Knowing what questions to anticipate after you have lodged your Partner Visa Application can help you feel more confident and prepared. It’s important to understand what a Case Officer looks for when assessing a Partner Visa application. You should be able to provide detailed and honest answers about your relationship with your partner and show that you are in a genuine relationship. By anticipating and practising your responses to common questions, you can increase your chances of a successful interview. So, take some time to research and prepare for the interview to ensure a smooth and stress-free process. This post should provide you with a head start!
You have completed your application for an Australian Partner Visa and are currently awaiting the decision. You are optimistic that everything will go smoothly and your visa will be approved promptly. Your application was well-prepared, and your relationship is strong, so you don’t expect to have to undergo a Partner Visa Interview.
Then your telephone rings…….
You answer the phone call, unaware of what’s about to come. The person at the other end introduces themselves as a Case Officer from the Department of Home Affairs and requests to conduct an interview with you regarding your partner visa application. You realise that you were warned about this by your Migration Agent and start to panic, because even though you were warned, you never expected it to occur.
Are you represented by a Registered Migration Agent/Immigration Lawyer?
If you have a Registered Migration Agent or an Immigration Lawyer representing you, and you’re just not ready, you can inform the Case Officer that you are currently unavailable to speak with them. However, you are willing to answer any questions they may have if they schedule an appointment through your representative.
The case officer should agree to this arrangement and reach out to your representative directly to arrange for the interview. It’s important to note that the case officer is not legally obligated to comply with this request.
If you are not represented by a Registered Migration Agent.
If you need more time, inform the case officer that you are unable to speak with them at this moment and kindly request them to schedule an appointment for a more suitable time for you.
What is the purpose of a Partner Visa Interview?
During the partner visa application process, the Department of Home Affairs conducts interviews to assess the authenticity of the relationship between the applicant and sponsor. The purpose of the interview is to determine if both parties have appropriate knowledge of each other and their circumstances, and to ensure that the relationship is not fabricated solely for the purpose of obtaining an Australian partner visa.
Are the interviews always conducted by telephone?
Visa application interviews can be conducted via phone or in person. Phone interviews are typically unscheduled, while in-person interviews are usually scheduled in advance. It’s important to keep in mind that in some countries, Case Officers may visit the visa applicant’s residence without prior notice.
In a recent Tribunal case, it was observed that case officers unexpectedly visited the residence of a visa applicant in India. When asked about the location of his shoes, the applicant replied that they were kept in an upstairs room. The case officer then requested the applicant to show him the shoes, but the room mentioned turned out to be a child’s playroom and did not have any shoes belonging to the applicant!
Are the interviews recorded or transcribed?
To answer your question, no, the interviews are not recorded or transcribed. Instead, the case officer takes a brief note after the interview, but this may not accurately reflect the conversation. However, this can work in your favour during an appeal if you provide a Statutory Declaration and evidence from the interview, as it holds more weight than just a file note.
Can my Partner Visa application be refused if the answers I give to the case officer do not match my partner’s?
During the Partner Visa interview, the case officer will seek information that is corroborated by both you and your sponsor. Keep in mind that you will be interviewed separately.
A relatively common question for example is, “what side of the bed do you sleep on?”.
If you say you sleep on the right-hand side of the bed, and your partner says you sleep on the left-hand side of the bed, there could be an issue with how genuine your relationship is.
Recently, one of our clients was asked to describe the en-suite bathroom in the main bedroom, and his sponsor was asked the same question in a separate interview. Whilst there was no doubt that my clients were in a genuine relationship, they told me that the question was quite a stressful one, as neither of them had paid much attention to the set-up of the en suite bathroom before being asked the question.
Yes, it is possible for a Partner visa application to be refused due to inconsistencies in the evidence presented to the case officer during an interview. If your visa is refused as a result of the interview, we suggest seeking guidance from a skilled Immigration Lawyer who specialises in Partner Visa appeals.
Some of the questions can appear to be trick questions.
One of our clients, who is an older sponsor married to a younger husband, was asked by an overseas office to provide information about her previous relationships. The husband was also questioned about whether he knew the names of her previous boyfriends, which he did not. The case officer expressed disapproval of the situation, criticising the husband for not knowing these details and expressing shock that the marriage was a “love marriage” rather than an arranged one. Additionally, notes obtained through a FOI request showed that the case officer did not support “cross-cultural” marriages and was not pleased that the sponsor was significantly older than her husband. The case officer was also unhappy about the husband’s decision to marry the sponsor instead of entering into a family-arranged marriage.
During another interview at a foreign office in India, the case officer encountered another situation involving an older woman and a younger man (who was not of Indian origin), who were married. The case officer was perplexed by the marriage and expressed disappointment that the couple did not have a Hindu wedding ceremony, despite the husband identifying as Buddhist.
If the case officer is being aggressive or rushing through questions, or if they seem to be expressing personal or cultural opinions, here are some actions you can take:
Interviews can be very stressful, especially when the case officer is aggressive, opinionated, or seems to have a negative attitude towards cultural or other differences.
If you believe that you do not understand the question, it is very important to ask for it to be repeated or rephrased. Explain to the case officer that you do not understand the question.
When unacceptable cultural or other opinions are expressed to you by the interviewer, it is important to calmly and clearly state that his/her cultural norms or opinions do not apply to your situation and that the evidence you have provided meets the criteria required for a partner visa application.
Where the interviews are conducted in English, and English is not your first language, it may be prudent to say to the case officer that you need an interpreter or someone that speaks your language, so that you do not misinterpret the questions.
