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Schedule 3 partner visa

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What is the Schedule 3 partner visa?

To qualify for an onshore partner visa in Australia, some applicants must adhere to Schedule 3 criteria under the Migration Regulations. This applies to those without a substantive visa or are unlawful upon application. Schedule 3 outlines additional requirements, including compliance with previous visa conditions and demonstrating compelling reasons for the grant of the visa. Applicants may present exceptional circumstances, such as severe illness, for consideration. Fulfilling Schedule 3 criteria or demonstrating compelling reasons is crucial for a successful application.

Eligibility requirements for a Schedule 3 partner visa

Schedule 3 of the Migration Regulations relates to visa applicants who are no longer in possession of a substantive visa or are considered unlawful non-citizens upon lodging a visa application. If you find yourself without a substantive visa, you may still have the opportunity to apply for a valid visa, such as a Partner visa, by meeting the criteria outlined in Schedule 3, or by providing compelling reasons for a waiver of these criteria. A substantive visa refers to any visa other than a bridging visa, criminal justice visa, or enforcement visa. 

Understanding the implications of Schedule 3 and your options under these regulations is essential when navigating visa applications in Australia.

To be eligible for the grant of an onshore partner visa under Schedule 3, the applicant must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Hold a diplomatic visa (Subclass 995) or a special purpose visa.
  • Satisfy Schedule 3 criteria, which are further elaborated below.
  • Provide compelling reasons as to why they should be allowed to remain onshore.

The Schedule 3 criteria include several provisions. The following criteria are related to partner visas:

  • 3001: The application is lodged within 28 days of the expiration of the applicant's last substantive visa.
  • 3003: Criteria relating to illegal entrants before August 31, 1994.
  • 3004: The applicant does not hold a substantive visa due to factors beyond their control, and there are compelling circumstances warranting the grant of the visa. Additionally, the applicant must demonstrate substantial compliance with the conditions of their previous substantive visa.
  • Demonstrating that they would have been entitled to a visa if applied within the stipulated period.
  • Demonstrating an intention to comply with all future visa conditions.

Understanding and meeting these criteria is essential for visa applicants navigating the complexities of Australian immigration law under Schedule 3.

Benefits of a Schedule 3 partner visa

Despite the rigorous requirements of meeting Schedule 3 criteria or obtaining a waiver, securing a Partner visa under this schedule offers significant advantages.

  • Firstly, it enables applicants to apply for a partner visa onshore, eliminating the necessity to depart Australia to lodge an offshore Partner visa application, provided the criteria are fulfilled.
  • Secondly, it presents a unique opportunity for individuals who do not hold a substantive visa or are considered unlawful non-citizens to remain eligible for a partner visa application. This provision offers a pathway for those facing specific immigration challenges to still pursue their partnership-based visa aspirations. Understanding the benefits and implications of seeking a Partner visa under Schedule 3 is crucial for navigating the Australian immigration landscape effectively.

Subclass Schedule 3 partner visa checklist

Schedule 3 Partner visa applications need a lot of documents to show your relationship is real and lasting. Here are the documents you'll need:

  • Passport
  • Full Birth Certificate
  • Driver’s license (if you have one)
  • Marriage Certificate (if you're married)
  • Divorce Certificate (if you're divorced)
  • A medical check up from a GP

  • Documents about your money and how you share it
  • Documents about your home and who lives there
  • Documents showing you do things together and are friends
  • Documents showing you're committed to each other

  • A written statement
  • A report from a doctor
  • A report from a psychologist

How the Schedule 3 partner visa visa works

Applying for a Schedule 3 Partner visa means you have to submit a Partner visa application along with additional evidence to meet the Schedule 3 rules or show the Department of Home Affairs why you should stay. Because of this extra information needed, it's a good idea to have a lawyer help with your visa application.

Understanding Schedule 3 and showing why you should stay can be difficult. We strongly recommend talking to one of our team members at Australian Migration Lawyers about the process and how we can support you.

Future visa pathways

Once you get a Partner visa, you'll usually start with a temporary Partner visa (Subclass 820). This visa lets you live, work, study, travel, and use Australia's public health care system. It stays valid until you get the permanent partner visa (Subclass 801).

After two years, you can apply for the Subclass 801 visa. This process is similar to when you applied for the Subclass 820 visa. You need to show the Australian government that your relationship is still strong from the time you got the Subclass 820 visa.

With the Subclass 801 visa, you get a travel permit for 5 years. This means you can travel in and out of Australia for up to 5 years. If you want to keep traveling internationally after 5 years, you'll need to apply for a Resident Return Visa (subclass 155). You'll have to renew this visa every 5 years.

After spending four years on the Subclass 801 visa, you can choose to apply for Australian citizenship.

Benefits of using Australian Migration Agents for your Schedule 3 partner visa

Engaging a migration agent can significantly enhance the success and smoothness of your Australian visa application. While cost is a consideration, the benefits often outweigh this concern. Navigating the Department of Home Affairs in Australia can be daunting, with limited support available. Even minor mistakes in your application can result in rejection, loss of non-refundable government fees, and potentially complicate future visa applications.

