New Lodgement and processing arrangements for Partner (Temporary) (subclass 820) visa applications

Lodgement and processing arrangements for Partner (Temporary) (subclass 820) visa applications

  1. In short the DIAC now want all applicants to send their applications by post or courier and
  2. They have condensed the number of centres processing applications to four (4)
  • NSW processing NSW applications at Lee St in Sydney
  • Victoria processing Victoria in Lonsdale St in Melbourne
  • Queensland processing Queensland, ACT & Tasmania in Adelaide St Brisbane
  • WA processing WA, SA & NT in Wellington St Perth.

The Factsheet issued by DIAC on this change in the FAQs section gives as a reason for this latest change under the heading –

Why have lodgement and processing arrangements been changed?

The department is undergoing a wide-ranging transformation program to position itself as the best immigration and citizenship organisation in the world. Reducing the number of locations at which we process these applications allows us to achieve greater consistency, efficiency and service excellence.”


So I guess the logic goes this way people in ACT, Tasmania, SA & NT are now unable to stroll into a DIAC office and lodge their application therefore we must make it equally difficult for everyone, hence lodge by post or courier.

DIAC seem to specialise in changing where applications are processed using an almost stream of consciousness approach. It happens so often that one could perhaps use it as a topic for a doctoral thesis and I’m certain this all change happens at significant direct cost to the taxpayer but I suppose it is good that they aim to be ‘the best immigration and citizenship organisation in the world’.


My problem is twofold…

  1. A year ago I could make an appointment at DIAC’s Partner section on Level 2 at Lee St, Sydney and arrive with my decision ready application and the happy couple and have the 820 visa in the applicant’s passport in 30 minutes. Efficient, even impressive… ‘People Our Business’. Then they closed this system using resources and efficiency as the reason. Next came – arrive with the application and sit down with an officer who receipted it and got back to me usually very quickly. Then came – give me the application over the counter and we’ll get back to you which finally led to a new service standard of 9 months to process an 820 application (on average) – some faster obviously others slower. Now the counter is closed and all direct communication has ceased to be replaced by post or courier. I’m missing the improvement in this progression to becoming the best immigration organization in the world. Is it just me who can’t see how an applicant is better off?
  2. Second, and this may be a minor point, but it is a reality – often couples lodge applications with very little time to spare before a current visa expires – sometimes even on the last day before they become illegal. How is this new system dealing with this problem? People shouldn’t be so silly I know but the reality is they often get into difficulties and last minute applications happen. Can we now rely on the notion that as long as it’s dated stamped as received by DIAC before the visa expires that a BVA will be issued? What’s the policy here? No FAQ answer on the Factsheet. Does this now mean that you cannot take your visa expiry as the last day to lodge an application – how long should we add backwards to allow for Australia Post – a day, a week, longer?

Oh yes one other point of interest.

I had a Migration Agent friend who was turned away by the Sydney DIAC counter the other day and told he’d have to go down the road to the Post Office to send the application in to DIAC Sydney before they’d accept it. Then I read this in the Factsheet…

Can I lodge my application in person?

We prefer that you lodge your application by mail or courier directly to the relevant Partner (Temporary) Processing Centre. You may also lodge it in person at any office of the department if you prefer. Applications lodged in person will be transferred to the relevant Partner (Temporary) Processing Centre.


Now that’s confusing! I’m taking a copy of the Factsheet with me next time I walk up the hill to lodge an 820 application at Sydney. I guess that also means that applicants in ACT, Tasmania, SA & NT (and even in NSW and Victoria) can in fact lodge an application over the counter or does it?

37 responses to “New Lodgement and processing arrangements for Partner (Temporary) (subclass 820) visa applications

  1. “The department is undergoing a wide-ranging transformation program to position itself as the best immigration and citizenship organisation in the world.” Hmmmmmmm – I’d more than happy to assist with the transformation process, if they were to ask for my feedback!

    Like you, I can’t see how moving from a 30 minute process to a 9 month process is an improvement.

