“When Did We Meet Again?”: How Relationship Statement Inconsistency Can Result in Partner Visa Refusal
The decision to apply for a partner visa is very exciting. However, the partner visa process itself can seem complicated and daunting.
One of the important factors considered by the Department of Home Affairs is consistency of information. Consistency is crucial, as any inconsistency will be a red flag to the case officer reviewing your application.
One document that holds substantial weight is the relationship statement. This is a document which explains the genuine nature and uniqueness of your relationship in your own words. It is vital that date-specific information is consistent between the applicant and sponsor.
What do you mean by ‘consistent’?
A common mistake is thinking that because you know your relationship is genuine, that the Department will share your view. It is important to remember immigration officials do not know your relationship like you do, and you must prove your relationship’s genuineness. One of the most important aspects of submitting a compelling relationship statement is getting the dates right. This includes but is not limited to:
- The date you and your partner began speaking;
- The date you first met;
- The date you and your partner first considered your relationship to be official;
- All key dates (for example; purchasing that special gift, when you moved in together, when you got married or any date you deem important).
While including so much date-specific information may sound like overkill, the more information you provide, the less likely you will be refused on insufficient evidence grounds. It is very important that couples get the above information about the relationship correct, as the Department will not look fondly upon your application if dates are inconsistent.
It is extremely important to ensure all dates included in your relationship statement are consistent not only in comparison to your partner’s statement, but also compared to all other evidence that is submitted for the application. While this may seem like an onerous task, it is exceptionally important to get right.
How could this go wrong?
Many couples make the mistake of not thoroughly reviewing their relationship statements, or worse, not checking information with their partner.
A case where this occurred was in Nguyen (Migration)  AATA 496. The applicant’s visa was refused on the grounds that the applicant was not in a genuine relationship with her sponsoring partner, largely due to inconsistent information. The applicant applied to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal where the decision to refuse the visa was affirmed on the same grounds.
Some noted inconsistencies were:
- The applicant stated the sponsor had owned a business since 2015 or 2014. The sponsor stated he had owned his business for about 4 or 5 years prior to 2015. This inconsistency indicated to the Tribunal the applicant was unaware of key issues in the sponsor’s life, and that they did not communicate to the degree to be expected.
- The applicant and sponsor claimed they met and were married 15 days later. This short time period was concerning enough to the Department and Tribunal. However, the couple also presented different dates that the sponsor proposed. The sponsor even claimed he proposed to the applicant after the marriage date! This evidenced to the Tribunal that their relationship was not genuine, as they were unable to provide a consistent account of events.
- Further, the couple presented inconsistent information in the initial application compared to at the AAT. This was particularly concerning, ultimately evidencing the couple were willing to make up evidence for immigration purposes.
These inconsistencies ultimately led to visa refusal, as the inconsistencies taken together evidenced the parties were not in a genuine relationship. This shows ensuring date-specific information is consistent is crucial to a partner visa application.
How can I make sure I get this right?
There are many ways to avoid providing inconsistent information:
- Make sure you write a relationship timeline prior to writing your statement;
- Discuss your relationship timeline with your partner;
- Make sure you check all date-specific information;
- Make sure you thoroughly proof-read your statement before submitting.
The consequences of providing inconsistent information can be very serious; you could face a visa refusal as well as being banned from applying for any Australian visa for several years. It is incredibly important to get the details right the first time!
If you have any further queries in relation to your visa application, please get in touch with the team at Results Migration.
If you are looking to study, visit, work or migrate to Australia, Results Migration are the best in the field, with a team of experienced migration lawyers and registered migration agents that are available to guide you through this complex area of law. Call Results Migration on 1800 808 717 or email us on [email protected] and book your free consultation today!