  • Australian migration laws and visa options are complex and subject to constant change. A registered migration agent stays abreast of all legislative updates, ensuring you receive the most current advice.
  • Our senior migration agents provide a service that ensures timely submission of all required documents.
  • They explore all available visa options on your behalf, streamlining the application process and reducing stress.
  • Additionally, our skilled agents guide you through providing the necessary documents and evidence, improving your chances of a successful outcome.

Schedule 3 partner visa costs

Getting a Schedule 3 Partner visa involves two main expenses:

1. Professional fees:

The cost depends on how complicated your application is. We give you a clear quote based on your situation. We try to charge a fixed fee whenever we can, so you know exactly what you'll pay. Sometimes, we can even arrange payment plans to help you manage the costs better. To find out how much it'll cost you, book a consultation with one of our experienced agents.

2. Department fees:

The Department of Home Affairs charges $8850 for Partner visa applications. You have to pay this fee when you submit your application, and you can't split the payment. You can pay using a debit or credit card, PayPal, UnionPay, or BPAY.

Australian visa application steps

The application process can be a complex and time-consuming journey, with strict eligibility criteria and a certain amount of evidence required to support your application. A registered migration agent can help you gather the correct documents and improve your chances of visa success. 

Book a consultation

Step 1

Initial consultation

Book a free consultation with one of our registered migration agents, where we’ll discuss your situation and see how we can help you move forward.

Step 2

Application preparation & submission

Your Australia visa agent will prepare a submission to support your application, tailored to your unique situation and backed by all the documents required. Once completed, we’ll submit your application to the Department of Home Affairs on your behalf.

Step 3

Visa outcome

We’ll be in touch once the Department has come to a decision. If the application isn’t granted, we can appeal on your behalf.

Schedule 3 partner visa processing times using Australian migration agents

The time it takes to process a regular partner visa can vary, but Schedule 3 partner visas often take longer to process than standard ones. That's why it's crucial to get expert advice to minimise the chance of your visa being denied, which would only lead to more delays.

Schedule 3 partner visa considerations

When considering a Schedule 3 Partner Visa, it's crucial to understand the associated costs and processing times. Professional fees for this type of visa can vary depending on the complexity of your application. At Australian Migration Agents, we offer transparent pricing with fixed fees whenever possible, ensuring you know the total costs upfront. We also provide flexible payment options, including installment plans, to accommodate your financial needs. To receive a quote tailored to your circumstances, schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers. 

  • There are Department fees to consider, which currently stand at $8850 payable upon application lodgement. These fees must be paid in full upfront and can be processed using various payment methods.
  • Processing times for Schedule 3 partner visas can be longer compared to standard partner visa applications.
  • Seeking professional advice is essential to navigate this process and reduce the risk of visa refusal, which could lead to further delays.

Australia-wide services

Our skilled team offers in-person and virtual appointments, which means we can provide immigration assistance and advice regardless of where you live in Australia.  

Frequently asked questions

Read our most commonly asked questions

What is the Schedule 3 criteria for Australian visa?

Understanding the Schedule 3 criteria for Australian visas is essential for applicants facing unique circumstances. Factors beyond the applicant's control, such as severe illness or serious accidents, can impact their visa application. To navigate this process effectively, it's highly recommended to consult with an Australian Migration Agent who can provide personalized guidance based on your situation. 

Compelling reasons within the context of a Schedule 3 application are not explicitly defined in legislation but are understood to be circumstances brought about by moral necessity. These reasons may include situations such as having an Australian child from the relationship, the potential harm to an Australian citizen if the visa is not granted, or instances of serious illness, including mental health issues like severe depression. Consulting with legal experts can help applicants understand and present compelling reasons effectively in their visa applications.

What is the schedule 3 process?

The Schedule 3 process for Australian visas involves several key steps to ensure a smooth application journey. Initially, applicants undergo a consultation and engagement phase with migration experts to discuss their specific circumstances and visa options. Following this, thorough preparation and support are provided to gather necessary documentation and evidence to support the visa application. Once prepared, the application is submitted to the Department of Home Affairs, and ongoing communication is maintained to address any inquiries or requests from the department. Throughout the process, applicants receive dedicated representation and support from migration professionals to maximize their chances of success. By following this structured process, applicants can navigate the complexities of the Schedule 3 visa application with confidence.

I have received a Schedule 3 Warning Letter from the Department. What should I do?

Receiving a Schedule 3 Warning Letter from the Department of Home Affairs can be concerning, but understanding your options is crucial. In the past, obtaining a Schedule 3 waiver was challenging, however, the scope of acceptable compelling circumstances is expanding. We recommend contacting a lawyer or agent to assist you with the next steps, as it will be crucial to meet the relevant schedule 3 criteria to ensure that you can remain onshore.

Can Schedule 3 requirements be successfully waived?

The Department of Home Affairs may waive the criteria if there are compelling reasons not to apply them. These reasons can arise at any point from the application date until a decision is made. Factors considered by the Department include why you became an unlawful non-citizen, your efforts to regularize your visa status, your visa compliance history, and the duration of your unlawful stay. Seeking guidance from experienced migration professionals can help navigate this process effectively and improve your chances of a successful outcome.

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