Has your Partner visa application been refused?

At Visa Crew we understand partner visa refusals are quite stressful situations for loving couples. Thankfully, you may be eligible to appeal a partner visa refusal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Do not delay, get professional advice to understand the best strategy; you have limited time to act;  read on for more information...

Applicable Partner Visas Which May Be Refused:

Subclass 820 | Partner Temporary Visa

Subclass 801 | Partner Permanent Visa

Subclass 309 | Partner Provisional Visa

Subclass 309 | Partner Permanent Visa

Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visa

AAT | Migration & Review Division 

The AAT - Administrative Appeals Tribunal (Migration & Refugee Division) is a statutory body which provides a final, independent, merits review of Partner Visa related decision made by the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA).

When lodging an appeal, TIME is of the essence. Please deal with the matter as soon as possible as there are time-sensitive requirements with a relatively short window of opportunity to lodge a successful appeal application.

AAT | Stressful Times

We find, many couples feel quite vulnerable facing the merits review process; this is understandable. After lodging an appeal there may be lengthy delays in an appeal being heard by the AAT. Sometimes delays can be attributed to the evidence supplied to the tribunal. We are here to provide you with sympathetic and professional advice so that you are aware of the requirements. We assist you from day one up until  the AAT’s decision. We Work For You All The Way.

What Powers Does AAT Have?

Affirm (not change ) The Primary Decision

 Vary (change ) The Primary Decision

Set Aside The Primary Decision & Substitute A New Decision

 Remit (return) The Primary Decision To DoHA

AAT | Partner Visa Decision

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)  has the authority to make a decision in your favour and decide that the Department’s refusal decision is incorrect. If this happens the matter of your partner visa refusal is referred back to the Department for reconsideration.

When the matter is sent back to the Department for reconsideration, generally speaking, the Department will grant the visa. 

Well Done! You have received a great outcome; your partner and you can now proceed with your life and future plans to live a happy life together. 


Q Who May Apply To AAT For Merits Review?

You may be able to apply for MRD Merits Review in the following situations:

    •   Partner Visa application is refused.

Subclass 820/801, Subclass 309/100 & subclass 300 visas will have appeal rights for an AAT hearing. In some cases your refusal letter may suggest you do not have appeal rights. Obtain professional advice, the Dept are not always correct when issuing refusal letters.

Q What Is AAT Application Fee?

Migration Review application fee is currently $1,731.00.

50% of the application fee will be refunded if the AAT appeal is successful.

There is no refund if your application is not successful, or if you withdraw your appeal application.

Hardship cases may receive partial refund of the application fee.

Q Is There A Time Limit To Apply For Partner Visa Merits Review?

It is important to note that there are strict time limits by which you need to submit an appeal application. Usually for partner visa applications you will have 21 days to lodge a valid appeal application. 

The AAT will not accept late appeal applications for partner visa refusals.

Q How Long Do I Have To Wait Before My Case Is Herad?

Generally speaking, waiting times are quite lengthy, allow 18 months +.

Q What Happens If My Appeal Is Successful?

If your receive a favourable decision, your partner visa application will be remitted back to the Department for a final determination and decision. The Department’s processing time for such applications is relatively quick.

Q What Happens If My AAT Appeal Is Not Successful?

If your application for Merits review the AAT is not successful you will receive notification that you have 28 days in which make arrangements to leave Australia. However you may wish to pursue two potential further avenues:

  • Written request to the Minister to exercise her/his personal discretion to grant you a visa, or substitute a more favourable decision. This is an application for Ministerial Intervention (MI).

  • If we can substantiate an error of law, it may be feasible to lodge an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court or under Original Jurisdiction to the High Court. There are strict time limits for any such appeals.

Q My Partner Visa Was Refused On Schedule 3 Grounds?

This indicates the applicant was subject to Sch 3 criteria when making the original partner visa application. Unfortunately the compelling and compassionate circumstances provided did not convince the case officer to grant the visa. Schedule 3 is a complex hurdle, but it is a case for an appeal application.

Q Are All Partner Visa Refusals Reviewable?

Not all decisions to refuse Partner Visa are reviewable. For example if your partner visa was personally refused under s501 (character) then you most likely do not have review rights.

Q If AAT Affirms The Decision, What Does This Mean?

When the merits review is completed the AAT will make  decision. If they Affirm the decision this means the visa refusal still stands. 

Q Our Prospective Marriage Visa Has Been Refused?

Subclass 300, Prospective Marriage Visa refusals are reviewable. Your sponsoring partner will be the main appeals applicant.

Q May I Apply For Another Visa During Merits Review?

This can depend on several factors!

