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Applying For A Partner Visa In Australia

Read more about how I applied for my de facto partner visa for Australia and what I included in my application.

If you are reading this, you are either my friend, someone who has a great deal of interest in my life or someone applying for a partner visa. In any case you are in for some personal details about me and my relationship and how we applied for an onshore de facto partner visa (subclass 820). My wish is to help someone going through the same process to be reassured and inspired. Keep in mind that I am not a visa agent and everything I say in this article is solely based on my own experience.

What you need to know

As the partner or fiancé(e) of an Australian citizen you do not have an automatic right of permanent residence in Australia.

Partner category migration allows for the grant of a visa that permits married partners and de facto partners (including those in a same-sex relationship) of Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and eligible New Zealand citizens to enter and remain permanently in Australia.

Applying for a de facto partner visa is a two-step process. Initially, partners who meet the legal criteria for the grant of the visa are granted a temporary visa. Two years later, a permanent visa may be granted following an eligibility period.

On top of several forms you and your “sponsor” (partner who is Australian) have to fill out, you also need to include sufficient amount of supporting documents to prove you have been in a de facto relationship for at least 12 months prior applying.

Start saving, as the cost for the visa processing fees and other relevant documents to be obtained and in some cases translated can add up! We have spent a total of $7500 to date. This includes our visa fee of $7000 and obtaining relevant documents and their translations. I still have to go through a medical check bringing the total to around $8000. But hey, you can’t put a price tag on love!

A bit about us

Read more about how I applied for my de facto partner visa for Australia and what I included in my application.

We met on a night out almost three years ago in London. We have lived and travelled together for the last two and a half years. We moved to Australia two years ago and have mainly lived in our rooftop tent while travelling around, worked in an apple farm and mostly resided with family. With no bills on our names and without joint rental agreements, it was tough finding the right evidence to prove that we have been living together.

I started collecting evidence of joint travel and participation as soon as we got to Australia. I bought a nice box to fill with all the birthday and Christmas cards, joint gym memberships and travel itineraries. It helps immensely when you finally start assembling your application.

We opened and have been operating a joint bank account for close to two years, but we never decided to get our relationship registered. Mainly as it’s a piece of paper that costs more than $200. That’s $200 too much. However, if you think this helps your cause, go for it!

Before you apply for your visa, please make sure you are eligible!

The main documents

Read more about how I applied for my de facto partner visa for Australia and what I included in my application.

To apply, one needs to send in:

  • The application form 47SP (Application for migration to Australia by a Partner)
  • Form 40SP (Sponsorhip for a parent to migrate to Australia)
  • Two statutory declarations (about your relationship) and at least two statutory declarations from Australian friends and family to support your claims (get these out of the way ASAP as it takes forever for people to return their witnessed forms with a certified passport copy!)
  • Provide the residential address where you intend to live
  • Pay the required Visa Application Charge

However, lodging a complete application will assist in reducing the 18 months processing times, so you should also include all the supporting documents. Find the official checklist for supporting documents from here.

You also need to include proof of identity for both of you. Everything needs to be a certified copy of the original (passport copies, birth certificate copies, evidence of name changes, proof of being an Australian resident (the sponsor), evidence of name changes).

The Australian government also has to make sure you are of good character so police certificates from each country you have lived for more than 12 months since turning 16 are required. If they are in a different language, NAATI certified translation or equivalent is required. The only original documents that are requested to be sent in are police certificates. I made certified copies of them to keep just in case.

I also filled out Form 80 as a part of my character check. This asks for your addresses you have lived during the last ten years and every country you have travelled to in the last ten years or since turning 16 with the exact dates! It was a bit of work figuring it all out as I have done, surprise surprise, a great deal of travelling! You also have to list all your employees and explain the gaps between employments. I think this took me the most amount of time to fill out. Just in case, I have photocopied it for the future reference. You also need to include details about you and your partner’s family. 

Supporting documents

There are four broad categories for supporting documents to prove your relationship is genuine and continuing:

1. Financial aspects
Evidence will be required that you and your partner share financial commitments and responsibilities, including: evidence of any joint ownership of real estate or other major assets (for example, cars, appliances) and any joint liabilities (for example, loans, insurance); sharing of finances; legal commitments that you and your partner have undertaken as a couple; evidence that you and your partner have operated joint bank accounts for a reasonable period of time; or sharing of household bills and expenses.

2. The nature of the household

You will be asked to provide evidence that you and your partner share responsibilities within your household, including:  your living arrangements; a statement outlining the basis on which responsibility for housework is distributed; joint ownership or joint rental of the residence in which you live; joint utilities accounts (electricity, gas, telephone); joint responsibility for bills for day-to-day living expenses; joint responsibility for children; or correspondence addressed to both you and your partner at the same address.

