How Much for an Australian Partner Visa? All the Costs: Including the Hidden Ones
Preparing for, and lodging, an Australian Partner visa is a costly venture. Following application fee hikes in July 2019, the expense has become a major, and often prohibitory, concern for many hoping to obtain a Partner visa.
Despite much opposition, the Department of Home Affairs’s fee increase has remained. If you’re looking to lodge a Partner visa application, the most sensible option at this point is to equip yourself with a full picture of all the costs – the upfront and the hidden.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the costs involved in obtaining an Australian Partner visa. We’ll break these expenses down, including visa fees, health examinations, translations, police checks, Migration Agent/Immigration Lawyer fees and more.
Let’s get started with the first and most significant cost – the application fee:
Partner visa application fee
The application fee is the main cost associated with the Australian Partner visa. The current (2019) fee is $7,715 AUD. This is the cost whether you apply in Australia or overseas and it covers the temporary visa, followed by the permanent visa application.
Unfortunately, expenses start to mount if children are included in the application. For children under the age of 18, you’ll likely have to pay an extra $1,935 AUD. For adult children (age 18+) who are still dependent on you, the fee is usually an additional $3,860 AUD.
The cost is huge for many families, and sadly often leads to separations, where some family members have to stay behind.
To add fuel to the fire, the Australian Government has also imposed credit and debit card surcharge fees of 1.32% when you pay for your visa application.
Health examinations are required for any permanent visa application. Health checks in Australia can only be carried out by Bupa Visa Medical Services and they’re usually around $400 AUD.
Health examinations overseas can be only be conducted by ‘panel physicians’ approved by the Australian Government and they often incur high costs and long waiting times.
As a further complication, the Department’s health rules state that all of the applicant’s dependent family members, including those who are not migrating to Australia, must also undergo a health examination. Unfortunately, if one dependent relative fails their health check, regardless of whether they’re migrating or not, then the entire application fails.
Health checks are an unavoidable cost and you’ll need to make sure you factor these expenses into your budget.
All official documents submitted with Australian visa applications must be in English. If you’re from a country where official documents are not issued in English, you’ll need to arrange and pay for translations. So, how much does this usually cost?
Your documents must be translated into English by a certified translator, either in your home country or in Australia. Translators usually have a ‘per page’ fee and may charge more if translations are for legal reasons. It’s best to choose a translator who has experience translating legal documents, as it’s vital to get this right.
A budget of approximately $300-400 AUD is recommended for translation costs. Don’t forget that all documents submitted with your Partner visa application will need to be translated, including financial documents and police checks, and translated versions of police checks will also need to be certified.
Australian Partner visa character requirements state that you must provide police checks from countries where you’ve lived for 12 months or more, including Australia.
So, if you’ve lived in this country for more than one year, you’ll need to obtain an Australian police check too – currently around $42 AUD. Police check fees in other countries vary greatly, from as little as $10 to $300 or more.
There may also be extra costs involved in notarising or certifying police check documents obtained overseas, in order to prove that they’re authentic. More information about police checks can be found here. Overall, we advise budgeting $200-300 AUD for police checks.
Migration Agent / Lawyer fees
Using a Migration Agent or Immigration Lawyer will mean that you’ll need to pay their professional fees. An Immigration Lawyer is authorised to practise law in Australia, or in their jurisdiction. Whereas, a Migration Agent is someone who has undergone an accredited training course in migration law and is registered with MARA.
If your situation is complicated, or if you want peace of mind, an Immigration Lawyer can be invaluable. Their fee will certainly add to your visa expense, but they can mean the difference between a successful or failed application.
Migration Agents can also be helpful, but many lack the experience and depth of knowledge provided by an Immigration Lawyer. With fees of up to $5,000 AUD, Migration Agents need to offer more than just a checklist taken from the Department’s website.
It makes sense to find an Immigration Lawyer or Migration Agent you feel comfortable with and interview them to find out exactly what services they offer.
Living costs during the waiting period
This really applies to those already living in Australia. If you’re applying onshore, your partner will be reliant on you for accommodation and living costs. Often, the foreign partner is in Australia under another visa, such as a student or working holiday visa and may be able to work according to the conditions on their visa. However, many are here on a tourist visa and unable to work.
Living costs during the Partner visa processing time of 12-15 months need to be considered and partners must be able to support each other during this time. Some couples opt to remain apart during the application period to enable the foreign partner to continue earning an income in their home country.
Other expenses include the cost of getting documents notarised and making sure your statutory declarations are witnessed properly. You may have to visit embassies for apostilles and suchlike, and the costs involved in doing this are indirect, but unavoidable, as they’re a necessary part of preparing your Partner visa application.
What can we say? Australian Partner visas aren’t cheap! Costs mount up when you factor in additional expenses. Try not to feel too disheartened by the fees – your ultimate goal is to live in Australia for the long term with your loved one. It helps to have an awareness of the overall cost at this stage, as you can prepare and save more in advance.
Many choose to process their Partner visa application themselves and avoid paying Migration Agent or lawyer fees. This is possible and will certainly cut down on costs. However, if your situation is not straightforward or you lack confidence in the application process, we recommend that you consult with a legal professional before proceeding with a Partner visa application.
FastVisa Australia’s team of experienced legal professionals can help you with your entire Partner visa application process. We can assist you if your situation is complicated, or if you simply need guidance and peace of mind.