I am Thai and I want to visit my Australian boyfriend in Australia – does my boyfriend have to provide an invitation for my visit?

If you are from Thailand (or from any other country) and you want to visit Australia you will have to submit an application for a visa. All foreign nationals are required to have a visa to enter Australia, even for a short visit. Citizens from Thailand are considered to be ‘high risk’ which means that there is a concern that if a visa is granted the holder of the visa might want to stay on in Australia longer than is allowed or may breach one or more of the other conditions attached to their visa. It is up to the ‘applicant’ for the visa to persuade the Australian Government that they do not present such a risk. As a Thai citizen you will have to fill in and submit an application form as well as other documents to support your application.

Your supporting documentation will usually include identity documents as well as financial documents which show that you have funds available to support your visit to Australia. If you have a bank account you might want to show your bankbook; if you have a job you might want to show evidence of that such as a letter from your work or a pay slip. If you own land or a house you might want to show evidence of that. Each application is different and you need to structure your application to show the Australian Embassy that you are a person of means and are low risk.

If you have an Australian friend or boyfriend he may be able to assist you application. By writing a letter of invitation he can not only make an offer to invite you but he may also be able to show that he can support your visit in some way. If he works or has funds available he can offer to financially support your visit. He can attach documents to your application such as a bank statement or a pay slip. How much money you or he might want to show depends on the length of your proposed stay and what activities you will be doing, etc.

Your boyfriend does not have to write a letter of invitation for your visit – you may be able to apply for an Australian Tourist visa all on your own. As mentioned above, it will depend on your personal circumstances. Because applying for a Tourist visa is so complicated we do advise citizens of the Thailand to speak with a visa expert – it can make the difference between success and failure.

Thai nationals: do they get unfairly treated when it comes to applying for an Australian Tourist visa?

Thousands of Thai nationals apply for an Australian Tourist visa every year. Unfortunately a large percentage of the applications are refused. There are a number of reasons for this. Thailand is classified as a ‘high risk’ country by the Australian government department that deals with visas – called the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). A Thai applicant for a Tourist visa is required to submit a paper application which involves filling in forms, attaching supporting documentation and undergoing a number of checks. The result of this demanding and in depth procedure is that many Thai applicants end up failing to satisfy some of the requirements. On the other hand, citizens of many other countries such as the USA, the UK, Ireland, France, Japan and South Korea are not required to undertake such a rigorous procedure to obtain an Australian Tourist visa. They only need to provide the most basic of personal information and can even submit an application online. Why is this? Is this unfair treatment of Thai citizens?

DIAC justifies its different policies for different countries on the basis of a number of criteria including Australia’s relationships with certain countries and regions, the economic, social and political situation in countries and the past visa history of Australian visa holders. For example, one of the reasons that mainland China is classified as ‘high risk’ for an Australian Tourist visa because many prior Tourist visa holders have overstayed their visa or breached other conditions such as by working (working is prohibited on a Tourist visa).

There are also many other reasons why so many applications are refused. Applying for even an Australian Tourist visa is a relatively complicated undertaking and many applicants submit very poor applications with insufficient supporting documentation. Even if the Thai applicant would have qualified for the Tourist visa, if they do not show evidence to evidence every aspect of their application they will probably be refused the visa.

Some applications are refused because of financial reasons. The economic situation and standard of living in Thailand, even though it is quite high for Asia, is generally lower than that of Australia and DIAC has concerns about whether an applicant has enough funds to support their visit, whether they are genuine tourist and whether they have any incentives to return to Thailand. One thing that can help is when as a Thai citizen you know an Australian citizen or permanent resident. Many Thai citizens have an Australian friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé, wife, husband or partner. If this is the case your Australian partner should be able to sponsor you and offer to shoulder some or all of the burden of the financial requirements.

Do we have a recognised marriage and if so what proof of our marriage is required for a Partner visa?

If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident and you have met and married a foreign national, whether she/he be Thai, Filipino/a or other, you will have probably given a lot of thought to where you both will live and about issues such as: can I bring my wife/husband to Australia for a holiday or to live with me and if so how do I arrange this; will she/he be able to work in Australia,… These are normal questions to ask. If you both qualify, you will probably end up acting as the Sponsor for your wife or husband’s Australian Partner (by marriage) visa application. In this article I will be discussing only one aspect of the Partner (by marriage visa) – the issue of a recognised marriage and proof of that marriage.

