relationship is genuine. It is not a matter of supplying your marriage certificate and then you get a travel exemption. Instead, you need to still provide evidence of your relationship in the 4 key areas:
2) Nature of your household
3) Social aspects of the relationship
4) Nature of the relationship
Q: My friend applied for a Partner visa around the same time as we did. Their visa got granted 3 months ago. Why is ours taking so long? There must be something wrong with my application?
A: Each application is assessed on its own merits and some are processed in different places. For example, a partner visa lodged in Australia might be sent to Cambodia. Also, processing has been affected by COVID-19. The estimated times about how long the partner visa will take are just that – estimates.
Did you know there are 4 different kinds of partner visa? And a fiancé visa. Each takes a different amount of time. Some applications are quick. The applicant and sponsor may be married at the time of application. While other applications are slow. De facto partners need to supply evidence of their relationship during the application. Also, having children added to the application slows things down too. With children you can expect at least another 6 months on the waiting time because of the checks they need to do.
P.S. I’m happy your friend got their visa. For everyone who gets their visa three months early I can show you someone who is still waiting. The applications are not similar and the way that they end up being processed is also different. Two identical applications can take differnt times to process.
Q: How can I get in touch with Migration Professional? With years of experience in bringing people from South-east Asia to Australia?
P.S. If you contact me please be ready for me to tell you the truth about your chances of success. I don’t sugar coat things. I don’t wanste peoples’ time. If you will have issues with your application – I will tell you right away. I can honestly say that I don’t have enough time to mess people around.