A three-year visitor visa is now available to Thai women, so that they can visit Australia and develop their relationship with an Australian partner. This is a great option for those at the start of a relationship who are not quite ready to apply for a permanent Partner visa.
So what is required to get the three-year visitor visa? In this article I discuss:
- what is happening with the new three-year visitor visa for Thais;
- requirements for a three-year Visitor visa for your Thai girlfriend;
- how to extend a Visitor visa; and
- your options to apply for a Permanent visa during your three-year visa.
This article, written by our Senior Immigration Lawyer, looks at your three-year visitor visa options, and the key considerations when preparing for your Visitor visa application.
Apply for a three-year visitor visa
Until recently, visas for Thai women to visit Australia were limited. There was a three-month single entry or twelve-month multiple entry visa. It was up to immigration which one you get.
Most men who sponsor their girlfriend to Australia would prefer more than three months. So, it was quite annoying to receive a three-month visa. It also adds to the cost. It is not cheap having you girlfriend fly back to Thailand every three months!
The new three-year visitor visa
In July 2019, Immigration Bangkok have changed their policy and have started issuing a three-year visitor visa. The visa is, however, still limited in that each stay is a maximum of three months.
There is also no way of requesting the three-year visa rather than the single entry three months – which is also still being issued. It seems that those with a stronger case – that is those with easily demonstrated employment or family ties to Thailand might get the three-year visitor visa, whereas, those whose applicantions are borderline are still being issued with the single entry three-month visa.
Requirements for a three-year visa
The requirements for the Visitor visa are the same as always: financial, genuine visitor and reason to return. The three-year visitor visa is granted to those whose case is strong. In this way there is no real way to request the three-year visitor visa other than to supply as much evidence as possible in your application.
The decision to grant a three-year visitor visa is made by the immigration department. So you can request it in your application but if your case is borderline then you will still only get the three-month visitor visa. This is why I think it is probably safer to request three months or less. Then if you get the visa, you might lucky and have a three year visa. This avoids immigration refusing the visa right away because you have asked for too long.
Extend a Visitor visa
You might want to extend your three-year visa. So what does it mean to ‘extend’ a visa?
Although the length of the visa is three years, the longest she can stay on any trip to Australia is three months. If you want to make a new application while in Australia to ‘extend’ one of these three month stays, then you can apply for an extension. The longest you can extend any stay is to 12 months.
Apply for a Partner visa
At some point during your three-year visitor visa you might want to apply for a permanent residence visa. This would be a Partner visa application. I have written a comprehensive article about Partner visa applications.
The main point for holders of a three-year visa is that the 8503 condition still applies, so if there is a no further stay condition 8503 on the visa – you cannot apply for a Partner visa while in Australia. In fact, you cannot apply for any visa while in Australia.
If you have 8503, or you simply want to apply while she is in Thailand, then make an offshore application for a partner visa 309/100 (or Fiance visa 300). The waiting time for this visa is still over a year but you can use the tree year visitor visa that you have to bring her to Australia for the majority of the Partner visa waiting time.