    My friend who married a woman from the USA got his partner visa on the spot at the USA embassy in Sydney – that was a few years ago now though – I think 10 years ago in fact. I wonder if they too have changed their process?

    To not accept hand delivery of an application is just plain silly. No other word for it.

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  3. immigrationptyltd

    Dear Patrick,

    Not really sure what else to suggest. I have always found DIAC helpful in these matters.

    If you have the time try to make an appointment to see someone face to face with the information you have.


    Grant Williams

  4. Stephanie Auwoky

    My dealings with DIAC havent been satisfactory thus far. My Partner became unlawful after DIAC lost his medical. After many calls he gave up trying and could not afford another one. When we saw complience in person they did not hear his story and gave him 21 days to leave and return home. We requested information about our right to apply for a partner visa and were told that he could not apply due to being unlawful. I found out later that he was indeed able to apply not for temporary visas but there was a section that allowed him to apply which came into effect July 2009. We requested this and were denied in March 2010. We lodged an application in Honiara, Solomon Islands in July 2010 and after it having being lost for 10 weeks between offices we were able to redo it and try to begin the process again. Losing time as that was Sept. He left in April. We were also charged $319 AUD more for being forced to lodge overseas. We were told it was inflation and they can set their own costs?? It is costing us a fortune to see each other as I and the kids have to purchase 18 plane tickets to get to and from Honiara and we have extra costs of living apart, house, phone calls, two sets of utility bills etc and we live with the uncertaintly of when the Partner Visa may come through. We feel that if we could have lodged in Australia as planned and requested then we would not be living like this. Having been unlawful (not his fault they lost the medical) he cant come to see us at all. He had previously had about nine visas and lived in Australia for eight years. Very hard to return unplanned to a country he only knew as a child. On the phone previous to visiting complience we were told we could lodge a partner visa? Why the officer denied it we dont know. 21 days was not enough time to build a case against this decision-so he went. We wonder how long it may take. I desperately want to live over there but couldnt handle taking my two child with disabilities out of their support and I couldnt handle submitting an application for migration to his country of residence therefore having two going at once. One is enough. I feel Australia let us down.

    • immigrationptyltd

      Dear Stephanie

      It certainly sounds like you are not having an easy time of it. It has always been DIAC’s way to try to force applicants in the Partner area offshore if they can. The onshore rule you talk about does have another complication depending on the applicants circumstances and this may be the reason for the refusal (Schedule 3 of the Migration Regulations can prevent an application not made within 28 days of becomming unlawful) Hard for me to comment on a few of your issues like the lost medical. However the extra fee is odd. Ofshore Partner application should cost $1735 to DIAC and onshore $2575. Are you talking about an application fee or a fee to someone who was assiting you?


      Grant Williams

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  6. Catherine Proios

    I really didnt like the change not that I could lodge the application in person in SA before the change. I never like the immi department anyway. My husband and I went to the immi office happily hoping to lodge the application yesterday. we were annoyed and upset that we had to post it to WA. we thought we could pay first and we ended up with a ticket waiting to pay. I thought it was a bit ridiculous to wait in order to pay the government so we left. we mailed it yesterday and all i know is the application is been delivered to the post box. I didnt know what to expect now rather I’d receive an acknowledgement letter or I wont be in contact until an CO is assigned. We dont know anything and no one told us anything. there is no communication and no understanding or whatsoever. Although my ETA visitor visa wont be expired until Nov I still wanna know what happens next for example if i am on a bridging visa or still on my ETA visa. I also found out from the immi website that my previous student visa was also current. (I was a student before, graduated but the visa wont expire until Sep. left Aus for a few months. afraid I couldnt come back with that student visa so applied a ETA visa to come back) now I have no idea what visa I am on. it would be nice if someone tells you something not just take $2960 from us!! the cost of the visa increases every year but i do not see the efficiency increases.