In terms of getting married it might seem to be non issue – we got married – therefore we qualify – end of story. However, it is not necessarily as simple as that. Your marriage has to be one which is recognised as such by the Migration Act and Regulations. The rules say that your marriage has to be one which is recognised under Australian law. You and your partner were either married in Australia or in another country. As long as the marriage is registered as an official legal marriage in Australia or any other country then that is acceptable for the purpose of the Partner (by marriage) visa application.

There are exceptions to this. For example, where you and your wife or husband have been married overseas and the law of that country recognises marriages which are  same sex, polygamous or underage: currently in Australia same sex marriages are not recognised and neither are situations where someone is married to more than one person. Furthermore there is a minimum age under Australian law by which a person may enter into a legal marriage with another person. Some other countries have different minimum age limits which would not be recognised in Australia.

The proof of marriage which is required under the Migration Regulations is usually a document evidencing the marriage. In most countries the government department that deals with and registers marriages will issue a certificate of marriage. The Applicant for Partner visa (by marriage) should submit a certified copy of their marriage certificate. If the Applicant was previously married to someone before their current marriage, which is the basis of their application, they will be required to submit certified copies of their previous marriage(s) and of their divorce, dissolution or annulment.

What ‘exactly’ is a Fiancé Visa

An Australian Fiancé visa is a visa which, as it suggests, is for those couples that are engaged to be married. The Thai or Filipina (or other nationality) fiancé of an Australian citizen or permanent resident can look to apply for a Fiancé visa. The ‘Applicant’ needs to meet a number of criteria which relate to her health, character, financial position, work and relationship history. The Australian ‘Sponsor’ can assist his fiancé with the financial requirements.

Fiancé visas can only be applied for outside of Australia. Both you and your fiancé will need to fill in application and other forms and collect a substantial amount of supporting documentation. There are strict rules about the format of the documentation to be submitted.

Dependent children and dependent adults of the ‘Applicant’ can be included in the Fiancé visa application. Obviously, custody arrangements for any children need to be dealt with beforehand. Where a child has dual custody any non migrating parent must sign off on the child’s migration.

The processing time for an Australian Fiancé visa varies from Embassy to Embassy and can take anywhere from 3-12 months or more. The speed of processing depends on whether you are deemed to be from a high or low risk country, (Thailand and Philippines are considered to be high risk) seasonal variation in the case load numbers, and other factors. Well prepared applications are always processed more quickly than poorly prepared applications – the lack of even 1 document can lead to a delay of many months!

Once the visa is granted your fiancé can travel to Australia and marry you. Your fiancé can work once she enters Australia on her Fiancé visa and travel to and from Australia without restriction. You and your fiancé must marry within 9 months of the grant of the Fiancé visa. Once married your spouse can apply for the Partner visa which will lead to permanent residency – it will be the last visa she ever needs.

Getting engaged to your fiancé does not guarantee her a Fiancé visa. We recommended that you speak to  skilled and experienced Migration Agent to advise you whether or not you qualify for the Fiancé and to assist you with the preparation. The visa application fee is about $2000 Australian dollars and is non-refundable should your application be refused. So you want to get it right the first time!

The Australian Fiancé visa

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The Australian Fiancé visa is a highly specific visa which requires a considerable number of legal criteria to be met. For example, the visa must be applied for outside of Australia. The visa Applicant must also be outside of Australia when the application is submitted and granted. The Fiancé visa is valid for 9 months during which time the holder of this visa must enter Australia and marry their fiancé.

The Australian Fiancé visa is a great visa which will allow the Applicant to enter and leave Australia as many times as they wish within the visa validity period. The holder of an Australian Fiancé visa is allowed to work unlimited hours and study. After you marry your Fiancé you can then proceed to apply for a Partner visa.

A Fiancé visa will be granted or rejected based upon the specific circumstances of the Applicant and their fiancé. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is concerned with many factors, including the genuineness of the relationship, the character and health of the Applicant, as well as the financial capabilities of both the Applicant and Sponsor. DIAC will make enquiries based upon these and other issues. Unless strict guidelines are followed and all enquiries are satisfied it is highly likely that a visa application will be rejected. A significant amount of supporting documentation is required. If even one supporting document is missing significant delays can be experienced, to say the least.

At Australian Visa Advice, our training and experience will take the stress and confusion out of what can be a complex procedure. We often take on clients who have had their visa applications rejected because they have either tried to obtain the visa themselves or used unqualified and inexperienced Migration Agents. They have wasted precious time and money.

