Further fees added to cost of Australian partner visa applications

Published: 11/08/2013

The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) recently announced that an additional increase to the cost of applying for a fiancee visa (subclass 300 prospective marriage visa), partner/spouse visa (subclass 820/309) for Australia would be applied from 1 September 2013. This increase comes only two months after the previous rise which had already seen the cost of applications rise dramatically.

The previous announcement in June 2013 stated that additional fees would be applied for each additional person included on the visa application. Generally speaking, these additional charges meant that a surcharge of 50% would be applied for any additional family members over the age of 18 (for example a spouse or adult child), and that a surcharge of 25% would be added for any additional family members under the age of 18. These changes came into effect on 1 July 2013, and resulted in the following costs:

For onshore partner visa applications, the base application fee became AUS$3,975, with additional fees of AUS$1,990 for each additional family member over 18, and AUS$995 for each additional family member under 18.

For offshore partner visa applications, the base application fee became AUS$2680, with additional fees of AUS$1,340 for each additional family member over 18, and AUS$670 for each additional family member under 18.

However, to further confound the difficult financial requirements of making such partner visa applications, the most recent announcement from the Department of Immigration now states that from 1 September 2013, an additional 15% charge will be levied on the cost of each application. This unexpected rise will result in the following costs:

For onshore partner visa applications, the base application fee will be AUS$4,575; an increase of AUS$600. The cost of each additional family member over the age of 18 will become $2,290 (an increase of $300), and AUS$1,145 for each additional family member under 18 (an increase of AUS$150).

For offshore partner visa applications, the base application fee will be AUS$3,085, an increase of AUS$405. The cost of each additional family member over the age of 18 will become $1,545 (an increase of $205), and AUS$770 for each additional family member under 18 (an increase of AUS$100).

As yet, the Australian Government has not clearly explained the reason behind these two recent increases in the cost of applying for an Australian partner visa. According to the most recent Department of Immigration annual report, the cost of processing such applications was already covered before these two increases. As such, the Australian Government has received significant criticism and the additional fees are largely seen as a way of increasing revenue for the Government budget. It is believed the additional charges will produce an estimated AUS$542 million for the Australian Government over the next four years.

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