    • Immigration Pty Ltd

      Dear Catherine.
      Let me expalin it all for you.
      You cannot hold two subsatntive visas at the same time so I assume you are now on the ETA and that your Student visa ceased when the ETA was granted. Anyway you’re here on a visa so that’s good.
      Your ETA expires in November 2011. When your aplication, which you sent by post to DIAC WA is receipted, they will then send you a copy of the DIAC $2960 receipt and an Acknowledgement letter telling you all about the processing of your application. This letter will also serve as a letter to Medicare allowing you to get a Medicare card. In addition the letter will tell you that you have been granted a Bridging Visa A (WA 010). This visa will only begin at the moment your current visa (we’re assuming your ETA) expires in November 2011. You are then on a BVA until the application is allocated to a Case Officer and all being well eventually processed successfully and they grant you an 820 Temporary Partner visa which lasts basically for 2 years + the time it takes them to grant you your PR (801 visa). Your BVA will probably have not work rights as you applied from an ETA without work rights. Once your go onto the BVA you can apply to change the conditions on this BVA to get work permission.
      It’s difficult to comment on the ETA/Student visa confusion without having seen all the paperwork. Also remember you cannot travel once you are on the BVA. If you need or want to travel you must apply for a BVB – which is a BVA for travel – and then I’d suggest you should reapply to have the BVA regranted upon your return to Australia as the BVB replaces the BVA when you depart Australia and that visa is usually only for 3 months max. So when you return you’re here on a expired BVB – this is not really a problem but it’s better to get te BVA put back in place even if the helpful counter folk at DIAC tell you it’s not necessary. It is and they just don’t want to have to be bothered. Do it if you travel.
      Hope this helps.
      Grant Williams

  7. i dont know if this site is still running or not but i kind of have a similar problem my husband was on bridging visa a wa 010 he left the country in a panick moment and now what do i do to get him back into australia as a family with me and m children again, im unsure of what to do our lawyer was veery unhelpful told me i would need to pay $300 to see him i am a single parent now my husband left and im unsure of how to help him back into australia he resides in the USA and i’ve called immigration who have asked me to notify them in writing he has left…

    so whats next after i do that???

    • Immigration Pty Ltd

      Grant is away see the last post on the Blog

    • Immigration Pty Ltd

      Yes I’m still running as you put it. I’ve just been away fro two weeks.
      Getting back into the country having left on a BVA is difficult.
      He should apply fro a Visitor visa – you say he resides in the USA? Does he travel on a US Passport? If so he just gets an ETA and then reapplies for the BVA when he arrives.
      DIAC by the sound of it are looking to get you to say that the relationship has ceased 9the notify them he’s o/s comment) – be careful here. If all you want is for him to come back
      try to talk to your case officer (cry a little – it helps) and see if they can contact the overseas post to try to help him get a visitor visa to return.
      Grant Williams

  8. Hi Grant

    Thanks for your blog.

    I am hoping that you can provide advice. My boyfriend was in Australia for two years on a Working Holiday Visa. This expired September last year (2011), so he returned home to France (he is a French citizen). We are now considering applying for the Onshore Partner (Marriage) Visa to get him back here permanently.

    We have been together for over a year, and we have photos, recorded Skype logs, plane tickets, etc. for evidence, and can obtain plenty of testimonials from family and friends to attest to our relationship.

    My question is: can he come here on a ‘holiday’ with a Tourist Visa or ETA, and then we get married and apply for the Marriage Visa? What is the likely success of such application, and will he be permitted to work whilst on the Bridging Visa?

    I have heard that other people have been imposed with the ‘No further stay’ restriction on their Visa – is that likely to happen for my partner?

    • Immigration Pty Ltd

      Dear Margie
      Anyone applying for a visitor visa can have condition 8503 (no further stay) imposed on their visa if DIAC so choose. However people from EU countries do not generally get that condition. Unfortunately the only way to find out is to apply. If you mention it he will get it! I’d recommend the ETA.
      If you apply for an onshore Partner from an open ETA the BVA they grant will have NO Work. You can then, once the BVA comes into force, When the ETA expires apply to change the conditions on his BVA to obtain work permission. You will have to demonstrate financial hardship – this is easier than it sounds. When you get to that stage get back to me and I’ll give you some tips privately.
      Grant Williams

  9. Thank you Grant. Much appreciated.

  10. Also, would he be permitted to leave the country for holidays, once he is granted a BV from the Partner Visa application?