If you believe that you have been treated unfairly during an interview or are providing incorrect answers due to being badgered or not understanding the question, it is crucial that you contact your Registered Migration Agent right away. Request that they file a complaint on your behalf, along with a Statutory Declaration from both you and your partner, detailing any inconsistencies or concerns with the interview.
If you come across a question that is invasive or asks for intimate details about your relationship, it’s crucial to speak up and object to the question as it is not appropriate.
If you are not represented by an RMA or immigration lawyer, Google “Global Feedback” at the Department of Home Affairs and make a formal complaint yourself.
Although we advise caution, interviews generally proceed smoothly if you are genuinely in a relationship with the other person and have a good knowledge of each other.
Although we may have caused some nervousness regarding partner visa interviews, it is important to note that the majority of interviews are conducted in a proper and appropriate manner.
What are the typical questions that may be asked in an interview?
Please note that this list of questions is not exhaustive. Each case officer conducting the interview may have their own unique set of questions and interview style.
When you met
- When did you meet your partner?
- What date did you meet?
- Where did you meet each other?
- What attracted you to each other?
- When did you fall in love?
- When did you start your relationship together?
- What date did you commence a de facto relationship?
- What is your partner’s date of birth? How old are they?
- Are your partner’s parents still alive? If so, how old are they? Where do they live?
- How long did you go out for before you were married?
- When did you decide to get married?
- Why did you decide to get married?
- When did you get engaged?
- Who bought the engagement ring? From where? How much did it cost? What does it look like?
- What date did you get married?
- Where did you get married?
- What was the name of the person who married you?
- What did you each wear to your wedding?
- Who attended your wedding?
- Why didn’t your mother/father/siblings/friends attend your wedding?
- What did your husband/wife give you as a wedding present?
- Who bought the wedding ring? How much did it cost?
- Where was the reception? How many people attended the reception?
- What did you eat at your wedding meal?
- What is your mother/father in law’s name and date of birth?
- Who pays the bills?
- How do you share finances?
- Who pays for what?
- How do you stay in touch?
- Where will you live when you move to Australia?
- Do you own any property in Australia?
- Is your partner on the title of any property that you own?
- Are you the beneficiaries of each other’s will/superannuation?
- Would you work when you come to Australia?
- Have you met your partner’s family? If not, why not?
- What is your partner’s mother’s name? What is your partner’s father’s name? How many siblings do they have?
- How much time has your partner spent with your family?
- Why did you and your partner decide to apply for an Australian partner visa instead of a visa in your home country?
- What is the nature of your commitment to each other?
- How do you share the household tasks?
- Who does the cooking? Who cooked last?
- Why do you believe you are in a genuine relationship?
Your De facto Relationship
- How long have you and your partner lived together?
- Have you and your partner lived apart during the last 12 months? If so, give details.
- What addresses have you and your partner lived in?
Questions about Your Partner
- What is your partner’s date of birth?
- What is your partner’s current address?
- Where was your partner born?
- What is your partner’s occupation? What are the qualifications? Where did they study?
- Where does your partner work? What is their position? What hours do they work?
- How much does your partner earn?
- How do they travel to work?
- What is their favourite colour? (Seriously, this was asked of one of our clients!)
- What size shoes does your partner wear?
- What are your partner’s hobbies?
- What are your partner’s parents’ names?
- What is your partner’s nickname? What do you call your partner?
- What are the names of your partner’s siblings? Where do they live? What do they do for a living?
- What are the name(s) of any previous boyfriends/girlfriends of your partner?
- Does your partner have any children? If so, where are they?
- Have you always been in same-sex relationships?
- How many times have you visited each other? When was the last time?
- Have you travelled together on holidays? If so where? If so what dates? Who purchased the tickets? Which airline did you travel with?
- When you visit each other what you do together?
- Have you registered your relationship? If so where? If so on what date?
If you live together.
- Do you share your home with any others? If so why?
- Describe the house that you live in. Describe the bathroom. Describe the kitchen. Describe your bedroom.
- Where does your partner keep his/her socks? (Could be anything including undies, ties shoes et cetera)
- What side of the bed does your partner sleep on?
- Do you intend to have children? If not, why not?
- Are you religious? If so, do you practice your religion together?
- If you practice different religions, what religion will your children be?
- Do you have any pets?
- Have you and your partner made any major financial purchases/investments/property purchases together?
- Do you share lease? If so, what date did the lease begin?
- When did you last go to the movies/a show/other event with your partner (if movies or a show, what show/movies did you see)?
- Why do you consider relationship a genuine relationship? Why is it spouse like? Why is it a proper de facto relationship?
If an interview is conducted in person
A case officer may ask:
- To identify photographs or people in photographs.
- If you can provide Statutory Declarations from your parents or your partner’s parents in support of the relationship. (If in Australia this is often taken care of by having your parent complete a Form 888)
- To identify other pieces of evidence they consider to be relevant, e.g. the person who signed your Form 888’s.
- What will you do if this visa application is refused? (We think they do this to make you even more nervous).
Although we cannot ensure that this list includes all of the questions you might face, it provides an excellent foundation for preparing for your interview. It can also help you be ready if a case officer unexpectedly calls you on the phone.
If you require assistance with your Partner Visa, or wish to be represented by a Registered Migration Agent who has extensive experience in Australia Partner Visas, please reach out to us today at +61 3 9573 5200 or schedule a Consultation online.
We would love to talk to you and assist you with your application – and keep in mind that we offer a No Visa, No Fee Guarantee for most partner visa applications.