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Table of Contents
Can I appeal the refusal decision?
Partner Visa Refusals
The following is a basic outline of the rules associated with seeking review of a partner visa refusal at the Migration and Refugee Division of the Administrative Affairs Tribunal (AAT). It is not meant to be comprehensive and should not be relied upon and you should seek the advice of a registered migration agent or immigration lawyer to advise you on your specific situation. This is simply an overview of the basic information related to reviews of refusal decisions and is meant to orientate you to the general procedure for reviews.
How will I know my partner visa application was refused?
You will receive notification in an email to the email address you gave to the Immigration Department. If you have a migration agent or immigration lawyer, they will receive the notification.
Attached to the email will be a decision record setting out the reasons the visa application was refused. The case officer who assessed your application will reference the legal criterion that in their opinion you failed to satisfy.
The decision record will explain whether you have a right to have the decision reviewed and list a number of days you have to lodge an application for review.
Read this letter carefully, everything will be in it. If you want help, which you are strongly advised to seek, make an appointment with a migration agent or immigration lawyer. They will probably ask that you forward them this letter.
Where do I lodge an application for review?
Reviews of partner visa refusals are conducted through the Migration and Refugee Division of the Administrative Affairs Tribunal (AAT).
How much does it cost?
At the time of writing this guide an application for review of a visa refusal costs $1826. This amount will go up incrementally over time. To get an up-to-date amount, check the Administrative Affairs Tribunal website, which is here at the time of writing – https://www.aat.gov.au/
You have to go to the If they change their website address Migration and Refugee Division.
If you win at the AAT, you are refunded 50% of the application fee. If you can’t afford the application fee, you can apply for a reduced fee if you can prove you are suffering severe financial hardship, which requires evidence.
Refusal for 820/801 partner visa application
If you made an application for a 820/801 partner visa it was has been refused, as the visa applicant you have a right to have the decision reviewed at the Migration and Refugee Division of the Administrative Affairs Tribunal (AAT). This applies to a refusal of the temporary partner visa – the 820 – or the permanent partner visa – the 801.
Who can appeal?
The right of appeal belongs to the applicant – the person who wants to be granted the partner visa in order to live in Australia with their Australian partner.
Time Frame for Application for Review
You have 21 days to lodge an application for review at the Administrative Affairs Tribunal.
The time period starts on the day you are taken to have received notification.
If you miss the time period in which you can lodge an application, unfortunately you miss your chance to have the refusal decision reviewed.
Refusal for a subclass 309/100 offshore partner visa
If you made an application for a 309/100 partner and either the 309 temporary partner visa was refused or the 100 permanent partner visa was refused, there is a right of appeal to have the decision reviewed at the Administrative Affairs Tribunal (AAT).
Remember, these are the offshore partner visas. You would have applied for these visas outside Australia.
If the 309 temporary partner visa is refused, your sponsor has the right of appeal. This is the Australian citizen or permanent resident who wants to bring you to Australia to live with him or her. He or she has 70 days from date of notification to lodge an application with the AAT for a review of the refusal decision.
Whether it is worth applying for a review, or the better option would be to apply again from offshore, is something you would be best to speak to a migration agent of immigration lawyer about.
If the 100 permanent partner visa is refused, you as the applicant have the right of appeal. It is important, however, that you were inside Australia when the decision to refuse your application is made, and also inside Australia when you apply for a review of the refusal decision. If you are travelling outside Australia while you are on your 309 visa and the 100 is refused, you won’t have the right to appeal the decision.
Character Grounds refusal under s 501 of the Migration Act
Some people are refused a partner visa because the case officer assessing the application has found information that, in their opinion, demonstrates that you might not be a suitable person to get a visa based on your current or past behavior.
A refusal on character grounds can be based on many things, but it most commonly means you have a criminal record usually from another country. If you were refused your partner visa on character grounds, the procedure for review is different and moves much faster.
You have much less time to lodge an application for review if you are inside Australia – 9 days. If you are outside Australia, you have 28 days. You also have to provide evidence and witness statements at least 2 days before the hearing in order for this information to be considered during the review.
This kind of review does not take place through the Migration and refugee Division of the AAT; it takes place through the General Division of the Administrative Affairs Tribunal (AAT) under a different set of procedures and time frames.
This means all the information on this page does not apply to you.
If you get a refusal on character grounds under section 501 of the Migration Act, then you need to contact an immigration lawyer as quickly as possible to have a chance of review.
Ideally, you would have taken this into consideration before you lodged your partner visa application and have had a migration agent or immigration lawyer manage the application and address these issues upfront with written submissions and relevant evidence.
The idea here is to deal with what is clearly going to be a major issue on the front foot rather than not address it at all and get a refusal, and then have to deal with it in a rushed review situation.
If you didn’t, then you have to act fast and contact an immigration lawyer and discuss the situation.