Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Getting a Partner (Subclass 820) Visa!

Our application
On Tuesday last week I got the very happy news that my application for my Partner Visa had been approved and that I am now a Temporary Resident of Australia for 2 years (and after that I will get Permanent Residency)! :D Hooray!

It happened a lot faster than anticipated, as the average processing time is presently 13 months (!) and I got mine within 4 months. As our application was successful, with no need for an interview or any extra documents, I thought I'd share our outline for the Visa application and how we chose to do it. Maybe it will be of help to others struggling with their application or for those of you thinking of starting the process.

 I also have some various tips for moving to Australia on this page.

First, I'd like to add that the application itself took about 4 months (!) to compile and that there was a LOT of work involved. There was a lot of paperwork that needed to be sent from Norway and it took some time getting family and friends to do Statutory Declarations confirming that our relationship was genuine. In addition, selecting photos, Facebook screenshots and other evidence of us being together took some time in order for it to be presented the best way. And then there was the job of getting all of our evidence copied and certified by a JP - something that does take some time when you have over 100 pages they need to stamp and sign. Luckily we found a very helpful one in South Brisbane, which I would recommend very highly.

In addition to the outline below, we also wrote a short statement for every section, explaining the following evidence and what we were in fact presenting (keeping in mind that the Case Officer can only make a decision out of what we tell her and how the various documents are actually to be seen). We also made sure to refer to the various sections in our own Statutory Declarations (short, and only where appropriate) in order to make it easy to make the connections between the history of our relationship and the evidence we were presenting. 

Three things that were of great help to us throughout the process was 1) The Australian Forum of Immigration, 2) Grant Williams' blog and 3) this template for our own Statutory Declarations (unfortunately you have to pay to download it from that site, but you can also just view and copy by hand). Also, it's crucial that you read through the entire booklet for partner migration.

This is what was included in our Partner Visa application:
(make sure you use the latest forms as updated on www.immi.gov.au)

1. THE APPLICANT
- Form 47SP
- Birth certificate (certified copy)
- Passport (certified copy incl. all stamped pages)
- Form 80
- Australian Federal Police Check Report (original)
- Norwegian Police Check Report (original)
- Bank Statements from Norwegian bank (showing savings, certified)
- Medical Examination (sealed envelope)
- Two passport photos of Applicant (certified)

2. THE SPONSOR
- Form 40SP
- Birth Certificate (certified copy)
- Passport (certified copy)
- Letter from employer on total length of employment (certified copy)
- Letter from employer on salary from 2010 (certified copy)
- Tax assessment notice 2012 (certified copy)
- Australian Federal Police Check Report (original)
- Two passport photos of Sponsor (certified)

3. PROOF OF DE-FACTO RELATIONSHIP
- Partner Registration Certificate (certified copy)

History of the Relationship
- Applicant’s Statutory Declaration (signed and witnessed)
- Sponsor’s Statutory Declaration (signed and witnessed)

Nature of the Household
- Current lease agreement (certified copy)
- Letters, bills etc. addressed to applicant/sponsor at current address (certified copies)

Evidence of the Financial Aspect
- Proof of joint bank accounts (certified copies)
- Joint accounts’ bank statements (certified copies)
- Applicant’s bank statements (certified copies)
- Sponsor’s bank statements (certified copies)
- Confirmation letters from Telstra, AGL, Origin etc. showing both have access to the accounts (certified copies)
- Invoices in both names (certified copies)

Social aspect of the relationship
- 2 Form 888 from Australian citizens (witnessed / certified copy of passport)
- 2 Form 888 from Non-Australian citizens, living in Australia (witnessed / certified copy of passport)
- Evidence of joint travels (original photos and e-mail receipts)
- Facebook wall posts (originals)
- Photographs (originals)
- Cinema tickets (e-mail receipts, originals)
- Tickets to concerts (e-mail receipts, originals)
- Coupons to restaurants (e-mail receipts, originals)
- Joint memberships (certified copies)

Nature of commitment to each other 
- Overview of Facebook relationship between Applicant and Sponsor (original)
- Private Facebook messages (originals)
- Evidence of Sponsor listed as Applicant’s emergency contact (certified copy)
- Drawing Sponsor made for Applicant (certified copy)
- Cards to and from each other, and our families (certified copies)
- Post card to Applicant/Sponsor from Applicant's parents (certified copy)
- Wedding invitation to Applicant/Sponsor from Sponsor's friend (certified copy)

If you have any questions and think I might be able to help, just ask. I'd be glad to help others through this very long and difficult process! :)

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  6. Hi Linda, my husband and I are in the process of preparing our application and I completely agree with you - it's a lot of hard work! We are presenting our application similar to yours by including a short statement that will explain our supporting evidence for each section - Financial, Social, Nature of Household and Nature of commitment. However, we're a little stumped for wording. Do you have any examples for our reference? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you :-)

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    1. Hi Candice. I have no idea why I never got notified of this post, which is months old by now. But for future applicants struggling with the same issue - keep it short and precise.

      "In this section we have included (...)"

      And then anything extra you would like to add, that the papers themselves don't say. Remember the case officer only knows what you remember to tell them. Under the financial section, for example, we added a bit of extra info on the fact that my partner only uses an eftpos card (and usually cash), while I don't. And that's why I usually pay the rent, order all tickets, hotels etc. online. And he has a lot of cash withdrawals, and pays me back in cash. Little things like that, that will help the overall picture.

      But again - keep it short and to the point.

      Hope your application went well! And wish you the best of luck!

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