    • Immigration Pty Ltd

      Hi Margie He will be able to apply for a BVB (Bridging Visa B) which is the travel version of the BVA that DIAC grant when a person lodges a valid application form a substantive visa. So yes but you have to apply for a BVB – Form 1006 + pay the fee (currently $125) and have a substantial reason to travel (here you need to say something like visiting relatives not off to the Maldives to improve my sun tan). Grant Williams JP 195363 Registered Migration Agent MARN 0854799 Immigration Pty Ltd Suite 35 / 647 – 649 George St Sydney 2000 PO Box K1221 Haymarket NSW 1240 Telephone: +61 2 92114694 Mobile: +61 (0) 430351877 Email: Blog:

  11. Hi Grant, we would really appreciate your advice. My partner is here on a subclass 300 PMV, and is finding it difficult to obtain employment. His employer (he coaches professional sport) in Lebanon is more than willing to give him well paid work back home that he is unqualified to do here. We are hoping to marry and apply for the 820 visa, and apply for Bridging Visa B to allow him to earn some money back home. I understand that this visa will normally allow for travel for a period of 3 months, but we can apply for a longer period and it will be up to the individual CO to decide. We are concerned that if we apply for longer (up to 6 months, and perhaps apply again the following year so he can work the next season if needed) that the validity of our relationship may be questioned and we may not be approved for the 820 or for the permanent residency, is this likely? We have been together for 4 years

    • Immigration Pty Ltd

      Dear Carlie
      I gather from what you are saying that you will not be accompanying your partner when he returns to work?
      I cannot see how your Partner case if it is properly prepared could last so that a second long-term BVB will be needed. If you’ve been together for 4 years you should be able to lodge a perfect / decision ready partner application that would allow DIAC to process the case immediately. The solution to your issue is therefore to make sure that your partner application has every necessary form and supporting document plus more than enough proof of the genuine nature of your relationship. Don’t start making plans to fail get the job done properly to be with and you will not have any problems.
      Grant Williams

  12. Hi Grant ,

    I hope you can show me a way . My wife came here as a student , while she was in student visa we got married and i came to Australia as a dependent on student visa .
    I had my master degree and work experience in nominated field and i have been approved this by Australian Computer Society . Since the rules were changing in July 2011 we applied our PR( off Shore) before that . I scored 6 in ielts and my agent advised me to score 7 before my CO gets Assigned to . But couldn’t do it . In mean time my wife finished her masters which she came for and got approved as a skill on list from Australian Computer Society . Now my question is i am lacking 5 points to complete 120 points can i add my spouse point. because she finished her course with in 1 month of launching our visa .
    is there any other solution for this .
    Kindly Help

    • Immigration Pty Ltd

      Dear Riss
      Partner points are just the same as IELTS points at time of decision. Provided you have all the evidence and she was included in the original application you can claim these points when the CO opens the case.
      Grant Williams

  13. Hi Grant,

    Thank you so much for you valuable information.
    Well this is very big news to me. I can’t explain how important this is.
    But I just want to confirm with you.
    I applied for PR (June 2011) and my wife did not completed her graduation at the time I applied my PR, But I have added up as a secondary applicant. Later she has completed her graduation (August 2011) and got her degree assessed as well which is in the skill list adding to that she also scored 6 in IELTS(each). So if I get my case officer say within couple of months I can still claim my spouse points. So the lacking 5 points can be covered.

    Have I understood it right .

    Kindly help us by replying.
    And thanks for you kind support.

