My Partner Visa Journey

My partner Andres and I met in 2008 when we were both studying at the ANU. When I went back to Sri Lanka in 2012 (more on this in another post) we decided to do the whole long distance relationship thing and after three years of living apart, Andres went down on one knee and asked me whether I would like to spend the rest of my life with him (YAY)! This was undoubtedly one of the greatest things that has happened to me so far and after many discussions we decided that I would move to Australia to live with him.Which brings us to the start of the grueling process known as Partner Visa (820) application.

 Applying for this visa took quite a toll on me and Andres; I was either crying because I was overwhelmed by the amount of information that I needed to compile or I was bubbling with anxiety [which to be honest has not yet stopped] about the outcome of my visa.

One thing I noticed during this experience is that there isn’t much helpful information out there (at least not in one accessible place) to help someone understand what exactly is required (because lets be honest, the document checklist provided by the Immigration department isn’t very informative). To be fair, the Partner Visa booklet is a VERY useful resource and I suggest you read this quite thoroughly before starting you application process.

Before starting my application I spent days sitting in front of the computer just taking down notes from various websites and community threads regarding all aspects of the visa process. So I decided to write this post with the hope that it may be of use to a couple very much like Andres and I (also quick disclaimer; I am not a migration agent and I am not a guru of any sort, this is just my experience)

Presentation:

* I made about a million trips to Officeworks to get supplies to make sure the forms were as clear and as easy to reference as possible (also just quietly, I LOVE stationery shops)

1. Quick summary of all information presented in the application:

  • Applicant Name:
  • Sponsor Name: Address:
  • Visa Type:
  • Contact Information:
  • Information Included:
    • Forms
    • Personal Documentation
    • Financial Aspects of the Relationship
    • Nature of the Household
    • Social Context of the Relationship
    • Nature of Commitment to Each Other

2. Cover Letter: This included a brief introduction to us and our relationship as well as notes regarding some of the information that was not included in the application [we still don’t have our official wedding licence as it takes 10 weeks (!!) for the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages to process it]

3. I got six plastic see-through folders for each section included in the application and inserted a Table of Contents for each folder. My OCD kicked in to high gear at this point and I used little post-it tabs to label all the documents in each folder (I’m hoping that this would make cross referencing easy for the case worker). I didn’t use any staples because I read some where that this is not the done thing with visa applications so I just stacked the documents in order.

4. I then got a document box (try to get a see-through one if you can, and just put all the documents in there) which contained the two pages in front followed by the six folders full of documents and then posted it off to immigration. I made sure that I used express post so that I can track the parcel (I think all parcels larger than a certain size are registered by default).

What we included (Again, this is just what we chose to include and really I’m not even sure if we included the right things):

Forms:

  • Immigration Grant Notice of Prospective Marriage Visa
  • Form 47SP: Application for migration to Australia by a partner
  • Form 40SP: Sponsorship for a partner to migrate to Australia

Personal Documentation:
For Applicant:

  • 2 x recent passport sized photographs
  • Certified copy of passport
  • Certified copy of National Identity Card
  • Certified copy of Birth Certificate
  • Letter from healthcare provider [I’m on BUPA essential visitors cover and I just went to one of their service centers with my membership card and asked for a dated letter and they pretty much printed one off immediately]
  • Form 80: Personal particulars for assessment including character assessment
  • Character statutory declaration [just printed this form and took it to a pharmacist to sign off]
  • I have to include a medical test and police checks [for both Australia and Sri Lanka] but I called the immigration office and they said its better if I wait for my case officer to ask for these due to expiration dates and so on, which is why I included the character statutory declaration.

For Sponsor:

  • 2 x recent passport sized photographs
  • Certified copy of the Australian passport
  • Certified copy of the Australian Citizenship Certificate (because Andres’ is Argentine born and his family moved here when he was about five)
  • Certified copy of Birth Certificate
  • Certified copy of Medicare Card

Evidence of Relationship:

  • Form 888: Statutory declaration by a supporting witness [we had Andres’ mom and sister and my friend Emma fill out these and get their declarations witnessed for us – we did ask them to try and remember some important events we shared and give details about their interactions with us as a couple]
  • Declaration by applicant on the history of the relationship with the sponsor
  • Declaration by sponsor on the history of the relationship with the applicant [in these declarations we just gave a history of our relationships with memories of significant events, how our relationship developed, what our lives our like now and what our plans are for the future- mine was about 13 pages long and Andres’ was about 8 HAH]
  • Marriage certificate [as mentioned previously we don’t have the official licence yet so we also attached a copy of the receipts as evidence that we paid for the licence and a note saying that I will be submitting it ASAP]
  • Certified copy of lease [with both our names on the lease]

Financial Aspects of the Relationship:

  • Joint declaration of finances [we write about how we share our finances, what the inflow of income in like]
  • Confirmation letter of joint bank accounts [Andres and I opened bank accounts together about three years ago, so all we did was go on our Netbank and download letters as proof]
  • Bank account statements highlighting transactions between our personal accounts [this was because we don’t always us our joint accounts when we go for dinners and we wanted to also highlight that we send money to each other – although we only printed a few months worth of transactions]
  • Proof of joint responsibility for all day-to-day expenses [I just made an excel sheet for each of our bank accounts and provided a detailed account of transactions that we made as day-to-day expenses]

Nature of Household:

  • Joint declaration of the nature of the household [ here we outlined how household duties are distributed between us (eg: cooking, cleaning, groceries etc) and how we share responsibility between us]
  • Joint utilities accounts that are in both our names [ we attached a few Powershop bills that were addressed to both of us]
  • Letters and envelops addressed to the applicant and sponsor to the same address [this required a bit of planning, I saved a few envelops and letters that indicated our address like bank letters as evidence that we both live at the same address]

Social Context of the Relationship:

  • Evidence that we are socially accepted as a couple [this section also requires a bit of planning ahead]
    • Engagement and wedding invitations addressed to both of us [Thank god we are at that age when our friends are getting married!]
    • Selection of photos with friends and family in different situations and celebrations [what I did was to stick them in chronological order on A4 paper and gave a small description of when,where and who the photos were taken with – also I avoided attaching selfies because its hard to proof the socially accepted part]
    • Text messages from friends addressing both of us [screenshots for the win!]
    • Cards and letters addressed to both of us
    • Letter from my mom and one of our mutual friends about our relationship [these were not Stat declarations]
    • Itemised account of joint travel and accommodation [I printed out all our tickets and wrote out a description of each trip we took together and set it in chronological order]

Nature of Commitment to Each Other:

  • Evidence of wedding [we included all the receipts for payments made, tickets from our parents flights to Melbourne etc]
  • Correspondence to show that contact was made during periods of separation [here we included some email conversations we have had over the years, screenshot of Andres’ inbox with my emails and vice versa, Facebook friendship page and personal cards and letters we sent to each other over the years]

PHEW, that was exhausting to type out!! I have also included pictures of how I presented all of this [please excuse the sad photo taking skills]

I really hope that this post could help someone out there with this ridiculously long post 🙂

Good Luck

x

SHow documents were labelled  within each folder All the folders and document box

Advertisements

One thought on “My Partner Visa Journey

  1. Fleur

    Hey there! I’ve read this entire post and I really appreciate all the information you’ve provided. My boyfriend and I are considering to take a Partner Visa as we have been in a long-distance relationship so this has been super helpful. We decided that I would move to Australia too. I hope all is well with you and your partner! Cheers!

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s