What to do if Your Thai Girlfriend Was Refused an Australian Tourist Visa

What can you do if your Thai girlfriend has applied for an Australian Tourist visa and been refused? I am often contacted by Australian men whose Thai girlfriends are in this situation. They have usually tried to have a go at obtaining a Tourist visa either by themselves, with the help or a “friend” or a “friend of a friend” or some disreputable migration agent. It is not surprising that so many Australian Tourist visa applications are refused. Contrary to popular opinion, Tourist visas are not easy to obtain. The Australian Government is very strict about who they allow to enter Australia for any reason. In the past many foreign nationals have entered Australia on a Tourist visa and have either worked illegally or overstayed their visa. It is easy to understand – Australia has a very strong economy at the moment and there are many jobs available. As a result, however, Australia classifies many countries as high risk. Thailand is simply one of many countries in the same position. Applicants are required to submit a paper application and supporting documentation. The Australian Embassy looks closely at every application and if all of their concerns are not satisfied they will often refuse the application. No appeal of the decision is allowed.

If your Thai girlfriend’s Australian Tourist visa was refused the first thing you can do is to look at the reasons for refusal. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is required by law to provide reasons. Sometimes it is clear why an application has been refused and this is clearly stated. However, more often than not there is more than one reason and DIAC does not necessarily go into much detail. They use broad encompassing terms like “I (the decision maker) am not satisfied that the Applicant’s expressed intention to only visit Australia is genuine”. It often requires a skilled and experienced Migration Agent to look closely at the reasons for refusal as well as the refused application itself to determine what was missing or what particular criterion/criteria was/were not satisfied.

If the reason or reasons for the refusal can be addressed then you can put in another application. Of course, even if you are not entirely clear as to why your Thai girlfriend’s application was refused there is nothing stopping her from putting in another application. Theoretically, one can put in as many applications as one wants to and each application will be assessed on its own merits. However DIAC (and I) would strongly advise that unless you can address the reasons for the last refusal there is not much point submitting a fresh Tourist visa application. At Australian Visa Advice, we always offer a free consultation so you can make an informed decision on your girlfriend’s behalf as to whether you want to proceed with a new Tourist visa application or not. Even after that assessment, whether or not you choose to use our services will still be up to you.

My Thai girlfriend moving to Australia

If you are an Australian man who has met and entered into a relationship with a Thai woman, you may one day think about the idea of her coming to live with you in Australia. She may have already been to Australia to visit you and to test the waters – see how you two function as a couple in Australia. We always recommend that you do this first, as spending time in Thailand and spending time in Australia are two different things.

If everything has gone well and you want to take the next step you will probably want to consult an Australian migration expert to work out what option is best for you and your Thai girlfriend. Forward planning is very important because migration is usually a very complicated and lengthy process. If you and your Thai girlfriend make the decision that you want her to migrate to Australia you want to make sure you get it right the first time. Otherwise, poorly prepared applications can be delayed or refused.

Once you and your Thai girlfriend decide that she should move to Australia to be with you, your Migration Agent can look at your specific situation and advise on the best course of action. Choosing the best option to suit your situation is very important. There are a number of temporary (leading to permanent) visa options for couples, provided you and your Thai girlfriend meet the criteria. Applications are looked at in a holistic way so you and your girlfriend usually do not have to tick every box in order to be eligible. Having your girlfriend migrate to Australia to live with you permanently is not an impossible dream – it is something that can happen – your dreams can come true – provided you plan correctly.

Obviously, migrating to Australia is a serious endeavor and there are a lot of forms to fill out, supporting documentation to provide and checks to be made. When the girlfriend of an Australian man plans to apply for a “Fiancé” visa, for example, both the “Applicant” and the “Sponsor” are required to provide detailed personal information, as well as information about their families. The Applicant will also need to undergo health checks, criminal checks etc.

If your girlfriend has dependent children from a previous relationship she will be able to include them in her application provided she either has full custody or has the permission of the father. These and other issues mentioned above must be looked at carefully when you and your Thai girlfriend are making plans for her to move to Australia.

Why Should You Use A Migration Agent?

There are many reasons why you might want to consider using a Migration Agent.