    • Immigration Pty Ltd

      Yes from what you say that should be OK. The points Test is a time of decision criterion. So it’s assessed post lodgement when they are ready to grant the visa. You just need to be sure she meets all the requirements. Grant Williams

  14. Hi Grant ,

    You are great and marvelous . Thank you .
    My agent confirmed me that i will not able to add these points up . she said the only chance to get this done should be i should score 7 in ielts ( Each ) . could you tell us why did my agent said so .
    When i asked about this spouse point she said we should have had the graduation and assessment completed on or before the date of lodgement date which was June 2011. Since she did in August 2011 it will not be applicable .
    Could you shed us some light on this please ,
    What other option i have if my agent says so .
    I am really scared as the date are nearing i do not want to go back .
    Also just a quick remainder we have lodged and OFFSHORE visa 175 and i am staying with my wife in Australia on her bridging 885 .

    Please help . Thanks

  15. Hi Grant ,

    we are still waiting for your valuable feed back and suggestion .
    And this will be the last one .


  16. Hi Grant
    How awesome are you? So nice to give all this assistance.
    Wishing you lots happy returns. :)
    Hop may not need you for mine I just done.

  17. hi grant,
    i hope you could shed some light for me.
    I am from singapore and i am currently on a student visa which will expire in august 2012.

    I am in a defacto relationship for almost 2 years and i am going to submit my visa application (820/801) on Thursday, June 21 2012.

    We got all the necessary documents and i got an appointment on Thursday with them for my lodgment. My question is, do i get my TR on the same day or on the same spot?

    My concern is if not, how long do i have to wait as i am worried that my student visa (573) will expire in Aug 2012.

    What happens and what should i do if i did not get my TR by then?

    Please help..

    God bless u!


    • Immigration Pty Ltd

      An appointment where are you? Not Sydney obviously.
      If the application is complete and they are satisfied yes they can grant TR on the spot – 30 minutes. If not they will request furthert info/docs. You will be given a BVA which will begin when your student visa expires.
      Grant Williams

      • hi grant,
        thanks heaps for the speedy reply! Yeah, i am in perth and i got an appointment with them on Thursday, 21 June to lodge my TR (820) and PR (801) application.

        Yeah, i got all the necessary documents as requested by the information is quite conflicting though. On the checklist, it says Form 80 ONLY if requested but on the website, it says i have to provide at the point of lodgement. So confusing.. Should i or shouldnt it? Hmmm.

        Another tricky issue here is that my partner and i have been in a relationship since November 2008. So technically, we have been in a relationship for almost 4 years! I came to perth with a student visa since July 2010. Prior to July 2010, we have been maintaining a long distance relationship and i have been travelling to Perth almost every 2 months.

        My question is, given the circumstances, do u think i will be granted a PR straight away or that 2 years that i wasnt living with him is futile to the immigration? I understand from the website, that if u can prove that u have been in a RELATIONSHIP (didnt say anything about defacto), u will be granted PR straight away.

        Can u please advise me, grant?
        Btw, i am from Singapore and Singapore is not classify as a high risk country right?

        God bless ya!


      • Immigration Pty Ltd

        Alvi Yes Form 80 is required for all PR applicants. I’d say PR is unlikely given the not actually living together but it worth asking the question. If you don’t ask they will not give it to you. Grant Williams

  18. hi grant,
    thanks for the reply!
    Lodged my application today and was told it will take around 9 months to process as there are massive backlogs. i was granted the bridging visa A which will starts once my student visa ceases in Aug 2012.

    got the acknowledgment letter, receipt…
    what i do not understand was, i got all the neccessary documents and all but i still have to wait for 9 months? How long does my bridging visa last?
    it was really dissapointing when i didnt get my TR on the spot.

    What she did was took my applications, provide receipt and acknowlegment letter.


    • Immigration Pty Ltd

      Alvin The 9 months thing is the standard reply to all applicants. If the application was perfect then they may still process it straight away. I have not seen your papers so it’s hard to know. TR on the spot – would have been nice but that system seems to have stopped now. Grant Williams

      • Yeah grant, thanks for your advise and pointers all these while. I really appreciate it and i will update u again.

        God bless ya!

  19. hi grant,
    thanks for all your advise and help all these while. yeah, i know its hard to say anything since u have not seen my papers – nevertheless, i have heaps of compelling evidence i reckon.

    thanks once again grant and i will update u again on the outcome.

    god bless ya!