If you are still holding a substantive visa, then you should be able to lodge another visa application – assuming that you meet the relevant eligibility requirements. A ‘substantive’ visa is basically any visa which is not a bridging visa.

Call Visa Crew To Advise On Your Eligibility: 0455 295 988

Q What About Bridging Visa?

If you were granted a Bridging Visa A as a result of the visa application which the Department refused, this bridging visa will continue to be valid during Merits review process.  You will remain lawful in Australia until a final decision is made (assuming that you have applied for the AAT within the allowed time period).

You may not make a review application without a valid bridging visa.

Q Can I Work During The Appeals Process?

That depends on the visa that you are currently holding.

If you are holding a substantive visa or a bridging visa then you need to comply with the conditions of your visa. 

In some hardship cases it is possible to apply for additional work rights.

Q I Have More Questiions About The Appeals Process?

Call Us Immediately - AAT Applications For Partner Visa Refusals must be acted upon within the permitted time frame. We are here to help and we can act quickly to ensure you case gets a fair hearing. 

> CALL NOW - 0455 295 988

Q Can I Travel Abroad During The Appeals Process?

If you hold a substantive Visa, most likely you will have travel rights abroad. 

When holding a Bridging Visa A, your travel rights are restricted. You will need a Bridging Visa B to travel abroad. Be careful however you do not want to be outside Australia if a decision on your appeal is imminent. 

Q What Are Your Professional Fees To Help With AAT Appeal?

Our professional fees vary for this type of work depending under what grounds your partner visa has been refused. When we study your refusal letter and circumstances we can be more accurate. Do remember our fees are fixed, no surprises down the line. 

Typically you can expect our professional fees to be in the region of $2500.00 to $4500.00

Your partner visa application was probably refused as you did not meet these important parts of migration legislation. Did you provide adequate evidence supporting your relationship for the following criteria:

  • Financial Aspects Of The relationship

  • Nature of The Household

  • Social Aspects

  • Persons Commitment To Each Other

Q What Is Section 5F & 5CB?

Yes you may apply to the tribunal to have your case heard. Remember to address ALL criteria in relation to your relationship. The AAT will want to ensure your relationship is genuine & continuing before they make a decision. 

Q My Refusal Decision Is Not Complicated, Can I Do It Myself??

“Merits review is an administrative reconsideration of a case. A merits review body makes decisions within the same legislative framework as the primary decision maker, and may exercise all the powers and discretions conferred on the primary decision maker.”

AAT Decisions 2016/2017

Summary of latest decisions available from The Administrative Appeals Tribunal for period - 2016/2017

In the 10 months from 1 July 2016 to 30 April 2017 the AAT-MRD received 15,178 applications for review. The reviewed decisions include those for all Australian visas (including bridging visas) but excludes refugee and humanitarian visas.

Top 5 categories of visas submitted for review are:

Partner 24%

Student Refusal 22%

Nomination/Sponsor (SBS) 11%

Visitor 11%

Temporary Work 10%

In the same period decisions were handed out to review applicants:

Set Aside 39%

Affirmed 40%

Withdrawn 15%

Other (not reviewed) 7%

AAT Decisions Set Aside 2016/17

Partner Visas 54%

Visitor Visas 49%

Temporary Work 30%

Student 22%

Nom/Sponsor 15%

Migration Decisions By Outcome

Migration Lodgements By Location


The chances of obtaining a positive outcome from the Tribunal to set aside a DIBP decision require the following:

 • A thorough analysis of the refusal Decision Record

 • In-depth knowledge of partner visa application process &  requirements

 • Assessing applicant’s circumstances and ability to address the issues

 • Ability to understand refusal decision & apply current migration law

In summary it should be considered whether the applicant can provide evidence or information that will meet the partner visa application requirements. If the original application can be improved then the chances for success with the review will be greatly increased.

Applicants with complicated circumstances should also note that submitting an AAT review application is a pathway towards ministerial intervention. You can only request ministerial intervention after you have received a decision from the AAT. 

Registered Migration Agents | Confidentiality Assured

Client confidentiality is important, we guarantee all communications with you are kept private; without exception. At all times we do not disclose or allow to be disclosed information about our clients or our clients business. Our clients can be happy in the knowledge their confidentiality is of upmost importance to Visa Crew.

Migration Legislation | Complex Issues

Migration agents specialise in immigration law; they are trained to analyse, interpret and apply Australian legislation and case law in relation to all migration matters and appeals process. At Visa Crew, continuous training enables us to deal with legislative complexity and apply it to specific circumstances. This ensures we can provide the best solution and options for our clients, thus obtaining the best possible outcome.

Call Us Today - We make the Law easy to navigate and easy to understand!

We Work For You - Call Now Tel 0455 295 988

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