Every person that enters Australia must have a valid visa. Citizens from Thailand, the Philippines and many other countries are considered to be high risk for entry into Australia. Even if, for example, a Thai citizen wants to visit Australia for a short holiday, purely for tourism purposes, he or she is required to submit a paper application and a considerable amount of supporting documentation. Even if the ‘applicant’ complies with these procedural requirements it provides no guarantee of obtaining a visa.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) looks carefully at every application and is concerned with issues such as the financial viability of the applicant, their character, medical condition and visa history. They are make an assessment as to whether the applicant is likely to be genuine tourist or whether they may have other motives for entering Australia (such as to work). They also look at whether the person is likely to overstay their visa. It is a complex procedure – and most other Australian visas are even more difficult to apply for and obtain than a Tourist visa!

A skilled and experienced Migration Agent can not only advise you about which of the 100’s of visa options might be best for you, but they can guide you through the complexities of the legal procedural requirements, structure the application in the right way and can even assist you with the forms and supporting documentation.

There is nothing to stop someone from preparing and submitting an application on their own. Unfortunately however, a high percentage of self-prepared applications are refused. There is no appeal for a refusal of an Australian Tourist visa and the visa application fee for any Australian visa is non-refundable. Many people sooner or later come around to the idea that using a skilled and experienced Migration Agent can not only save time and effort but, in an overall sense, it can be very cost effective.

 

Original documents

Should original documents be submitted with my Thai wife’s Australian partner visa application?

Your Thai wife should not supply original documents with her partner visa application, nor should you supply original documents with your sponsorship. If they are lost, then in some cases they may be impossible to replace. The exception however is that you must always supply the original police checks.
Certified copies

You should only supply certified copies of the original documents. If the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) requests the original documents then you should present the originals when requested to do so only. It is however advised that you should never send originals through the post if it can at all be avoided.

In Australia documents can be certified by anyone who can legally certify a statutory declaration. Outside Australia it is usually the local equivalent of a Justice of the Peace. All offshore posts will have people who can certify your original documents too.
Original documents in English

Another important consideration is that document submitted in languages other than English must be accompanied by an accurate English translation, as well as a certified copy of the original document.
Translation

The costs of certifying and translation of documents is payable by the applicant. In some cases, particularly when a partner visa application includes secondary applicants, then translation costs can be considerable.

Generally the cost of having documents translated from Thai to English is a third to half the cost in Thailand that what the same translation would cost in Australia. You should always check that the translator is qualified to give translations. If they are not accurate translations they will rejected. Furthermore of the translator if translating from a copy, then you must ensure that the translator is given the best quality copy possible to translate from.

Are you in the process of applying for your partner’s visa for Australia?

(Tourist visas, Fiancé visas and Spouse visas)

If you would like more help, advice and valuable information that could make your application a successful one, click here. For all Australian Visa applications!

Can my Thai girlfriend get a visa?

Can my Thai girlfriend (soon to be Fiance) get an Australian tourist visa as I would like her to visit me in Australia to see if she likes it. If she does, I would like her to move out here permanently with me, with a view to getting married. I have visited her many times in Thailand…

Australia is one of the most popular tourist destination on earth, and as such Australia welcomes millions tourist from all corners of the globe every year. It is open to anyone to apply for an Australian tourist visa. However depending upon the passport you hold, this will indicate the most suitable kind of tourist visa you should apply for.

There are currently in excess of 150 different types of Australian visas, some of these visas allow for temporary entry to Australia, and others allow holder to enter and remain in Australia permanently. These are known as Australian permanent visas.

Tourist visas are in the category of temporary visas which means that the person holding that visa must depart from Australia prior to that tourist visa expiring or if permissible by their current tourist visa apply for another visa or an extension.

It is very important to note that if you overstay in Australia you will become an unlawful non-citizen, and subject to removal. This can also have damaging consequences on any future visa application.

Tourist visa subclass 676

Currently Thai citizens are not eligible to apply for what is known as an ETA visa (electronic travel authority). They therefore must make a paper application for a visa if they want to visit Australia for tourist purposes. The most common visa for Thai nationals is known as a subclass 676 tourist visa. In most circumstances  this will be the most suitable visa for your Thai girlfriend to apply for. Though, if  your Thai girlfriend has family members residing in Australia who are either Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents then it is certainly possible that she may be eligible to apply for a sponsored family visitor visa (subclass 679).

In nearly all cases however the subclass 676 tourist visa is the most suitable visa for your Thai girlfriend to apply for. Whether you Thai girlfriend applied for a tourist visa or a sponsored family visitor visa, she must be able to clearly evidence that her intention is to visit Australia as a genuine visitor only. If not her application must be refused.

A carefully and well prepared Australian tourist visa application will include not just the required application form but supporting documentation that visibly evidences that the applicant has a an intention to visit Australia as a genuine visitor only.