3. Social aspects of the relationship

How your relationship with your partner is recognized socially will be considered including: evidence that you and your partner are generally accepted as a couple socially (for example, joint invitations, going out together, friends and acquaintances in common); evidence that you and your partner have declared your relationship to government bodies, commercial/public institutions or authorities; information provided in statutory declarations made by your or your partner’s parents, family members, relatives, friends or acquaintances; joint membership of organizations or groups; evidence of joint participation in sporting, cultural or social activities; or joint travel. Note: Providing only statutory declarations is not normally sufficient to evidence the social aspect of your relationship.

4. The nature of your commitment to each other

Factors that could assist in evidencing mutual commitment between you and your partner include: knowledge of each other’s personal circumstances (for example, background and family situation, which could be established at interview); intention that your relationship will be long-term (for example, the extent to which you have combined your affairs); the terms of your wills; or correspondence and itemised phone accounts to show that contact was maintained during any period of separation.

Below, I have copied a check list that I have included with my application:

Visa Cover Letter
1) The Applicant 
-Form 47 SP 

1.2) Proof Of Identity
-2 recent passport size photographs
-Certified copy of passport and its stamped pages
-Certified copy of Republic of Estonia Identity Card
-Certified copy of birth certificate

1.3) Character
-Form 80 Personal particulars for character assessment
-Character statutory declaration
-Original AFP Police Certificate
-Original Police Certificate (Estonia)
-Certified copy of accredited translation Estonian → English
-Original Police Certificate (Spain)
-Certified copy of NAATI accredited Translation Spanish → English
-Original Police Certificate (England)
-Letter from the applicant’s employer

2) The Sponsor 
-Form 40 SP 

2.1) Evidence Of Sponsor's Identity & Status
-2 recent passport size photographs
-Certified copy of passport and its stamped pages
-Certified copy of full birth certificate
-Original Police Certificate (England)
-Original AFP Police Certificate
- Proof of Sponsor's Eligibility (Payslips)
- Sponsor Statement

Evidence of genuine & continuing relationship

3) History Of Relationship
-3 Statutory Declarations
-2 Statements

4) Photographs

5) Financial Aspects Of Relationship
-Document explaining the following evidence
-Evidence of joint financial commitments & responsibilities:
(joint bank account statements, joint purchases of furniture and camping equipment, join travel insurance, car registration certificate, extracts from E-Toll account for Roads and Maritime Services and notice of tax assessments from the applicant)

6) The Nature Of Our Household
-Document explaining the following evidence
-Sponsors Bank Statements
-Applicants Bank Statements
-Correspondence addressed to us
-Itemised phone records from the sponsor
-Tax invoices addressed to us
-Certified copies of our drivers licences

7) The Social Context Of Our Relationship
-Document explaining the following evidence
-Statutory Declaration Form 888 from family and friends
-The Applicants bank statements from England
-Evidence of joint travel (travel itineraries, boarding passes, train/bus/ferry tickets, hotel bookings)
-Evidence of joint participation (concert/event/cinema tickets, 4 PADI scuba diving licences, 2 zoo membership cards, tax invoices of gifts purchased to each other, joint gym membership)
-Extract from our Facebook timelines
-Correspondence between the applicant and the sponsors’ mother
-Correspondence between the applicant and the sponsors’ sister
-Handwritten cards addressed to us by our family
-Wedding invitations

8) The Nature Of Commitment To Each Other
-Document explaining the following evidence
-Payslips from working together in an apple farm
-Letter from the bank confirming the balance of our joint account
-Evidence of contact in time of separation
-Evidence of having started the process of nominating each other for death benefits
-Personal cards handwritten to each other
And this is what it ended up looking like after two months of putting it together:

Read more about how I applied for my de facto partner visa for Australia and what I included in my application.

I sent in my visa application on the 15th of August 2017, getting my bridging visa two days later and we are now patiently waiting for a decision to be made. I still need to send in proof of us being the beneficiaries to each other's super funds and my partners tax assessments for the last two years. I will complete the medical as soon as advised. It is hard when your future is in someone else’s hands, but you have to trust in the process and hope for the best.

I did not use a visa agent to lodge my application as this normally adds another $2K-3K to the cost. Instead, I read carefully through the Partner Migration Booklet provided by the Australian government and snooped around I was also lucky to have a friend who has gone through the same process and was always ready to answer my questions-you are a legend, Marili! And it’s also great to have someone to rant with, who is going through the same process-thanks for being there Emma!

If you have any questions for me about applying for a partner visa on shore, then just drop me a comment. I’ll help you out as much as I can, but keep in mind I am not a registered visa agent.

To the ones who are not applying for a visa, but still read through this, you are legendary! I think you can now understand why I haven’t recently had a great deal of time to spend on blogging. I will be writing about my Asian adventures again next week so stay tuned!

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Read more about how I applied for my de facto partner visa for Australia and what I included in my application.

And also, please have a look at the link ups I'm participating in from #TheWeeklyPostcard by Two Travelling Texans, #FollowMeFriday by Feet Do Travel Community and #WeekendTravelInspiration by Albom Adventures. Feel free to click on the badges below to find other great posts about travelling. Thanks!

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